Pharmacists Expand Role To Help Educate Patients

african american pharmacist(BlackDoctor.org) — The average adult fills about a dozen prescriptions and refills every year; after age 65, they fill more than 30 prescriptions annually. For many people, their local pharmacist may be as familiar as their doctor — and often a lot easier to get time with. Some pharmacists are building on that position, expanding their role from drug dispenser to drug educator and chronic disease coach. By doing so, they may fill a void created by the shortage of primary-care physicians while boosting their business.

Pharmacists: Educating The Community

Janis McGannon has heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. A few months ago she accepted an offer from a nurse at the Bay Street Pharmacy near her home in Sebastian, Fla., to join a new “healthy heart” program at the pharmacy.

At a meeting of the program’s participants, Theresa Tolle, a pharmacist and the owner of Bay Street, gave a talk to about a dozen customers about cholesterol: what it is, how it works and how it can be managed. After everyone was weighed and measured, they received a goody bag that included a pedometer to encourage them to walk 10,000 steps a day.

The next month, the topic was blood pressure. In addition to having their pressures checked and discussing the medications they were taking, participants learned about using light weights and stretchy bands for exercise.