The Role of Remote Clinical Pharmacists in Patient Education

As healthcare’s top-tier medication experts, pharmacists are uniquely positioned to lead the charge on patient education. Consider how many times you or a loved one have filled a prescription without being clear on the purpose – or potential side effects. You’re not alone. This problem afflicts patients of all ages all too often—especially those who are most vulnerable. Let’s discuss how remote clinical pharmacist-led patient education initiatives can improve medication adherence and health outcomes. 

Why patient education is vital for medication adherence 

As we’ve previously covered, patient education is perhaps the best way to positively influence medication adherence. It’s critical to equip patients with the information they need to take an active role in managing their medications and subsequently, their health. Imagine a construction team attempting to build a house without tools—it’s akin to asking a patient to manage their own health without giving them the knowledge they need to properly do so. 

A lack of medication adherence is not only detrimental to patient health but to the healthcare system at large. When patients are nonadherent to their medications, their conditions often worsen in severity, leading to expensive care. On a macro scale, it’s easy to see how this situation creates increased healthcare costs. Patients get sicker and need expensive care to rectify issues that were preventable through proper medication use and adherence. 

How specialty medication increased the clinical pharmacist’s role 

It’s an unfortunate truth that Americans are suffering from chronic disease at higher rates than ever before. In fact, the CDC estimates that 60% of Americans have a chronic disease, with 40% having at least two. The most common chronic conditions include heart disease, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), among others. The treatment for these conditions? Specialty medications. 

Specialty medications are pharmaceutical therapies high in cost, complexity, and often, both. Because the chronic conditions they treat are often lifelong and incurable, specialty medications are a massive cost driver, accounting for more than half of pharmacy spend in the US 

For healthcare organizations seeking to optimize their pharmacy spend and drive better health within in their populations, remote clinical pharmacists can be the solution to ensuring that patients get the most benefit from their specialty medications. As medication experts, clinical pharmacists can cut through the confusion and complexity of specialty medications to educate patients on how to properly use them for condition management. Until recently, these consultations were done at in-person pharmacy environments. However, with the advent of new technologies such as Aspen RxHealth, remote MTM pharmacists can conduct medication therapy management and specialty medication management consultations virtually, to increase care accessibility and maximize medication effectiveness. 

The clinical pharmacist’s role in medication adherence 

Remote clinical pharmacists can create massive impacts on medication adherence when properly integrated into clinical pharmacy programs. Because they work remotely, these pharmacists are unhindered by the constraints of busy pharmacies, long lines, or other administrative responsibilities. Their sole goal is to empathetically connect with patients and ensure better health outcomes through medication optimization.  

Working in this fashion, pharmacists can provide educational consultations to patients regardless of their geography, with the goal of equipping patients with the information they need to stay adherent to their medication regimens.  

While many healthcare organizations operate clinical pharmacy teams in-house, they may find the costs to hire, train, and retain these teams to be prohibitively high. Fortunately, through models such as Aspen RxHealth, they can now outsource their pharmacy teams. Aspen RxHealth’s technology platform intelligently matches pharmacists and patients based to create the best possible relationship each time. For example, a Korean-speaking remote clinical pharmacist with a specialty in diabetes treatment would be matched to a diabetic patient whose preferred language is Korean. 

How the pharmacist patient relationship improves patient education 

Unlike some healthcare providers who may force their beliefs or clinical opinions upon their patients, Aspen RxHealth pharmacists are extensively trained in motivational interviewing techniques to connect with patients and meet them where they are. This empathetic approach improves patients’ receptivity to participating in a medication consultation. 

Aspen RxHealth’s technology also allows pharmacists to curate their own panel of patients over time, allowing for strong, ongoing relationships. These relationships empower pharmacists to educate patients in the most effective way possible about their medications. 

Eschewing the age-old mindset of “I take this because my doctor told me to,” Aspen RxHealth pharmacists can provide in-depth education in an easily understandable way, so patients truly know the “why” behind their full medication regimens. 

Improve patient education with the nation’s largest community of pharmacists 

If your healthcare organization is struggling to identify a solution to educate your patients on their medications, consider Aspen RxHealth. Powered by innovative technology and a community of over  7,000 remote clinical pharmacists across the country, our patient education capabilities are limited only by your imagination. With 7,000 pharmacists at your fingertips, where would you point them? 

Learn more about Aspen RxHealth’s award-winning solutions here, or drop us a line on our request a demo page to get the conversation started. 

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