ARLINGTON, Va. — NACDS has submitted comments highlighting key NACDS activities and initiatives which align with the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Healthy People 2030 initiative, which sets data-driven national objectives to improve the health and well-being of all Americans over the next decade. Healthy People 2030 — the initiative’s fifth iteration — builds on knowledge gained over the first four decades.
NACDS’ comments are consistent with the “NACDS 2023” Initiative, which focuses on health and wellness innovation. The “NACDS 2023” Initiative brings a “pharmacy plus” approach to leveraging the total store for the total person.
NACDS said in its comments: “NACDS continues to strongly support the Healthy People 2030 Objectives, many of which align with activities pharmacies have undertaken to help improve the health of people and communities across the nation. In particular, since 2018, the important role of pharmacies in helping to prevent and combat infectious diseases, like COVID-19, has become even more apparent. At the same time, the Food is Medicine movement has gained momentum and pharmacies continue to engage to support the National Strategy to mitigate diet-related diseases.”
Of note, NACDS outlined key examples of how pharmacies continue to lead population health efforts responding to the nation’s health and wellness needs in alignment with the Healthy People 2030 Objectives:
- Related to the Healthy People 2030 Objective on Infectious Disease – COVID-19: Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacies stepped up to help ensure adequate testing, vaccination and treatment access across the country, including in rural and vulnerable communities. In total, more than 307 million COVID-19 vaccinations have been provided by pharmacies, in addition to more than 42 million COVID-19 tests, and over eight million therapeutics courses. One study estimates that pharmacy team members averted more than one million COVID-related deaths. Additionally, more than 40% of individuals vaccinated by pharmacies identified as racial or ethnic minorities.
- Related to the Healthy People 2030 Objective on Nutrition and Healthy Eating: Pharmacists have a critical role to play in improving health outcomes for patients with diet-related chronic conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension. Importantly, research demonstrates Americans’ strong support for pharmacists’ broader role in health and wellness. A December 2022 poll showed that 80% of American adults support pharmacists’ role in working with patients on nutritional issues to prevent diet-related, chronic disease. In September 2023, as part of the “NACDS 2023” Initiative, NACDS unveiled a new campaign called “Nourish My Health.” The collaborative campaign comes as part of a commitment to the 2022 White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, and brings together a robust group of national partners aimed at helping Americans embrace the protective health benefits that nutritious food provides in reducing the risk of diet-related conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and many types of cancer.
- Related to the Healthy People 2030 Objective on Health IT – Pharmacy Data Interoperability: Increasingly, pharmacies are providing a wider range of clinical services to help meet the health and wellness needs of the communities they serve. As patients access more services from pharmacies, pharmacy data interoperability becomes more important to the health care system at-large. Pharmacy teams’ ability to provide optimal care and meaningfully contribute to public health objectives depends on their ability to access and contribute to patients’ clinical records. A white paper released by Leavitt Partners in April 2023 outlines the steps federal and state policymakers, technology and electronic health record companies, health plans, pharmacies and other health care providers can take to strengthen pharmacy data interoperability for the ultimate benefit of the patient.
This recent comment letter builds on previous comments submitted by NACDS in 2018 when the 2030 objectives were first announced. In those comments, NACDS called attention to several key objectives well-suited for pharmacist influence with opportunity for significant public health impact — including pharmacists’ and pharmacies’ role in supporting increased access to immunizations and health screenings; improving medication adherence and chronic disease management; and supporting people with mental health and substance use disorders.