ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has recognized Dr. Jennifer Brokaw, M.D., a San Francisco emergency room physician, as a "Pharmacy Great Communicator."
NACDS said Wednesday that a column by Brokaw in the May 18 Washington Post, titled "Keeping Routine Medical Care Out of Hospital Emergency Rooms," highlights the role that pharmacy-based health clinics play in treating patients, saving them from having to go to hospital emergency rooms for non-urgent treatments — which are more costly for the patient and the health care system overall . She also emphasized key challenges facing health care delivery that play to pharmacy’s strengths in patient care.
"There are four ways we can steer minor emergencies away from the ER," Brokaw wrote in the article. "First, establish more offices and clinics that are not based in hospitals (and do not carry hospital overhead). The recent trend toward low-cost, retail- and pharmacy-based clinics has been a relative success for what these facilities offer: quick evaluation and treatment for simple problems. They have been found to cost less than one-fifth of what an ER costs for the same complaint."
Brokaw also called for the health care system to "invest in allied professionals" given the shortage of primary care physicians, NACDS added. "To deliver the best quality care to the most people," she pointed out, "we have to commit to a new workforce and a new set of tools and thinking."
NACDS designates a Pharmacy Great Communicator when opinion leaders inject into the public debate the positive story of pharmacy’s role as the face of neighborhood health care.
"NACDS applauds Dr. Brokaw for her thoughtful perspective on how pharmacy-based clinics provide important health services to patients," NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson said in a statement. "A visit to a local pharmacy clinic can provide a patient with high-quality treatment for nonemergency ailments, in a cost-effective manner."
Anderson noted that pharmacies and retail clinics can provide such services as medication therapy management as well as cholesterol, diabetes and other screenings to assess health needs, all of which help improve health care outcomes.
"A neighborhood pharmacy offers medication, counseling and other services to patients," he stated, "and with many clinics opening in retail stores, patients can utilize these centers to address other ailments while reducing overall health care costs.
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