By and large, the reasons why aspiring pharmacists enter the field as students are pretty simple, improving health and wellness. In general, most have a genuine interest in helping care for the welfare of others by focusing on patient health. They have an instinctual desire to improve the human condition. More importantly, pharmacist’s see themselves as the last defense in a world that’s increasingly given over to impersonal, automated decision-making.
In other words, the increasing purvey of those hoping to cut costs through the use of artificial intelligence.
Pharmacists of every stripe have seen this movie before. In one version that continues to run unabridged in pharmacies across the country, the plot centers on the motives of big retail organizations and their often single-minded focus on production goals. The idea that the main purpose of today’s pharmacist is fulfilling metric benchmarks in terms of processing orders per hour is one that’s misguided, to say the least.
To say the most, that’s precisely the trend currently playing out in the hands of larger competitors.
We Do Not Work That Way At Benzer Pharmacy
First and foremost, our motto is written squarely on the ground rules of making patient care our highest priority. We ascribe to the tenets of the Oath of the Pharmacist, as adopted by the AACP House of Delegates in July 2007 and approved by the American Pharmacists Association (transcribed below as it appears on www.pharmacist.com/oath-pharmacist):
“I promise to devote myself to a lifetime of service to others through the profession of pharmacy. In fulfilling this vow: I will….
- consider the welfare of humanity and relief of suffering my primary concerns.
- apply my knowledge, experience, and skills to the best of my ability to assure optimal outcomes for my patients.
- respect and protect all personal and health information entrusted to me.
- accept the lifelong obligation to improve my professional knowledge and competence.
- hold myself and my colleagues to the highest principles of our profession’s moral, ethical and legal conduct.
- embrace and advocate changes that improve patient care.
- utilize my knowledge, skills, experiences, and values to prepare the next generation of pharmacists.
I take these vows voluntarily with the full realization of the responsibility with which I am entrusted by the public.”
That’s how the role of “the pharmacist” works out on paper, but naturally, in practice can be another story altogether. And yet, there is shared responsibility among every professional to strive toward making equitable changes that lead to better outcomes for patients. Losing sight of that directive can lead to detachment from the very human qualities that can make pharmacists reliable healthcare partners, rather than mechanical-like instruments of profit.
It’s What We Do That Define Who We Are
Machines make money. And there’s no doubt that they have a decided advantage in verifying technical information, such as drug-to-drug interaction data, medication compounding information, and final product accuracy. However, while computers, for instance, never lack sleep or grow tired; they, in turn, can never replace the sympathetic ear and/or the experienced counseling arm of a human pharmacist.
Call it an “underutilized asset,” but it’s absolutely essential for pharmacists to be acutely involved in building and sustaining healthy relationships at every touchpoint. Short of that objective, the standard tasks currently carried by human hands will likely be taken over by automated ones—leaving behind a pronounced gap in the quality of customer service across the board. Consequently, there’s a vital need for pharmacists to recalibrate what they do in collaboration with other members of the medical community.
At Benzer Pharmacy, we see the problem as an opportunity. In the future, we believe pharmacists will become stronger and more reliable resources for educating patients about their healthcare options. Our pharmacist’s are bridging the consultative gap between the patient, the physician, and the medication they are being prescribed. We predict that the pharmacy counter will only grow in importance as the last defense against prescribing errors and labeling mistakes—human generated or otherwise. And, we hold that even the most cost-conscious organizations will acknowledge the value pharmacists bring to the table.
That’s the one approach we can live with.
Even better, so can our patients.
For more information, visit benzerpharmacy.com.