Shortage of Pharmacists Continues

There was a study done a few years ago that showed that given the projected rates in prescription drug utilization there would be as many as 150,000 too few pharmacists by 2020.  The studies looked at automation as a solution.  They looked at opening more pharmacy schools.

But, there are numerous constraints.  Here are few links about the study.

It is an important issue since your prescription benefit is your most highly used benefit.  If you haven’t seen the 20/20 story on pharmacy errors from earlier this year, it is worth a read.  It is a little controversial since it shows a much higher error rate than I have ever seen and is certainly biased towards the negative.  But, it is an important discussion.

The question is how to leverage this important asset – pharmacists – as a key point in the patient care continuum without sacrificing quality.  Automation.  Virtualization.  Central Fill.  There are some options, but figuring out the new economics and division of labor to help open up time for more patient care will be a change.

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