Recognizing the increasing role pharmacists play in the Canadian health care system on National Pharmacist Day, January 12, 2017
January 12th marks National Pharmacist Day. For many years, Pharmacists have been taking on expanded roles in the Canadian health care system, working more closely than ever before with patients, their families and collaborating with other frontline health care providers to deliver team-based patient care.
While most Canadians are familiar with visiting their local pharmacist to pick up prescriptions, many people are still unaware that they also provide convenient access to a range of health care services.
Five Services You May Not Know Your Pharmacist Provides
1. Vaccinations and Immunizations
London Drugs’ Certified Injection Pharmacists are able to administer vaccinations right at the pharmacy.
Travel and Immunization Clinics are hosted at many London Drugs pharmacies to help prepare patients for international travel. Pharmacists review a patient’s immunization history and make sure vaccinations are up-to-date according to provincial, national and even international immunization programs. They can suggest and administer additional vaccines depending on planned travel activities, previous immunization history and the local conditions at many common destinations. For example, International Health Regulations require Yellow Fever vaccination for travel to countries in sub-Saharan Africa. South America and Saudi Arabia requires proof of meningococcal vaccination travel during certain dates.
London Drugs’ Certified Injection Pharmacists are also able to administer influenza vaccinations, as well as the Zostavax vaccine for Shingles.
2. Emergency Prescription Refills, Prescription Renewals & Drug Modifications
Traditionally in Canada, the authority to prescribe medications has rested with doctors but as part of Pharmacists’ expanded scope of practice in Canada, Pharmacists in many provinces now have the ability to provide emergency prescription refills, renew or extend prescriptions, modify or adapt drug therapy, change drug dosage and even have independent prescriptive authority (in Alberta).
As the most accessible health care professionals in Canada, Pharmacists make significant contributions to the quality of drug therapy and patient outcomes by initiating, monitoring and adjusting drug therapy. For example, Anticoagulation Clinics are offered at some London Drugs pharmacies for patients taking the drug warfarin. Pharmacists can administer international normalized ratio (INR) tests which provide valuable insight about the effectiveness of the medication. Based on the immediate test results, pharmacists can adjust medication dosages right away resulting in improved patient care.
Pharmacists’ Expanded Scope of Practice in Canada (pdf)
3. Medication Adherence Support Programs
Beyond preparing and dispensing medications, London Drugs pharmacists play a critical role in helping to improve medication adherence through a number of programs and services.
Through Medication reviews pharmacists provide personalized consultations to patients to examine and discuss issues around medication use, side effects, interactions, and anything else related to medication therapy, with the goal of ensuring safe and effective treatments.
London Drugs Certified Diabetes Educators assist patients through individualized Diabetes Management Clinics. These customized one-on-one consultations focus on blood sugar testing, medication management, preventing low blood sugar, foot care, eating well and getting enough physical activity.
4. Convenient Access to Preventative Care and Wellness Coaching
Health is often a part of many Canadians’ New Year’s resolutions, and London Drugs pharmacists are equipped to offer guidance. Patients can meet one-on-one with a pharmacist for any of the following screening clinics and preventative health services:
- Healthy Heart Clinics
- Osteoporosis Screening Clinics
- Smoking Cessation Consultations
- Compression Stockings Fitting
5. Health Monitoring Services
London Drugs pharmacists help equip patients with physician-prescribed portable monitors like the Holter Monitor, which is a wearable EKG (electrocardiogram) device that continuously records a person’s heart rhythms, and Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor which measures blood pressure over a 24-hour period, giving healthcare providers the most clear and thorough picture of the body’s response to working, exercising, eating, and sleeping. Both monitors help physicians diagnosis critical health issues.