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The Physician Time Crunch

The data is disturbing.  Despite advancements in technology, physicians spend less time with patients than ever before.  According to a study published in The Journal of General Internal Medicine in 2013, doctors now spend an average of eight minutes with each of their patients daily, equating to about 12% of their time on the job. Instead of direct patient engagement, physicians are consumed with things like electronic medical record-keeping, prior authorizations and more.

Given the current climate of healthcare in the United States, along with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the duration of time physicians are able to spend with each patient is unlikely to improve anytime soon.

Stepping into the breach

There is one group of health care providers available to step into the breach. Clinical pharmacists are among the most accessible healthcare professionals available to the patient.  While physicians are under immense time pressure, clinical pharmacists are able to spend considerably more time with patients.  Their work includes focusing on the importance of medication adherence for patients through communication of what medications they are taking, why they are taking these medications and how to take them.  This work ensures delivery of the best health outcomes and highest value for the patient, the provider and the payor.

Vickie Andros, Director of Clinical Services at Curant Health, a national leader in enhanced medication management services for patients suffering from chronic diseases, says that the clinical pharmacists at her company average 21 minutes per patient interaction, almost triple the average time spent by doctors.

“Our clinical pharmacists have completed more than 600 enhanced medication therapy management calls over the last 18 months, including our primary assessments with the patients and the critical monthly follow-ups,” Vickie says. “Between these two types of calls, our clinical pharmacists average 21 minutes per interaction in these highly consultative calls with the patient.”

The changing role of the pharmacist, especially at Curant Health, fills a critical gap in the care continuum and enables physicians to spend more time doing what they do best.

While often overlooked, clinical pharmacists are truly healthcare providers and are critical members of a patient’s care team, especially for people suffering from chronic conditions requiring adherence to multiple medications in order to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Said David Carver, Director of Pharmacy at Curant, “By making yourself accessible you find additional intervention opportunities to deliver clinical pearls to the patient like foods that mitigate side effects of medication, acceptable adjustments to scheduling to help alleviate insomnia, and especially how to achieve the full effect of the drug without irritation.”

Clinical pharmacists have extensive education in the biomedical, pharmaceutical, and socio-behavioral and clinical sciences. They are experts in the therapeutic use of medications and routinely provide medication therapy evaluations and recommendations to patients and other healthcare professionals.

Want to know more about the benefits of partnering with Curant’s team of clinical pharmacists to achieve improved health outcomes?  Call 866-437-8040, x253 or email us at klindsey@curanthealth.com today.