1. Improving patient outcomes
Medication adherence and compliance is one of the many patient outcomes that pharmacists have an immense impact on. Half of all patients with chronic diseases do not take their medications as prescribed. Pharmacists play an important role in achieving positive health outcomes, such as fewer hospitalizations, less disease progression and fewer co-morbidities, by being accessible and building relationships with patients. Pharmacists in the field of research also utilize retrospective data to identify and assess target patient populations who are not appropriately adherent or compliant with their medications.
2. Community involvement
Pharmacists play a key role in helping patients feel better and are an integral part of every community. According to recent Gallup Polls, pharmacists’ honesty and ethics were rated highly by a large majority of Americans. Pharmacists are the most accessible health professionals and are visible leaders in most communities. This is why it is the PCOM School of Pharmacy’s mission “to educate and train caring, competent and proactive generalist pharmacists who contribute to the health and well-being of the residents and to support the needs of the underserved of Georgia, the Southeast region and society at-large.” Our faculty and students uphold this mission by participating in health fairs and brown bag events throughout our communities.
3. Diversity of career options
The variety of career opportunities within the field of pharmacy is very diverse. While the majority of pharmacists (45 percent) work in an independent or retail chain community pharmacy, many others have explored or created new opportunities for themselves. Various healthcare environments for pharmacists include but are not limited to managed care organizations, hospitals, nursing homes, the pharmaceutical industry, colleges and the federal government. Pharmacists work in direct patient care, research, and as part of the legislative process advancing our profession forward. Pharmacists play key leadership roles in all aspects of the healthcare system.
4. Being a part of the healthcare team
Pharmacists work with other health care professionals to improve health outcomes and ensure the continuity of care. Numerous studies have shown the benefits of having a pharmacist on hospital rounds and in ambulatory care settings, to prevent medication errors and reduce costs. The role of pharmacists in the ambulatory care setting is continuously expanding. With the advent of accountable care organizations, pharmacists are now playing a role in reducing hospital readmission rates, chronic disease management and medication therapy management. They are not only part of the medical care team but are also participating in clinics, seeing and counseling patients. MTM is conducted not only in person, but also through telephonic communications as we are advancing into the digital world.
5. Growth potential
Many exciting developments are taking place in the pharmacy profession, including specialty pharmacy, discipline of pharmacogenomics and digital advancements like artificial intelligence. Specialty medications, like biosimilars, are becoming a big part of the pharmaceutical industry and specialty pharmacies are flourishing as demand increases. Same goes for increase in personalized healthcare expansion using genetic testing for genome sequencing and selecting medications based on the patient’s DNA. Furthermore, pharmacy schools are advancing their educational tools to meet the needs of their current students. By using ‘e-Patient’ simulation tools and artificial intelligence, schools are training the next generation of pharmacy professionals.