Pharmacists are the most accessible health care providers.  No appointment is necessary so you can stop in to ask advice, even if you are not picking up medication.  They are also the "Drug Experts" and can intervene to prevent medication errors if they know all of the prescription and over the counter medications that you are taking. 

There are a lot of benefits in choosing one pharmacy that fits your unique needs and preferences.  On a personal level, developing a relationship with your pharmacist is a good idea.  The better a pharmacist knows you, the more able he is to tailor treatment to help improve your health and possibly save you money.  The consistency of using the same pharmacist allows educated recommendations on not only prescription medications, but over-the-counter medications as well.

Using one pharmacy impacts society because it saves tax payers money.  Each year, over 770,000 people are injured or die in hospitals due to an adverse drug event.  The national hospital expenses associated with treating patients with an adverse drug event is estimated to be between $1.56 and $5.6 billion annually.  A pharmacist can review a patient's medication profile to optimize drug therapy outcomes.  Record of all of allergies, medical conditions and medication history can easily be accessed at one pharmacy.  Pharmacists are able to view the Electronic Health Record, EHR, to help make drug decisions and promote safety which in turn may reduce hospitalizations.

Safety is significantly improved with the use of one pharmacist by reducing medication errors and drug side effects.  Computer programs at a pharmacy include medication histories.  This can help catch prescription errors, particularly with incorrect dosage or duplicate therapy.  The program can also track when medications are picked up.  This helps the pharmacists to see if you are using your medication correctly and if you are picking it up too frequently or infrequently.  If the pharmacist knows all of the medications you are taking, the side effects and potential drug interactions for over-the-counter medications, herbals and dietary supplements are identified.  They are also aware of the medications that need to be gradually decreased in dose in order to stop taking it and can monitor that they are being decreased correctly.  (There are some drugs that if you suddenly stop taking it, you could have a serious adverse drug events.)

At Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, located in Sauk City, WI, an in-house pharmacist can help with all of the resident's pharmaceutical needs. 100% of care is provided on location, including dispensing of medicine.  It is done on a daily basis, thereby eliminating the waste associated when there is a change in medication.  Friendly pharmacists are available to review drug interactions for each resident.  And an in-house pharmacy is convenient because you don't have to leave the facility in order to fill a prescription. 

About Paul Fiscus

Paul Fiscus is the director of Maplewood of Sauk Prairie.