Pharmacists have always served a critical role in supporting public health. During the pandemic, a shortage of healthcare workers and limited access to hospitals, clinics, and traditional doctor offices due to restrictions, created an expanded role for pharmacists that patients expect to maintain in a post-pandemic world.
According to a survey by Columbia University, 80 percent of people see pharmacists as a key component of their healthcare team. Pharmacists are trusted by these patients to play a role in the continuum of care beyond monitoring and filling prescriptions, especially as complex new therapies and a focus on healthcare in the digital space become more commonplace.
The pandemic disrupted long-standing constructs in the healthcare industry. It created the necessity for millions to have efficient and reliable access to testing, vaccines, and other treatments for COVID-19.
Due to their medical training and their experience managing logistics in busy pharmacy environments, pharmacists are able to provide critical resources in the fight against COVID-19. Patients expect that access to continue beyond the pandemic.
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy agrees; in August 2021, a subcommittee was tasked with reviewing and discussing the various provisions that were waived during the height of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
One of the waivers discussed was the expanded scope of practice. The subcommittee unanimously agreed to support the permanent expansions for pharmacists to order and administer CLIA-waived point-of-care testing and prescribe associated medications as well as order and administer ACIP vaccines.
This proposed expanded scope may require additional regulatory requirements to ensure any pharmacist administering care is appropriately trained and licensed, as well as any medication or vaccine prescribed and administered during care is stored and handled properly.
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As pharmacists are asked to do more, the efficiency and reliability of the equipment they choose to help manage their pharmacies becomes more important. Helmer Scientific refrigerators and freezers are designed and manufactured to maintain quality and reliability in fast-paced hospital, specialty, and retail pharmacy environments. They also assist in meeting the regulatory standards and regulations related to vaccine and medication storage.