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Health in Motion Network – Community Pharmacists

Columbus, OH – 12/31/20

Health in Motion Network (HIMN) has intentionally centered its care platform around the community pharmacist. With over 21,000 community pharmacies nationwide, these front-line providers are increasingly assuming much-needed, expanded responsibility for patient care. Far exceeding the limited role many patients likely presumptively attribute to their pharmacist, as trained healthcare professionals, community pharmacists are adept at counseling patients, helping deliver coordinated care, and overseeing treatment plans.

The benefit of the community pharmacist begins with the frequency with which they interact with patients. Whereas patients may visit their primary care physician about 4 times each year, and accumulate another 9 visits annually with specialty providers, pharmacists see each patient in the vicinity of 35 times over the course of a year.1 With this consistency of face-to-face interaction, patients and pharmacists are able to develop meaningful relationships. Pharmacists are aware of not just the medications an individual patient takes, but the medications their immediate family members rely on, the ups and downs of their health journey, and generally how a person seems to be managing in a week-to-week or month-to-month way.

This relationship ideally positions the pharmacist, who is trained to a doctoral level, to support the patient with medication counseling, health coaching, and disease education. Pharmacies are, more and more, proactively incorporating these services into their practices, frequently at the urging of their patients who demand more dependable access. In addition to chronic disease management and long-term care, pharmacies are embracing distribution of specialty and biologic drugs, infusion therapy, functional medicine, wellness services, and holistic care.

This enhanced scope of care involves regular consultation with certified diabetes educators, health coaches, dieticians and nutritionists, physical therapists, and more, along with primary care and specialty physicians. Community pharmacists additionally work with regional and local health systems, employers, and payers to coordinate the most streamlined and cost-effective service. In short, the pharmacy of today looks very different from the traditionalized image of the pharmacist as dispenser and little else. Moreover, this heightened practice is becoming far from uncommon.

Despite protests over recent years that healthcare has become vastly too fragmented and unreachable, little has been accomplished to alleviate those pressures in a consequential way. Even with the adoption of electronic health records, interest in telemedicine, and push for novel care delivery mechanisms, patients often remain the last to be included in conversations about their own wellbeing. Putting healthcare directly in the community is demonstrated to contribute to better utilization of needed services. In collaboration with the tens of thousands of community pharmacists across the United States, HIMN intends to do just that.

Is your preferred community pharmacist a member of the Health in Motion Network program? Currently, new partners are actively being identified and welcome to join. For more information, please contact us today.