by Dr. Justin Cole
“There is a way to do it better – find it.” – Thomas Edison
It’s undeniable that the profession of pharmacy, like any other profession, can benefit from change fostered by a few who have the vision and grit to make things better. Innovation is a word that comes at us from every direction in today’s world. For some, it’s a word that embodies uncertainty and anxiety. For others, it fosters a sense of adventure and a feeling of excitement. Pharmacists have traditionally fit into the former category, preferring consistency over change. We must remember that at the end of this process of innovation, patients are the ultimate benefactors and the reason why we strive for excellence.
Thinking Differently About the Pharmacist’s Role
The profession of pharmacy is in the midst of a lot of disruptive change. Consolidation of pharmacy benefits managers with major drug store chains, new distributive models like Amazon’s PillPack, and changing payment models have driven pharmacists to think differently about what they bring to the healthcare team. It would be easy to believe that the profession of pharmacy is not what it once was and that the golden days of the profession are long gone. It would be easy to allow external pressures to push pharmacists to fit a particular product-focused mold in society. Driving change is hard. And yet, sometimes the hardest things are the ones really worth doing. The reality around us is that these forces are driving pharmacy innovation in ways we would have never imagined just a decade before.
Progress is happening not only due to major disruptive innovations that have stirred up the pharmacy market but also due to the efforts of pharmacists finding simple solutions to complex problems that have plagued our healthcare system. These few are looking for ways in which things can simply be done better. Entrepreneurship among pharmacists is at an all-time high. Pharmacists work not only in hospitals and corner pharmacies, but can now be found starting pharmacist-led health coaching outfits, developing concierge pharmacy companies, providing consultative services, and creating specialized modes of care to meet the unique needs of particular patient groups. Some states allow pharmacists to provide direct patient care and disease state management as providers. Technology innovation continues at light speed, and pharmacists are on the front lines of bringing these solutions to patients. This is only the beginning.
Benefiting Patients, Advancing Pharmacists’ Role
Disrupt: A blog of the Cedarville University Center for Pharmacy Innovation is designed to highlight how the profession is not only changing but growing in ways that will ultimately benefit the well-being of patients and advance the role of the pharmacist as a member of the health care team. As we continue to expand our coverage of innovation and entrepreneurship in pharmacy, expect multiple blog posts each month exploring how pharmacists are driving change and making a difference. We will also launch a monthly podcast in the fall of 2020, allowing a deeper dive into cutting edge technologies and novel approaches to pharmacy care. From nanotechnology to population health, gene therapy to medical care during a pandemic, the Center for Pharmacy Innovation team will explore how the profession is changing and innovating. We will also highlight ways in which the Center is directly contributing to positive change in the profession.
There are better ways to do things. Let’s find them.
Dr. Justin Cole is the director of the Center for Pharmacy Innovation. He also serves as Associate Professor and Chair of Pharmacy Practice in the Cedarville University School of Pharmacy. Dr. Cole’s interests include pediatrics, behavioral health, and pharmacy practice advancement.
The Cedarville University School of Pharmacy is equipping its Doctor of Pharmacy students to be on the leading edge of healthcare innovation. Cedarville’s Pharm.D. students are fully prepared to begin a rewarding career as a pharmacist and to use their calling to make a difference for Christ as they serve with excellence and compassion.
Posted in: Innovation