In a health care system rightfully being criticized for its fragmentation, high costs, and sometimes suboptimal outcomes, the relative value concept is increasingly important. The relative value theorem suggests that individuals sum up the price and expectations derived from consuming a good or service and multiply that with the perceived value of that good or service (how well it meets their needs, what does its use allow them to project) and come up with the relative value of that good or service in comparison with other available options. Pharmacists must demonstrate the relative value of their services to a variety of stakeholders, including patients, payers, and other providers, to facilitate recognition of pharmacy as a key player in health care and to receive reimbursement for these services. Individuals must also demonstrate to peers and supervisors their individual value to climb the organizational ladder and create opportunities for themselves, professionally.
Carmichael examined where pharmacists add value in the system, using some commonly applied metrics.1 Such metrics are becoming increasingly available and part of a national dialogue, including but not limited to those offered by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA), the National Quality Forum (NQF), and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Carmichael finds that pharmacists can contribute greatly in the deprescribing movement (reducing polypharmacy); public health initiatives such as vaccinations and promoting health lifestyles for patients; and reducing adverse drug events, which costs society billions of dollars and tremendous decrements in patients’ quality of life. Individual pharmacists create value by staying abreast of evolutions in the health care system and trends in practice, thus being proactive with finding solutions for patients, sometimes even before those problems occur.
Additional information on Creating and Managing Value can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 4e. If you or your institution subscribes to AccessPharmacy, use or create your MyAccess Profile to sign-in to Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 4e. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.
1Carmichael J. Healthcare metrics: Where do pharmacists add value. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2016;73:1537-1547.