Flu Shots At Your Pharmacy This is Just the Beginning

Dec 18, 2014

By Barret Procyshyn, Pharmacist at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

Many of customers were pleasantly surprised this fall when they came into the pharmacy and discovered we were able to provide new injection services to anyone over the age of 7. That is right, pharmacists in Manitoba can now provide injections and the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy enjoys being able to add to our prompt, convenient and courteous service. Gone are the days of having to take time off work to get in a long lineup to wait for your flu shot. Manitobas health minister, Sharon Blady, mentioned to me her family received their flu shots from their local pharmacy in Winnipeg. She stated her appreciation of the convenience factor and was amazed at how calm her kids were receiving an injection at the pharmacy.

Most agree pharmacists are your most accessible health care professional. When is the last time you had to make an appointment to speak with us or answer a medication question? Now we are providing injections without the hassle. Just imagine if pharmacists were able to offer additional services right out of the community pharmacy. This would be especially beneficial in communities where physicians are not readily available or if there is no physician available at all. Manitoba pharmacists see over 50 000 patients a day so the impact we can have on the health care system is quite significant. These popular health services are provided by many provinces through their healthcare system; however, Manitoba is not one of them (yet).

Two common questions arise when talking about your pharmacist providing services. First, is your pharmacist trying or going to replace doctors? The answer is no. We want to work with doctors, physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals to help fix a health care system, which we can all agree needs some fixing and improvements. The second question is what can we do for our patients and customers?

The best answer to this question is to look at what the other provinces are doing. Have you ever run out of refills on a prescription, needed more medication, but could not get in to see a doctor? Pharmacists would assess the patients situation and their health and make a decision on whether the medication can be continued until a doctor can be seen. This service allows you to continue necessary medication without interruption.

Pharmacists ability to order lab tests such as bloodwork is another interesting service being provided in other provinces. Have you ever had to make a doctors appointment so the doctor can order bloodwork and then have to schedule an additional appointment months later to find out the results from that lab work? Have you ever needed regular lab work done and had to make a doctors appointment just to get a lab requisition? Your pharmacist is able to recognize the need for you or a family member to have a test ordered and get it done at your convenience. The pharmacist would even be able to interpret some readings to determine if a doctors visit is necessary. Common examples of this include cholesterol levels and thyroid levels.

Smokers; are you one of the 97% who cannot quit on their own and need some help? Have you ever had athletes foot and not known how to treat it? Have you ever had a weird rash you wanted a second opinion on? Patients across the country are going to see their pharmacist for an assessment and treatment, which can include a prescription if necessary. While Manitoba pharmacists can now take extra training to assess and treat certain medical conditions, this service has not been popular in our province. This is because pharmacists must charge the patient for this service, while in other provinces it is covered by their health care system. While the pharmacy may be convenient, if walk in or the emergency room is a free visit; I would likely choose based on cost and not convenience.

What do all of these opportunities add up to? I strongly believe pharmacists can make the healthcare process less painful for our patients. Every day I go to work I try to provide prompt, convenient courteous health services. Would you take advantage of any of these services to make healthcare easier? Let me know your thoughts either in the pharmacy or on twitter @barret_dcp.

With the holiday season upon on, I wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I also want to thank Rene & the CKDM team for getting our pharmacy feature on the air, the Parkland Shopper for getting it in the paper and to Brian of Smart Web Solutions for getting it online.


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