Pharmacists working across the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System will use Pharmacy Week, October 20-26, 2013, to underscore the many new and vital roles they now play in patient care. The evolution has been especially dramatic in recent years as pharmacists have moved beyond compounding and dispensing medications to become vital members of multidisciplinary patient-care teams.
Many consumers are not aware that pharmacists play a critical role in preventing medication errors, advising prescribers on the best drug choices, and working directly with patients to ensure they understand how to use their medications safely and effectively.
Pharmacy Week is a great way to educate the public about how pharmacists can help them get the most benefit from their medicine. Hospital and health system pharmacists have been able to take on enhanced patient care roles because of a number of factors, including the deployment of highly trained, certified technicians and new technologies like robotics that dispense medications. As technology evolves, such as the addition of machine-readable codes to medication labels, patients will have greater opportunities to have a pharmacist involved in their care.
Pharmacists are experts on the thousands of medications available today, how each one works in the body, and the ways to use each one safely and effectively.
Pharmacists who graduate from colleges and universities today receive six years of education focused on medication therapy, and many pharmacists practicing in hospitals and health systems also complete post-graduate residency programs. They advise doctors and nurses on the best medications and monitor every patient’s medication therapy and provide quality checks to detect and prevent harmful drug interactions, reactions, or mistakes.
Pharmacy services within the Bay Pines VAHCS and at VA health care facilities across the country continue to evolve and improve to meet the demands of the diverse Veteran population. Along with administering safe and effective medication to Veterans, pharmacists also provide consultation and support services at every level of care. Moreover, it is easier now, more than ever before, for Veterans to renew and refill prescriptions. Refill requests can be made using mail, telephone, internet (My HealtheVet - www.myhealth.va.gov) or in person by placing refill requests forms in a designated drop box.
As we celebrate Pharmacy Week, please join the Bay Pines VAHCS as we thank our pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and other professionals for the work they do every day for the men and women we serve.
To learn more about Bay Pines VAHCS Pharmacy Services, please visit www.baypines.va.gov/services/Pharmacy.asp