Use your Pharmacy’s technology to ‘Bring Back’ patients Post Pandemic from ignoring chronic conditions!
- Jonathan Jacobs
These past two years have been nothing short of a once-in-a-lifetime, never imaginable event. I am, of course, referring to the COVID-19 Pandemic and its effects on literally ‘everything’ in our lives. Most importantly, our physical and mental health. The Pandemic forced changes in our daily lives and routines, putting tremendous stress on us all, permeating our everyday thought processes, long and short-term planning, etc. It’s also forced many to ignore their own personal health or chronic conditions. According to the CDC, 6 in 10 adults in the U.S. have at least one chronic illness, while 4 in 10 have two or more. Each of these patients is or previously has been some pharmacy’s customer. What if every store owner had the ability to ‘bring back’ the patients that haven’t been in, and get them back on therapy? Getting them into the store or serving them at home, a pharmacy can help patients in their local community stay healthy. There
The importance of following up on known medical issues and the opportunities for our healthcare system to ‘catch’ many of these chronic disease-state conditions that would typically be identified and treated by annual physicals and doctor-patient relationships are being missed. The safety protocols instituted to slow the spread of COVID-19 also disrupted access to many non-emergency, routine care services for months. That’s led to a reported rise in patients showing signs of more advanced, preventable chronic diseases because they were not managed or controlled at earlier stages, or quite frankly, treatment may have lapsed. Additionally, they may have stopped taking their regularly prescribed medications for those conditions both physically AND mentally.
For example: ‘Health debt’ is the accumulated impact of changes in health behaviors during the pandemic that will have long-term negative effects on health. Americans have accumulated an enormous health debt over the past 22 months due to delayed or missed preventive screenings, delayed treatment of existing diseases, forgone chronic disease management activities, and changes in health behaviors that have a negative impact on health (for example, increased alcohol consumption and reduced physical activity). The changes in health behaviors caused by the pandemic could erode advancements made in chronic disease prevention and control including cancer prevention and smoking cessation. Pharmacies in specific often have important information at their fingertips but are lacking in important pharmacy system features to reel in these patients or prevent them from ignoring their current conditions. Clinical services pharmacies may have customarily been providing were a “gateway” to catching and further preventing most common disease states were not being regularly performed. This will all lead to an incredible back log of conditions that must be dealt with both individually and in totality by our entire health care system post pandemic. At the end of this treatment back log will be…the pharmacy!
The ability to tag a patient with any easily identifiable association is called a ‘free tag’. Let’s say for example you have an entire geographical pool of patients who all worked in a coal mine. You could use a free tag such as ‘asthma’ in all these patients’ profiles so that they can be searched by this free tag regardless of their current level of disease state and marketed by your store directly as such! They may all be in a union representing a group of workers or simply from a particular building or apartment complex you locally service. Our new PMS platform RxInsight allows you to place up to three ‘free tags’ in every patients’ profile and subsequently do a search and produce a patient report based on the specific free tag. More importantly, the RxInsight Suite can search the system by ICD 9 & 10 codes identifying specific disease states and acute identifiers. If you have a patient that has asthma as their ICD-9 code but you no longer see them on specific therapies directed towards treating their condition, perhaps they have begun ignoring their personal health and treatment of such condition. Getting these patients back on a regimented therapy puts money back into your store and gets the patient’s (and community) health in line. Every patient on a specific disease-state therapy could potentially be worth hundreds to thousands of dollars’ income back into your pharmacy! Perhaps all it may take is contacting these patients with a good word to go ‘back’ to their doctor and begin treating their chronic conditions again? Those patients you may have previously had on drugs to treat serious mental health conditions are just as important to the patient as your stores’ bottom line!
COVID-19 vaccinations have brought heightened hope for the end of the current health crisis. Still, healthcare experts worry the Pandemic may have created an even greater and longer-lasting challenge for millions of individuals with preventable chronic health conditions. We believe here at Point of Care Systems, our new PMS platform RxInsight Suite addresses these exact needs and so much more. Contact us for a demo or to begin a discussion how our all new technology sets us apart from others!
We at Point of Care continue to urge everyone to follow the latest CDC COVID-19 guidelines and maintain social distancing. For a look below at past articles we have produced relating to the Pandemic, see here: