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5 Steps for Pharmacists to Secure a Spot on the New Health Care Team

Your role is evolving.

For years, America’s healthcare costs have continued to climb, but we’re not getting any healthier. Patient outcomes continue to decline. Healthcare reform aims to change all that with a triple aim: better care, healthy people and reduced costs.

In response, healthcare providers are learning new rules, trying out new tactics and developing new teams. For progressive pharmacists, this time of uncertainty provides a window of opportunity.

To secure your spot on the new healthcare team, follow these five tips:

1. Become familiar with your medical neighborhood.
As a community pharmacist, you’re already a central part of your local healthcare system. You have the influence and the access needed to motivate patients to make good choices. (According to Gallup’s 2013 poll, pharmacists are one of the most trusted professionals in the country, second only to nurses.) You’re the perfect player for the new healthcare team, so take this first step to secure your spot: Get to know the local organizations and practices that are working to develop new care models.

2. Approach the players in your area now.
Now that you know the players, it’s time to get in the game. Don’t wait for a proven formula for partnering with healthcare systems or accountable care organizations (ACOs) — that could be too late. Start conversations now with physicians, hospitals, home health agencies and other providers who are trying to figure out how to improve patient outcomes. Listen to their goals and needs. Help them understand what you offer so they realize how much they need it.

3. Define your own role on the new healthcare team.
How will your pharmacy help the team achieve its goals? If the organization struggles with transitions in care, develop a plan to help. About 30 percent of medications reviewed by a pharmacist post-discharge require an intervention. That’s an opportunity to catch costly mistakes and improve a patient’s care experience and wellness. Take control by identifying these opportunities and implementing plans to address them.

4. Look to high-tech, high-touch services for better care.
Technology is playing a critical role in new care models. Tools that keep patients engaged in their care plan and allow providers to monitor what’s going on with patients outside of office visits will help healthcare providers intervene when appropriate and determine the best use of resources for each patient. If you have solutions that could improve patients’ experiences and outcomes while reducing costs, bring them to the table.

5. Track your impact.
Establish a comprehensive, reportable way to track your involvement with patients. Document the extra touch points you establish, note patients’ participation in health screenings or immunizations, and file any medication interventions you assist with. The industry is redesigning care models, and much is in flux. Be prepared with data to show your impact — someday, someone will ask for it. When you can prove a positive impact on patient outcomes, everyone will want you on their team.

Join us at the 2014 Independent Pharmacy Business Growth Conference.

This is just the beginning. Join us at the PDS Growth Conference (February 27– March 1) to learn more about pharmacists’ changing role and how to ensure your success in the new healthcare arena.

We’re hosting an accredited CE session, “Pharmacist + Technology = Momentum: Promising Players on the Healthcare Team.” You’ll get actionable insights from industry leaders. Nancy Blough, who works with ACO teams across the country, will show you the formula for ACOs and pharmacists’ involvement. Ryan Moore from Cornerstone Health Care, a North Carolina-based ACO, will discuss strategies for community pharmacists to get their foot in the door and provide examples from Cornerstone’s experience.

Haven’t registered for the PDS Growth Conference yet? Register here and take advantage of our promo code (PARATA) to receive a $500 discount on your ticket to the conference!

To learn more about Parata, or to schedule a demo during the PDS Growth Conference, email us at

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