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The evolution of patient care in retail pharmacy: expanded and convenient access to flu and strep testing

Our world in healthcare is changing and the standard of pharmacy care is evolving. What used to be considered a practice of interpreting, dispensing and counseling on medication, is now becoming a practice of direct patient-care services. This has a significant implication for retail pharmacy – as consumers expand their clinical care beyond the physician office, they will rely on quality and convenient care close to home.

“Pharmacies offering more patient care services helps further establish the pharmacist as a healthcare provider in the minds of patients and consumers,” noted Brad Tice, RPh, PharmD, director of product strategy for adherence and wellness measures at Cardinal Health. “This will help elevate the role of the pharmacist and provide more business opportunities.”

Patients have also become more consumer-minded and are seeking the same easy access for their medical care as they expect in other industries. Retail pharmacies are now challenged with offering fast and convenient patient-care services, which encourages pharmacists to expand their clinical knowledge and expertise. One particular area of growth: flu and strep testing in retail pharmacy.

The Clinical Laboratory Improvements Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) revised federal and state regulations concerning certification and oversight of clinical laboratory testing. One important change allowed pharmacies to apply for a CLIA waiver, which gives the ability to perform routine tests on-site, such as flu and strep testing. Additional abilities afforded by collaborative practice agreements allow some pharmacists to follow up on results with prescribed treatments.

“New regulations are allowing pharmacists to expand what they can do to help people get better, faster,” said Brad Tice, RPh, PharmD. “We must adapt with the needs of the healthcare community and continue to expand our profession.”

Complete this form if you would like to be informed when enrollment is officially open for the Point-of-Care Testing Program.
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Cardinal Health is launching a program that will help retail independent pharmacies establish and manage a successful flu and strep program for their patients. The Point-of-Care Testing program will provide everything from protocols and continuing education to the automated reader device, flu and strep tests, and marketing materials to help them promote their new services to the community. The program will be accepting customer enrollments for the first time at their annual Retail Business Conference from July 26 to 28 in San Antonio, Texas.

“Cardinal Health brings solutions to market that are difficult for individual pharmacies to develop on their own. We want to support our customers’ business and help them keep up-to-date with emerging patient-care trends in retail pharmacy,” said Brad Tice, RPh, PharmD.

As healthcare evolves and patient demands change, the role of the pharmacist is changing and expanding. The CLIA waiver and the emerging trend of flu and strep testing in retail pharmacy offers a unique opportunity for pharmacies to expand their business and position themselves and health destinations in their communities.