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Patients want pharmacies to go ‘beyond the fill’

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Poll: Older Americans would like more health services at local pharmacy

IRVINE, Calif. — Middle age and older Americans see their local pharmacy as a destination for preventive care and other health services, beyond filling prescriptions and managing medications, according to the Shortcut To Health survey by PrescribeWellness.

The online survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults over age 40, conducted by Propeller Insights for PrescribeWellness, examined the 2018 health goals of older Americans and the services they most value from their community pharmacy.

Forty-six percent of respondents said they’re willing to pay cash for preventive health services at their pharmacy instead of a co-payment at a doctor’s office, and 50% said they would transfer their prescriptions to a pharmacy that provided other preventive care services.

Top of mind among pharmacy health services are immunizations, according to PrescribeWellness. When asked which services their pharmacy could add to make health care more convenient, 29% of older Americans cited access to all vaccines, which was third on the list.

Vaccinations also were third on the list of services older Americans find most valuable in a pharmacy, again cited by 29%. Of those who have been vaccinated at a local pharmacy, 58% said it’s more convenient than visiting their doctor, 46% said it’s quicker and 37% said it’s closer to home.

Similarly, 68% of older adults said having flu or strep testing at their local pharmacy would be easier than visiting their doctor, even though just 12% indicated they’ve had such testing performed at a pharmacy, PrescribeWellness reported.

Topping the list of services that respondents said would make health care more convenient if available at their local pharmacy were quick over-the-counter treatments (38%), blood pressure checks (31%), access to all vaccines (29%), synchronized pickup of their medications (27%) and medication delivery (27%).

Meanwhile, 20% of those polled said they want help with weight loss, 15% seek advice on their Medicare plan, and 11% need assistance in managing diabetes. PrescribeWellness also noted that 57% of adults over 40 would be more willing to use a pharmacy offering delivery service.

Al Babbington_PrescribeWellness

Al Babbington

In terms of services they most value in their local pharmacy, respondents cited advice about medication interactions (40%) and side effects (40%) as well as quick OTC treatments (36%).

“Thousands of community pharmacies are going ‘beyond the fill’ every day, offering their patients valuable advice and preventive care services. And this role will only be increasing as technology changes the way illnesses are diagnosed and treatment is delivered,” according to Al Babbington, chief executive officer of PrescribeWellness, a cloud-based provider of pharmacy and health care solutions. “This survey illustrates that American adults are excited to have their community pharmacies — which are often closer and more convenient than their doctor’s office — be trusted allies in their health and wellness.”

The PrescribeWellness survey, too, revealed that older Americans already have a high degree of trust in community pharmacists in helping to manage their medications.

More than two-thirds (67%) said they prefer to discuss new prescriptions with pharmacists because they do a better job of explaining side effects (cited by 39%), are trusted experts (36%) and have more time to spend with them (23%).

Regarding interaction with their physicians, 35% of survey respondents said that they visit multiple doctors and their doctors communicate with each other “somewhat” (44%) or “not at all” (19%). Thirty percent reported they don’t discuss possible drug interactions with their doctor when given a new prescription, although 92% indicated that they trust their doctor is aware of all of the medications they’re taking.

Level of trust is key since this patient demographic tends to have more prescriptions. About one in five Americans over age 40 (21%) take more than five medications, and another 41% take between two and five. Fifty-one percent make multiple trips to the pharmacy each month to pick up their scripts — which PrescribeWellness said means that about 25% forget to pick up or refill their prescriptions. Yet 76% said their pharmacy has never offered to medication synchronization service.

Among older Americans’ health care goals this year, weight loss is a top priority. Of U.S. adults age 40 and older, 79% said they plan to get more exercise, 74% aim to eat healthier food and 59% plan to eat less to lose weight in 2018. Forty-two percent indicated they’re willing to consult their local pharmacist for help in losing weight, even though only 5% said they’ve ever done so.

Quitting smoking is another key goal of many over-40 Americans. Twenty-three percent said they’ve consulted with local pharmacists for help in stopping smoking, but 62% reported they’re willing to consult with them.

They survey found that 13% of U.S. adults over age 40 will attempt to quit smoking in 2018, with 39% saying they will go cold turkey, 28% using a nicotine patch, 24% using an e-cigarette or “vape,” and 21% using some other form of medication.


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