Opportunities for Pharmacists in 2022
Since early 2020, the pandemic has affected so many aspects of our lives, from daily routines to how patients receive medical care. COVID-19 was a catalyst for digital transformation initiatives throughout many areas of the pharmaceutical industry, leading to digital health advancements, new models for in-home care, and the rapid development and delivery of diagnostic tests, treatments, and vaccines at breakneck speeds.
Here is a closer look at these changes and the unique opportunities for pharmacists in 2022.
Digital Health Advancements
Digital health advancements are changing the game for pharmacists in many ways.
With the shortage of doctors and nurses and the amount of pressure COVID patients have put on our healthcare systems, many people trust pharmacists to play an expanded role in providing care. Digital advancements streamline pharmacy operations and make it easier to connect with patients to provide one-on-one care.
Artificial intelligence may seem like something from science fiction, but AI is here, it’s real, and its implications are powerful. AI processes enormous amounts of information, looking for trends and connections between prescription drugs and patient location, demographics, and usage. This information increases efficiency, affects drug prices, and improves patient experience and outcomes.
Digital health tools improve patient outcomes and change the way pharmacists deliver care, and pharmacy schools are beginning to integrate digital health education into the core curriculum to prepare pharmacy students for the rapid technological advancements of the future.
The beginning of 2022 has shown us that COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere, and pharmacists will continue to play a key role in managing its prevention, treatment, and spread. Pharmacists are playing an ever-expanding role in testing and vaccines, including the additional complexities that come along with pediatric vaccines being available for different age groups and the possibility of yearly boosters.
With more variants and waves potentially on the way, we don’t have a clear view of how COVID-19 will continue to impact public health. But with varying vaccination rates across the country and new variants emerging, it’s safe to say COVID-19 isn’t going away any time soon.
One opportunity for pharmacists to expand their involvement is in coronavirus treatment. With new treatment options emerging, including antiviral pills, pharmacists will play an even more important role in the coming months. Licensed pharmacists can administer monoclonal antibody treatments when appropriate and should begin preparing for this role by seeking out relevant continuing education opportunities.
Coronavirus gives pharmacists a unique opportunity to help patients in three ways: performing COVID-19 testing, preventing spread with both education and the COVID-19 vaccine, and administering approved treatments and those to come in the future. Without these essential services, the effects of COVID would likely be even more significant.
New Care Models
New care models, including hospitals at home, will continue to develop and evolve. Health systems will increasingly be required to offer advanced care in the home, and pharmacy leaders will be expected to participate in the design and implementation of remote patient care technology.
The pandemic has brought telehealth to the forefront, and many insurance companies, including Medicare, cover virtual visits to keep healthcare accessible and safe for everyone. Pharmacists can take advantage of this accessibility to provide one-on-one patient education, covering everything from medication side effects to how to self-inject medicine.
Telehealth has been a game-changer for homebound patients or those who have a hard time finding reliable transportation to appointments. For pharmacists, it takes medication therapy management to a new level.
Medication therapy management is a service that gives patients one-on-one education to ensure that they are getting the most benefit from their medications. This service adapts well to the telehealth environment and ensures that patients are taking their medications correctly and that all prescriptions are necessary.
The pharmacist provides in-depth instruction and collaborates with the patient and their physician to ensure that they get the best health outcomes.
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven advancements in the medical field, opening up many opportunities for pharmacists in 2022. As the digital health landscape expands and other virtual platforms become more widely used, pharmacists are in a unique position to help bring about real change.
Not only are pharmacists expected to continue and expand their role in the fight against COVID-19 by administering vaccines and new treatments, but they are also poised to take a larger role in patient management as new care models emerge.
Telehealth and virtual care are expected to develop and evolve, and pharmacy leaders can take advantage of these changes to work directly with patients and become an even more significant part of the care team.
Looking for your next pharmacy opportunity? Whether you’re a new grad or an experienced pharmacist, we have job opportunities available all over the country.