Many people have a problem understanding how to take medications that their doctors prescribe. This can adversely affect their health. One study found that out of 395 patients, nearly 46% of patients misunderstood the labels of their prescription medication. That shows that people who do not understand how to take medications correctly are at a greater risk of making a mistake, posing a threat to their safety. That is why there is a lot of emphasis on medication safety, and pharmacists play a crucial role in ensuring it.
Often people who want to ensure better treatment outcomes forget that a pharmacist plays an important role. If you are keen to ensure that patients receive the right treatment, think about becoming a pharmacist.
If you have completed your bachelor’s degree and are passionate about the safety of patients in your community, you can pursue an online Pharm D. The University of Findlay offers a unique opportunity to pursue a Distance Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program allowing you to get your doctorate from an accredited university. This four-year program prepares you to become a proficient pharmacist so that you have a positive impact on patients and help them understand the importance of taking their medications the right way.
As a pharmacist, you are responsible for ensuring that your customers use prescription and OTC medications safely and effectively. In addition, you also make sure that you dispense the correct medication and carefully monitor patients’ medication therapy. You will learn these as part of your online PharmD program, but it always pays to have some knowledge.
The importance of medication safety
Medication errors are a significant concern in healthcare, and they can result in serious harm to patients. It is estimated that every year in the US, around 1.5 million people are affected by medication errors. This costs the healthcare system about $3.5 billion annually. The National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (NCC MERP) states that around 98,000 patients die in the US every year due to medical errors in hospitals. A vast majority of these deaths occur due to medication errors.
As a pharmacist, you play an important role in preventing these errors as you can ensure that patients take their medications correctly. Pharmacists are responsible for reviewing medication orders to ensure they are appropriate for the patient’s condition, monitoring their response to the medication, and ensuring they receive the correct dose.
Pharmacists also educate patients on how to take their medications safely and effectively, and they watch closely for any possible drug interactions and adverse effects. By taking these measures, pharmacists can help prevent medication errors and ensure patients receive safe and effective medication therapy.
Strategies pharmacists employ to promote the safe use of medication
When you study PharmD, you will learn many of the strategies listed here, and when you begin working, you will start using these approaches to help patients use medications safely and appropriately.
This process involves creating a comprehensive list of a patient’s medications. This includes prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and herbal supplements. The list is then compared to the patient’s medical history to ensure that all medications are appropriate for the patient’s condition. This helps to minimize potential drug interactions or duplications.
Pharmacists play an important role in medication reconciliation since they are responsible for ensuring that patients receive the correct medications and identifying and addressing adverse effects as well as possible interactions.
Educating patients is another strategy that pharmacists use quite effectively. They teach patients how to take their medications safely and effectively, including the correct dosage, how to take them and the side effects they should watch out for. They also teach patients how to store their medications properly and dispose of them safely.
It is imperative to provide these verbal instructions in layperson’s terms so that patients understand and register them. This is a wonderful way to prevent medication errors and ensure patients receive safe and effective medication therapy.
Pharmacists review medication prescriptions that doctors give to patients. They ensure that the medications are correct for the patient’s condition and do not interact with other medications the patient may be taking. They also check the patient’s medical history to ensure that the medication is safe and effective for them.
When pharmacists carefully check the prescriptions patients receive, they can prevent medication errors and ensure that patients benefit from the medications they take.
Monitoring adverse effects
Pharmacists are also responsible for monitoring patients when they take medication. That is to ensure they do not experience unfavorable reactions to the medication. If an adverse reaction occurs, the pharmacist informs the doctor who has prescribed the medication.
By monitoring patients for adverse reactions to medications, pharmacists ensure that medication errors do not occur. Instead, patients receive safe and effective medication therapy.
Medication therapy management
Medication therapy management (MTM) is a comprehensive approach that involves assessing the patient’s medication therapy, identifying potential medication-related problems, and developing a plan to address these problems.
Pharmacists play a critical role in MTM since they are responsible for reviewing the patient’s medication regimen, identifying potential drug interactions and adverse effects, and developing a plan to optimize medication therapy. This helps prevent medication errors, improves medication adherence, and ensures patients have access to effective medications.
Technologies in healthcare have become common and allow healthcare providers to communicate with each other more effectively and also engage patients. Pharmacies have also embraced technology. For instance, electronic prescribing systems help prevent medication errors by reducing the risk of errors associated with illegible prescriptions. With electronic prescribing systems, pharmacists can ensure patients receive the correct medications and dosages.
Furthermore, pharmacists can use electronic health records (EHRs) to access patient information and medication histories. That, in turn, can help identify potential drug interactions and adverse effects.
Collaboration with healthcare providers
It has become a common practice for pharmacists to work closely with physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers. This helps to ensure that patients receive appropriate medication therapy.
Since pharmacists can check all the medications that patients take, they communicate with prescribers if they suspect medications are inappropriate for the patient’s condition. This also helps them identify and address possible drug interactions and adverse drug events.
Pharmacists are the key to an effective and safe medication delivery system. They are often the last point of contact that patients have before they begin their treatment. Hence, by adopting different strategies, pharmacists can not only help avoid medication errors but also ensure that patients understand how to take their medications properly. That improves treatment outcomes and minimizes the risk of adverse reactions and interactions.