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Pharmacists Expanding Their Role in Preventive Health Care

Pharmacist picture

The role of pharmacists in the business has to evolves the model changes to meet the needs of the health care delivery system.

Today, pharmacists not just only manage medication systems like drug dispensing, pharmaceutical information, compound medicines, and ensure the accuracy of drug labels.

But, they can also provide patients with health monitoring and consultancy, as well as evaluate the need for clinical medication management for those with undiagnosed diseases.

Pharmacy is the third largest healthcare profession. Although Pharmacists are among the most accessible and visited healthcare professionals worldwide, yet their contributions to interdisciplinary healthcare settings are often overlooked.

In addition, lack of communication and relationship between healthcare professionals can create bad patient care, and lead to drug-related problems (DRPs). As a result, poorer health outcomes and experiences.

What they can do for a better health care delivery system?

The Pharmacist’s Role in Primary Care

A pharmacist’s responsibilities in primary care include providing direct patient care through medication management, examinations and screenings, managing chronic disease, drug information and education, collaboration, quality assurance, and research.

However, clinical pharmacists could make an important contribution to improving people’s health in their daily practice, For example:

  • Promoting prevention and identifying patients who are at risk of chronic illnesses.
  • Managing people with long-term health conditions like hypertension and cardiovascular disease (CVD).
  • Ensure that medications are used safely and appropriately.
  • Give advice on living a healthy lifestyle.
  • Advising people who are eligible for NHS Health Checks.
  • Supporting public health campaigns
  • Providing expert knowledge on all public health programs available to the general public like vaccination and smoking cessation.

The ways pharmacists in preventive health care services:

The biggest ways pharmacists can be a victory in preventive care is by expanding services. One of its services is that disease prevention also helps your pharmacy succeed and serve the community.

Pharmacists play a key role in providing immunization services and identifying vaccine candidates. 

1. Vaccination

Flu vaccine picture

As a result of state legislation or practice agreements, pharmacists’ positions have been expanding, including the ability to administer immunizations. Furthermore, community pharmacists have been offering the seasonal flu vaccine as an advanced service under the pharmacy contract framework since 2015, complementing GP services.

Hence, the number of seasonal flu vaccinations has been rising every year. So, from September 2018 to March 2019, pharmacists provided 1,431,538 flu vaccinations, which increased patient options.

2. Cardiovascular disease (CVD)

The pharmacist also play an important role in identifying people with undiagnosed high blood pressure by conducting opportunistic tests for blood pressure and pulse rhythm testing.

Besides that, to support pharmacists in the primary care network, The NHS Long Term Plan sets out that the NHS will help them to find cases and treat people with conditions that have a high risk of developing CVD. So, preventative care can be provided promptly.

CVD NHS health check

3. NHS Health checks

NHS Health Check is design to improve health and wellbeing among adults ages 40-74 by detecting and managing individual risk factors for vascular disease and other conditions.

To maximize the impact of NHS Health Checks, pharmacy teams can:
  • Offering NHS Health Checks to eligible people that they can get a free check-up.
  • Handling patients who are eligible for an NHS Health Check should be referred if the service is not available on site.
  • Referring patients who have had an NHS Health Check to local behaviour change support services or back to the General Practitioner (GP) for appropriate clinical management, if they do not show the behaviour change support.
NHS health check

4. Blood pressure and atrial fibrillation

Hypertension is a serious condition that increase the risks of cardiovascular disease, lead to mortality. Across the nation, an estimated 5.6 million people suffer from hypertension without being diagnosed.

Hypertension undiagnosed

Pharmacy teams are well position to help identify the 5 million people with undiagnosed high blood pressure. Moreover, pharmacist can consult the patient with the lifestyle changes and benefit from appropriate clinical management. Besides, identifying people with Atrial Fibrillation (AF) by checking their pulse rhythms.

A pharmacist can help treat high blood pressure by:
  • Providing NHS Health Checks such as opportunistic blood pressure tests and pulse rhythm screening for patients and clients.
  • Referring patients who have high blood pressure to a healthy lifestyle or back to the GP for appropriate health management.
  • Managing blood pressure through medication and modifying risk factors.

The management of blood pressure by pharmacists is effective. 

5. Diet and obesity

Obesity is a complex disease that involves an excessive amount of body fat. It is a health problem that increases the risk of other diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain cancers.  Moreover, pharmacy teams can  advice the public about healthy eating messages through the use of the Eatwell Guide according to age, sex, and lifestyle.

Eatwell guide picture
Pharmacist could:
  • Educate and provide weight management programs and fitness regimens.
  • Health promotion activities such as education activities with invited speakers, such as dieticians.
  • Help customers to calculate their Body Mass Index (BMI).

Pharmacists are encouraged to use their expertise to help communities to choose healthy foods and understand labels. Then, spread awareness to customers about a broad range of supplements and diet products. Also, tell them some of which are unlikely to be benefit to the majority of the population.

6. Substance misuse

Community pharmacists are in a good position to point out and support people misusing drugs by:

  • Identifying people who might be getting into problems with over-the-counter, as many people addicted to illicit drugs.
  • Participating in or contributing to the development of substance abuse prevention and assistance programs within healthcare organizations.
  • Collaborate with outpatient and ambulatory care providers to prevent substance abuse after discharge.
  • Providing pharmaceutical care to patients who are being treated for substance abuse and dependency.
  • Giving recommendations about the appropriate use of mood-altering substances to healthcare providers and the public, including those persons recovering from substance dependency and their caregivers.

7. Maternity and early years

Improving women’s health during pregnancy by reducing inequalities for all mothers and babies to protect the health of a baby in the future to ensure fetal morbidity and mortality. Moreover, pharmacists can help women understand the potentials risks associated with medication use and assist them with various areas of preconception and prenatal care. For instance, immunizations, folic acid use, and management of chronic diseases.

maternity picture
Preventive care for maternity:
  • Improve preconception health for women of childbearing age to improve wellbeing and reduce risk factors.
  • To increase the number of smoke free pregnancies, pharmacy teams can provide guidance by implementing the NICE guidelines.
  • Pharmacy teams could improve perinatal mental health by promoting good mental health, identifying and supporting perinatal depression, and providing referrals to appropriate services.
  • Promote a healthy weight and nutrition such as vitamin D and folic acid.
  • Pharmacists guide breastfeeding mothers regarding the use of both over-the-counter and prescription medicines.
  • Promote uptake of pertussis and influenza immunization for all pregnant women and immunization programs for children in their early years.

In conclusion

It is evident that pharmacy teams play an integral role in improving public health within all communities. Since pharmacies play a significant role in preventing and promoting health, they will remain a valuable and important resource for as long as these challenges persist.

Therefore, pharmacies are well positioned. It can create awareness and support healthy behaviour in patients with long term conditions, as they have regular contact with community pharmacies to collect their prescribed medicines.

Moreover, if you are looking for health care tips and clinical services, you can visit and  follow our page Mayflax to get more info!

About the author

Bachelor of Science (Hons) Pharmacology, is a Customer Relationship Executive of Mayflax, one of the nation’s leading healthcare and marketing companies.

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