AmerisourceBergen’s Inaugural Pharmacy Check-Up Survey Finds that Pharmacists Want & Expect to Expand Role in Patient Care, but Burdens Must Lessen

November 1, 2018

Valley Forge, Pa. – According to research released today by AmerisourceBergen, 78 percent of pharmacists across pharmacy settings look forward to playing a greater role in patient care and the majority expect to spend more time on patient-focused activities in the next five years. While pharmacists look forward to an expanded role, certain activities and barriers need to diminish to help them bring this to reality. The research, a part of AmerisourceBergen’s first-ever Pharmacy Check-Up: Activity & Barriers to Care Analysis, surveyed more than 250 pharmacists working in chain, health system, independent and specialty settings. The study was conducted by global research company Maru/Matchbox. 

“Patients visit their pharmacy an average 35 times a year. When you compare that figure to the average four times per year for provider visits, you can see that today’s pharmacist is in a tremendous position to expand their role and become part of the patient’s overall care team,” said Bob Mauch, EVP and Group President, Pharmaceutical Distribution and Strategic Global Sourcing at AmerisourceBergen. “We know the opportunity that exists for pharmacists and it is incumbent on us as a leading supply chain partner to support innovative ideas with manufacturers, managed care providers and pharmacies that remove barriers and support the efficient achievement of best possible clinical outcomes for patients.”

This is the first time that AmerisourceBergen has deployed a third-party analysis of various pharmacy settings to identify their biggest opportunities, challenges and barriers. Key insights include:
• Across pharmacy settings, being able to play a greater role in patient care and/or healthcare is what pharmacists are most excited about as the field evolves
• Pharmacists spend a tenth of their time counseling patients; educating patients on how to take medications is the top consultation item amongmost pharmacies
• Patient-focused activities like counseling patients, medication therapy management, preventative care screenings and communicating with healthcare providers are top activities pharmacists feel they should spend more time on

Even though pharmacists are looking forward to playing a greater role in healthcare, they are experiencing barriers that could get in the way of providing good patient care as the field evolves. 
• Major barriers to care for chains were bandwidth (93%) and reimbursement (92%)
• Health systems indicated that medication availability (96%) and spending time communicating with healthcare providers (85%) were major barriers 
• Highest ranking barriers for independent and specialty pharmacies were similar:
o Reimbursement (85% independent / 88% specialty)
o Contracting with payers (85% independent / 95% specialty)
o Contracting with manufacturers (84% independent / 95% specialty)

Pharmacies have indicated that staff augmentation, building relationships with prescribers, inventory management tools, data sharing, peer-to-peer networking and artificial intelligence advancements would be helpful in mitigating barriers to care. Chains ranked staff augmentation the highest (83%). Independents (72%), specialty pharmacies (65%) and health systems (71%) ranked building relationships with prescribers the highest, further emphasizing the need to strengthen the connection pharmacists have as part of the overarching patient care team. Specialty pharmacies ranked data-sharing highly as well. 

To learn more about and review the full results and findings from AmerisourceBergen’s Pharmacy Check-Up study, please visit: www.amerisourcebergen.com/abcnew/pharmacy-checkup

Survey Methodology: A survey was conducted online from August 27th – September 7th among those in the Pharmacy Industry. 252 surveys were completed. Respondents were screened based on the following criteria: pharmacy related occupation; some involvement in decision making; tenure of 2+ years. 96% of respondents were registered pharmacists. Statistical testing was conducted across pharmacy types at a 95% confidence interval. The study was conducted by global research company Maru/Matchbox.

About Maru/Matchbox
Maru/Matchbox has been pushing the boundaries of the customer market insights space for over a decade. As a sector-focused consumer intelligence firm focused entirely on better client outcomes, their expert teams are deeply invested in key sectors of the economy, delivering insights and analysis backed by superior quality data. https://marumatchbox.com/

About AmerisourceBergen

AmerisourceBergen provides pharmaceutical products, value-driving services and business solutions that improve access to care. Tens of thousands of healthcare providers, veterinary practices and livestock producers trust us as their partner in the pharmaceutical supply chain. Global manufacturers depend on us for services that drive commercial success for their products. Through our daily work — and powered by our 21,000 associates — we are united in our responsibility to create healthier futures. AmerisourceBergen is ranked #12 on the Fortune 500, with more than $150 billion in annual revenue. The company is headquartered in Valley Forge, Pa. and has a presence in 50+ countries. Learn more at amerisourcebergen.com.