Pharmacist Workforce Detailed in Two New UW CHWS Reports

UW CHWS has published two complementary studies on the size and scope of the pharmacist workforce with funding by the Health Resources and Services Administration. Led by Research Scientist Sam Pollack, MHS, the research team conducted an in depth study found that there is not one single, agreed upon categorization that captures the full range of pharmacists’ roles and functions. The most frequently mentioned roles for pharmacists identified from the literature and stakeholder interviews included medication dispensing, medication therapy management, chronic disease management, transition of care, and patient education, health promotion, and disease prevention. Pharmacist scope-of-practice laws and regulations vary by state with most states allowing prescriptive authority. In a complementary brief, our research team led by Research Scientist Natalia Oster, PhD, describes state variation in the supply of pharmacists as well as how pharmacists are responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Examples of state approaches to increase the supply of pharmacists include re-activating licenses for pharmacists who recently left practice, expediting student transition into practice, and emergency authorization of out-of-state reciprocity license. In the future, pharmacists may be well-suited to play a key role in COVID-19 vaccine administration. Improving awareness of the potential roles of pharmacists would help to more effectively incorporate them into the health care team. As the pharmacist workforce expands its role in health care delivery, simultaneous changes in policies and financing are important to optimize the use of pharmacists. Read the full report here Read the full brief here