How pharmacists can use enhanced drug decision support to improve health, reduce costs

As the role of pharmacists in community health continues to grow, it becomes even more important for pharmacists to be armed with modern technology when providing drug analysis.

The role that pharmacies play in their communities has grown steadily in recent years, a trend that has accelerated the COVID-19 pandemic. Importantly, this growth helps to encourage some countries to expand the role of pharmacists in applying their clinical experience by fostering active dialogue within the health community.1

Several states have passed legislation that significantly expands the practice of pharmacists from the services they provide to reimbursement. The main reality is that pharmacists are experts in drug therapy and this experience prepares them to provide unique support and value to patients. Pharmacists are suitable for greater involvement in patient care.

Technology also plays an important role today, as drug support tools need to advance to go beyond traditional one-to-one drug analysis and include simultaneous multi-drug analysis. Multi-drug analysis is rooted in pharmaceutical science, including pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, which can complement pharmacists’ expertise and help them identify potential interactions with multiple drugs, with a better understanding of useful insights to avoid these interactions.

A study published in American Journal of Managed Care sheds light on the value of using advanced tools to support medication.2 In this article, pharmacists provided retrospective drug safety reviews for a group of participants using these tools. The group that participated in the drug safety reviews performed better than the group that did not receive the drug safety reviews, including reduced adverse drug events, emergency room visits, hospital admissions and medical expenses. As an example, the group that did not participate in the examinations suffered a more significant (16.0% vs. 8.5%) annual increase in the average total medical expenses per member (Medicare costs, Part A and Part B).

Medical costs are also highlighted in our peer-reviewed paper published in Healthcarewhich focuses on structured drug risk reduction services and the Comprehensive Elderly Care Program (PACE).3 Prospective drug safety reviews and pharmacogenomic assessments provided by pharmacists discussed in the study are available to PACE organizations that use providers to offer state-of-the-art structured drug risk reduction services.

The study measured medical costs (costs for hospitals and doctors) and found that those participants who received both a structured future drug review and comprehensive PACE pharmacy services spent $ 5,000 less on medical costs that could be avoided than the control group of patients.

As the role and recognition of pharmacists continues to grow, it becomes even more important for pharmacists to be armed with modern technology that provides simultaneous analysis of multiple drugs. This provides better, more effective patient care and maximizes the opportunities offered by expanded practice and pay. Using these tools to provide drug safety reviews provides pharmacists with the vital drug information they need to apply their knowledge and experience, improve the health of more patients, and reduce medical costs, thus improving the pharmaceutical profession.

About the author

Mindy Smith, BSPharm, RPh, MHA, CMWAis Senior Vice President, Government and Professional Affairs at Tabula Rasa HealthCare.


  1. Andrews M. Despite the fears of doctors, pharmacists are given more leeway to offer treatment with testing. Kaiser Health News. Published March 31, 2022. Accessed April 26, 2022
  2. Stein A, Finnel S, Bankes D and others. Health results from an innovative model for managing improved drug therapy. Am J Manag Care. 2021; 27 (ext. 16): S300-S308. doi: 10.37765 / ajmc.2021.88755
  3. Jin H, Yang S, Bankes D, Finnel S, Turgeon J, Stein A. Impact assessment of drug risk reduction services in medically complex elderly people. Healthcare. 2022; 10 (3): 551. doi: 10.3390 / healthcare10030551

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