Healthcare system is a combination of pharmaceutical industries; healthcare professionals which include doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lab technicians, nutritionists etc; sanitisation providers; infrastructure and patients, which is most important.
Everybody wants to be on the top. And definitely we want to see India as a healthcare leader. In fact, there are many talks you may have heard or read many articles on. Now when we are talking about winning a race, first we need to understand that, are we racing?
Before starting a race for top spot, we have to deal with many issues that we are facing right now. There are few notable issues like lack of infrastructure, shortage of manpower, unmanageable patient load, public health policies, high expenditure etc. Out of these issues, shortage of manpower and unmanageable patient load can be dealt with the help of pharmacists.
Pharmacists have always been victims of ignorance in the Indian Healthcare system. Pharmacists are very active in the pharmaceutical industry where they are responsible for development, regulation to sales of medicines. If we exclude the role of pharmacists in industries, it is very limited in the Indian healthcare system. The potential of a pharmacist is not being measured, so long. The role of pharmacist is limited to medicine dispenser at hospital premises or pharmacies and also includes as recorder of medicines, which are also an important part of pharmacist’s duties.
But other than these,
Pharmacists are specialists in the science and clinical use of medications. As health care providers, they serve important roles for helping assure that the use of medicines results in the highest likelihood of achieving desired health and economic outcomes. Pharmacists serve as an integral role of a patient’s health care team by providing services such as the coordination of medications, disease prevention and management and patient education.
If it would allowed, Pharmacists can also facilitate the work of physicians in India which ultimately results in better outcomes of services. There are few works like,
Medication history interview
Medication history interview is done to obtain information and aspects of drug use that may assist in overall care of the patient. The pharmacist interviews the patient about demography (name, age, sex), occupation, previous disease, medication history, allergies, Social history (smoker, alcoholic, tobacco), surgery, diet and present history and documents it appropriately.
In clinical review pharmacists evaluate the nature of response to drug therapy. In general clinical review includes patient sign, symptom and result of investigations. If pharmacists find any problem in treatment, they will discuss it with the doctors. Based on these things the pharmacist determines the priorities of treatment and reviews the outcomes of the treatment.
Management of Drug Interactions
Pharmacist regularly monitors for potential drug interactions while reviewing patient drug therapy, particularly in the patients with multiple drug therapy, multiple disease state, especially pediatrics and geriatrics patients. If any drug interaction is suspected, this has to be discussed with doctors. So the pharmacist has to search about drug interaction in the Micromedex, drug interactions textbook and other sources. Once the interaction is identified the pharmacist gives the information about the severity of drug interaction and its clinical management to doctors and documents it appropriately. So that recurrence of the same interactions in future can be prevented.
In developed countries, Pharmacists are also responsible for Immunization, Laboratory tests prescription and performance, Birth control prescriptions, Tobacco cessation drug therapy etc. along with patient counseling and drug dispensing. (Find more https://www.pharmatutor.org/pharmapedia/community-pharmacists-healthcare-collaborators-in-usa-and-india)
In many rural parts of India, quacks are working who are playing with people’s lives. Pharmacists can play perspective changing roles in such areas if provided with proper training and courses. And it will also improve medical touring in the country, if we shall provide medical care with systematic guidelines.
- Rajesh Vagh
- 5 reasons why India’s healthcare system is struggling , The Hindu, Businessline
- Uday Venkat et al, Activities of Pharm D Students in Indian Hospital, The Pharma Review, March - April 2011