The Key Role of Sole Community Pharmacists in Their Local Healthcare Delivery Systems
Andrea Radford, Dr.P.H.(1), Indira Richardson, M.P.A.(1), Michelle Mason, M.A.(2), Stephen Rutledge (1)
OVERVIEW Sole community independent pharmacists provide essential services to residents of small towns and isolated communities. Anecdotal reports indicate their role within the local health care community is often multi-faceted, extending beyond the provision of prescription and nonprescription medications at their retail stores. In 2008, we surveyed 401 community pharmacists that are the only retail provider in their community to document their extended relationships with other health care providers and the additional health care services these pharmacists provide to their patients. Pharmacist-owners in independent pharmacies located at least 10 miles from the next closest retail pharmacy were interviewed to determine the presence in their community of other types of health care organizations that require pharmaceutical support i (such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, hospice providers, home health agencies and community health centers), their level of involvement with those facilities, and the types of clinical services (other than dispensing and counseling) the pharmacists offered to their own patients.
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Most sole community pharmacists (83%) provided important services for other health care providers and facilities in their communities. Almost all (92%) of the communities served by a single independent retail pharmacy are also served by at least one other type of inpatient or outpatient health care organization. Skilled nursing or long-term care facilities, hospice providers and home health agencies, all of whom serve predominately elderly patients, were the most common types of health care organizations in the communities surveyed. Almost half of all pharmacists (42%) offered additional clinical and...