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Pharmacists are responsible for ensuring patients understand and use their medications safely and appropriately. However, the increasing demand for pharmacy services often overburdens pharmacists with administrative tasks like filling prescriptions, managing inventory, and counseling patients. They also have to perform medication reviews, which is where pharmacy students, depending on the province where they live, can step up and shine.
Pharmacy students are the industry's future, but they are often an untapped resource when it comes to improving pharmacy efficiency and delivering better patient care. The students are eager to apply their knowledge and can also represent a cost savings to the pharmacy.
So, what are medication reviews, why are they essential for patient care, and why are pharmacy students an excellent choice for this role?
A medication review is a one-on-one meeting between a patient and a pharmacy professional where they critically examine the patient’s prescriptions. This review aims to ensure patients are taking their medications correctly while also optimizing medication therapy, minimizing adverse drug reactions, and improving patient outcomes.
Medication-related problems are a significant contributor to morbidity and mortality and a leading cause of hospitalization and healthcare costs worldwide, which is why it’s so important to conduct these reviews regularly. During this appointment, a pharmacy student can also suggest appropriate medication alternatives like generic or comparable drugs in the same class, which can help eliminate redundant drug therapies. Ultimately, a medication review can be motivating, corrective, and life-changing.
When a medication review is done correctly, it will:
Pharmacists are trained to perform medication reviews, but registered pharmacy students are also permitted to conduct reviews as long as a licensed pharmacist supervises them. These appointments last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, allowing the pharmacist or pharmacy student to complete a comprehensive medication assessment that identifies and solves drug-therapy problems.
Since pharmacy students are trained in pharmacology, pharmacotherapy, and medication management, they are well-equipped to perform patient medication reviews. And when pharmacy students are used as a resource for conducting these reviews, pharmacists can free up their time to perform other critical tasks in the pharmacy.
Medication reviews are also an untapped source of revenue; just five reviews a day can bring in an additional $300 per day, resulting in over six figures of additional revenue per year. That revenue is lost when pharmacists don’t have time to conduct these reviews. So, leveraging the skills of pharmacy students for medication reviews brings in those additional funds while also allowing the pharmacist to continue running the pharmacy.
In addition to conducting medication reviews, pharmacy students are well-suited to complete other tasks around the pharmacy.
By delegating some of these work items to a pharmacy student, pharmacists could be saving as much as $148 per task. That means if a pharmacy student is completing 20 of these tasks daily, the pharmacy is saving nearly $3,000 a day in overall costs.
Pharmacists can free up their time to focus on other critical tasks, save money, and increase revenue by involving pharmacy students in medication reviews and other pharmacy functions. When pharmacists utilize their pharmacy students' skills and expertise, they ensure patients receive prompt and high-quality care at all times.