Using the Local Pharmacist to Moderate the P2P Discussion

P2P or Peer-to-Peer healthcare is a common discussion topic these days. Patients want to go online and learn from others with their condition on sites like or The government has been one of the early adopters.

“The social media sites we have created show that the government can interact in a meaningful way with the public. We don’t just push information out; we strive to make the content relevant so people can act on it, share it with family or friends and ultimately change their behavior.” Amy Burnett, CDC (Tapping Into The Power By Getting Personal, Robin Robinson, PharmaVOICE, May 2011)

The question is how can traditional companies – pharmaceutical manufacturers, disease management companies, providers, managed care companies, pharmacies, and PBMs – interact in these discussions. On the one hand, they have a broad depth of experience and data to share. On the other hand, they can’t just jump in and drive their agenda. They have to add value to the conversation, demonstrate that they care, and add value.

Much like the idea that you can purchase things online and return them to the physical store, I think these virtual discussions need to eventually be tied to a physical experience for many patients. One group that I think could play significantly in this is local pharmacists. Imagine that a chain or an association created a social media team. That team could monitor and interact with patients especially in key conditions such as some of the specialty drug areas. As relevant, this could be linked back to a local store where a pharmacist could spend time consulting with the patient. I think this would be a great way to drive the retail specialty business and increase consumer brand awareness.

“The potential use of social media as a bellwether for identifying trends, informational gaps, support tools, even improved communications between providers, allied health professionals, and others could pave the way for a more collaborative approach to population mapping and patient care.” Michael Parks, Vox Media (Social Media: Paving The Way, Robin Robinson, PharmaVOICE, May 2011)

The CDC has even created a toolkit for people to use.

One Response to “Using the Local Pharmacist to Moderate the P2P Discussion”

  1. In total agreement with this post. Pharmacist have the ability, technology and infrastructure today to accomplish you stated goals plus:

    1) Objective; Reduce Health Care Cost While Simultaneously Improving Health Outcomes
    2) Description; Using a network that combines existing clinical resources with existing management and administrative tools via Health Information Technologies (HIT), to proactively manage the use of prescription drug and medical services while simultaneously addressing the need to provide a “Culture of Wellness”, wellness and chronic disease management in our Nation.
    3) Innovations of project; Analysis suggests that an important step toward relieving existing health care structural problems is a separation of responsibility for 2 distinct types of tasks: medical care of individual patients and prevention/population health.
    The overall system can be dramatically improved by establishing 2 separate but linked systems with distinct organizational forms: (a) a high-efficiency system performing large-scale repetitive tasks such as screening tests, inoculations, and generic health care by pharmacist physician extenders, and (b) a high-complexity system treating complex medical problems of individual patient’s by physicians.
    4) Quantitative cost reduction; There have been several pilots using this model that produced savings of 40%; Ten City and Ashville being good examples.
    5) Quantitative quality improvement; The financial savings mentioned above came from quantitative improvements in A1C, lipids, hypertension, COPD, heart disease, and improved screenings by patients involved. We will be able to exceed these improvements with the implementation of our HIT.
    6) The milestone event will occur day one with the recognized under-utilization of highly trained primary care providers and the over use of administrative personnel.

    Population health system:
    Our technology allows the tracking and report carding to get population based outcomes.
    Long-term and working capital investment decisions:

    We will use existing infrastructure and personnel that will be paid from existing cash streams avoiding both delay and cost to implemmentation.

    Spread of behavior changes move faster through networks that have many close connections instead of many distant ties. Redundancy is the key, as people are more likely to engage in a behavior if they are reminded through frequent contacts. Pharmacy is the most frequent used health pathway and we can touch patients with each contact for behavioral change.
    Jim Fields RPh CFO ApproRx

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