Exploring New Trends in the New Year
Fasten your seatbelt: the New Year is in full swing, bringing along new changes, new challenges, and of course, new opportunities to improve your practice. Three weeks in, you’ve probably made plans, preparations, and predicted what the next 12 months will look like for you and your pharmacy. But what do the experts have to say?
Every year, the American Society Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) weighs in on the industry and offers insight into what’s coming to the world of pharmacy. ASHP publishes these predictions in an annual report, aptly named the Pharmacy Forecast, that includes everything from trends to technology to medical innovations.
Paul Abramowitz, CEO of ASHP, says, “The Pharmacy Forecast is a unique and vital strategic planning tool to help pharmacy leaders and practitioners better serve their patients and to continue to position their pharmacy departments for success now and in the future.”
What does the Pharmacy Forecast predict for 2022?
5 Changes Coming to Community Pharmacy
ASHP says that we’ll see pharmacists continuing to show up and show out this year, especially in light of the pandemic. In particular, we’ll see pharmacists take on larger roles in patient care, technology, and emergency preparedness.
As Paul Abramowitz puts it, “This year’s Forecast report reflects the ongoing challenges associated with COVID-19, and the related opportunities for pharmacy professionals to continue to enhance their leadership and advance their practices in service to their patients and communities from the bedside to the home and all points throughout the continuum of care.”
To get a better idea of how this all plays out, ASHP offers 5 changes that pharmacists can expect to see in the New Year and beyond:
1. Pharmacists Play a Part of Emergency Preparedness
It’s no secret that pharmacists play a vital role in ending the pandemic. ASHP expects that role to expand into other areas in the New Year, though. According to the Pharmacy Forecast, pharmacists will likely respond to a number of other emergency situations in 2022: from national threats to natural disasters.
Aside from incidental situations, pharmacists will also address ongoing threats that affect the public health system. This includes everything from the opioid crisis to the HIV epidemic.
In the past few years, many states expanded pharmacists’ rights and responsibilities: which, among other things, gave pharmacists the ability to administer life-saving treatments like naloxone and PEP/PrEP. With new rights and responsibilities, pharmacists will play an even bigger role in public health protection.
2. Pharmacists Address Supply Chain Shortages
Throughout the pandemic, demand for drugs surged: both to minimize symptoms of COVID-19 and to treat other illnesses. With so much demand, the pharmaceutical supply chain became overwhelmed, and patients were forced to either wait for treatment to become available or forego it altogether.
In response to this issue, ASHP expects that pharmacists will work together to solve problems in the supply chain — so that all patients can get the treatments they need, when they need them. As part of this goal, ASHP expects that pharmacists will analyze the current supply chain “to improve production forecasting and create dynamic allocation strategies to ensure medications are distributed appropriately by a hospital and region.”
Then, pharmacists will work with larger entities, like drug manufacturers, to develop demand surge strategies, like demand contracting and regional warehousing.
In short, ASHP predicts that pharmacists will respond to supply chain issues by taking matters into their own hands and addressing drug shortages themselves.
3. Pharmacists Get Equitable Access to Digital Tools
Technology has taken the world by storm, especially in the midst of COVID-19. New tech, like messaging platforms and voice technology, has made communication easier than ever before. Pharmacists can now quickly and easily contact patients and other professionals, opening up new networks of care.
With that being said, not everyone has equal access to technology — and not everyone receives the same quality of care.
In an effort to make healthcare more equitable, ASHP expects that pharmacists will step up and advocate for change. More specifically, they expect pharmacists will take to their local leaders (and beyond) to demand that all pharmacies (and all patients) have equal access to technology.
As the Pharmacy Forecast puts it, “Pharmacy leaders should advocate for equitable access to digital tools to ensure underserved populations benefit from technological advances.”
With the right tools and technology, patients can expect to see better outcomes; and pharmacists can expect to see large-level change.
4. Pharmacists Explore Tech-Savvy Ways to Manage Medication
In almost every field, artificial intelligence is the name of the game right now — and that includes the field of pharmacy. That’s why, in the next year, ASHP expects that pharmacists will use AI solutions to help patients manage their medications. The most promising solution on the market? Telehealth.
Telehealth took off at the start of the pandemic, and now, pharmacists will be able to leverage the technology to increase adherence, prevent adverse reactions, and improve outcomes. Telehealth is a game-changer: not only because it increases pharmacists’ accessibility, but also because it frees up valuable time and resources.
Aside from telehealth, ASHP expects that pharmacists will use remotely generated health data to manage chronic conditions and create better medication regimens.
5. Pharmacists Expand New Care Models
Finally, ASHP expects that pharmacists will continue to adapt their care models to accommodate changing situations in 2022. As the Pharmacy Forecast explains, “The pandemic required changes in how care is delivered. For example, health-system pharmacists helped deliver vaccinations to patients’ homes, at drive-thru locations, and to schools.”
Now, two years into the pandemic, pharmacists will begin to create more structured care models that last well past COVID-19.
ASHP predicts, “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.”
Not only will pharmacists have the opportunity to change old and outdated models — but they will be able to play an active part in creating new models that better reflect their needs.
How to Withstand the Test of Time
With new changes waiting around every corner, you something you can count on. That’s why, this year, it’s more important than ever to find a technology partner you can trust. Your pharmacy software system is the backbone of your practice — so you need a software vendor that can help you anticipate all the changes in the industry.
Look for vendors that:
- Prioritize education
- Connect you with helpful resources
- Connect you with other pharmacists
- Offer new and updated features
- Give you top-of-the-line customer support
With the right technology, you can easily and efficiently respond to the changes coming your way. Here’s to your pharmacy, and here’s to the best year yet!