The Integrated Pharmacy: Benefits and Challenges

To remain successful, many specialty pharmacies are implementing an integrated pharmacy model. This is a model of care where pharmacists take on the responsibility of providing patient counseling in a clinic setting. This allows patients to receive more efficient and coordinated care. A recent article for Pharmacy Today examines the various benefits of the integrated pharmacy model, including:

Increasing Growth –

Specialty pharmacies work within or in partnership with bigger health systems. They fill a critical patient care gap. With the incidence of use of specialty drugs expanding rapidly, an increase in the pharmacies that furnish them is needed.

Delivering Greater Value

The integrated pharmacy model allows for health systems to deliver great value to patients. The patient journey is made smoother and more coordinated.

Shifting Focus

Pharmacists working in integrated pharmacies consult with patients, which is a new role for some. They advise on how the specialty drugs fits into the patient’s current regimen, provide any special directions for taking the drug, and more.

As pharmacists take on this additional role, the presence of pharmacy technicians becomes more essential. Their role also shifts. These technicians take on key tasks previously performed by pharmacists. This can include responsibilities such as packing and shipment, dealing with insurance issues, and managing quality control.

Though the integrated pharmacy model is quite promising, it does face some challenges. One big issue is the prominence of commercial payer networks that require the use of particular pharmacies. Insurers often partner with big companies, such as Express Scripts or CVS. This prevents specialty pharmacies from handling some patients’ prescriptions. Additionally, DIR fees are often structured in a way that incentivizes patients to turn to bigger pharmacy companies for their medications.

Fore more details, read the article in full at Pharmacy Today.