Pharmacists Helping Deliver Better Health Care, On Demand!

Nov 3, 2015

By Barret Procyshyn

Some people are still surprised you can get your flu shot at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy. It is not a nurse providing the injection, it is your pharmacist. At the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy we have six pharmacists available to provide injections, which include the influenza vaccine and other publicly funded vaccinations. Pharmacists are seeing changes to our profession, which will see us take on a variety of different roles as health care providers. The days of a pharmacist counting pills and putting them in a bottle are ending. In a time where we see delays and difficulties for Manitobans accessing care, pharmacists can really make a more significant contribution to our health care system.

Pharmacists still are and will always be your medication experts. We spend a lot of time answering medication questions from both patients and other health care workers. We are there for you with one goal in mind, so you and your family can take your medications properly, safely and with confidence they will help you. A pharmacist is trained to explain how the medication will work, when you need to take it and how you should take the medication. We will also discuss possible side effects with you and will ensure there are no interactions between a new medication and one you are already on. Doctors, nurses, dentists and even veterinarians call us throughout the day seeking medication advice. Slowly pharmacists are doing more than providing medication information.

While I do not want to sound too political, there are a few important points worth mentioning. Our new federal government talks about buying medications in bulk to save Canadians money. While this is important, we cannot expect good health outcomes by just providing deals on commonly used medications. You need proper health care support to go along with the medication to make it feasible for tax payers; and to make it effective to improve the health of Canadians. Provincially, Manitoba is now in last place for providing their residents with covered pharmacy services. Aside from influenza vaccination, Manitobans must pay for all pharmacy services out of pocket. In a way it is creating a two tiered health care system, which nobody wants to see.

This is in part pharmacists fault because we have not shown the public our capabilities. In pretty much every other province, aside from providing injections, your pharmacist can perform basic prescribing for minor ailments and illnesses. Pharmacists can order basic lab tests when necessary so you know if your medication is working. Pharmacists in other provinces can also do cardiac health counselling and medication reviews for people who are on multiple medications. Pharmacists can really put their clinical skills to use by adjusting prescriptions when necessary or teach their patients how to properly use their asthma devices or diabetic medical supplies most effectively.

Your Dauphin Clinic Pharmacist has been providing medication reviews for a long time as a complimentary service. If you are someone who is on three or more medications and suffer from a chronic disease, it is likely beneficial for you to have a medication review. During a medication review a pharmacist examines the patients medication list which includes prescriptions, over the counter medications and herbal medications. A medication review often uncovers medications you do not need. A pharmacist can also identify possible medication interactions with other medications or even certain foods. Pharmacists can recommend similar medications with fewer side effects or change the time you take your medications so it does not interfere with staying awake or falling asleep. Most importantly we will explain why you need to take the medications you are taking. No one should ever take a pill and not know the reasoning for it. It may be a biased statement, but all Manitobans should be able to receive this service if it is needed. Aside from Manitoba, most other provinces in Canada allow one medication review per year as a part of their health care programs. They even send pharmacists into peoples home if they are unable to go to the pharmacy

Whether it is providing injections, ordering lab tests or even having the ability to be able to prescribe medications for minor ailments pharmacists can contribute more to the health care system. We can eventually shorten wait times in walk ins, help provide basic services in remote and rural communities where no physician is available and decrease the amount of unnecessary visits to our hospital emergency rooms. A future waits; where pharmacists can provide better access to care, perhaps what we can call healthcare on demand. If you want to learn more about health care on demand visit

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