A Broader View of Healthy People 2020

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Last week’s Tip examined a specific component of Healthy People 2020. This week, we take a broader view of proposed pharmacists’ roles in Healthy People 2020.

Woodard et al assessed perceptions of pharmacy educators on the priorities and roles of pharmacists in meeting the Healthy People 2020 objectives. A comprehensive literature review identified documented roles and responsibilities of pharmacists in addressing the 42 topic areas in Healthy People 2020. From this, they developed a 14-item survey to identify priorities of categories to improve the health of the nation and importance of the pharmacist’s role to achieve the objectives. Survey respondents identified the following Healthy People 2020 categories as most important in improving the health of the nation: chronic diseases, health care services, lifestyle, prevention/well-being, and environmental factors. They identified the following Healthy People 2020 categories as possessing the most important roles for pharmacists in working to improve the health of the nation: chronic diseases, health care services, lifestyle, prevention/well-being, and infectious disease. The authors concluded that there exists great congruence between top categories of importance and those that the pharmacist can impact to improve the health of the nation. The results of the study can help guide efforts to educate and activate pharmacists as interprofessional team members improving health locally and globally.

It should be emphasized that while pharmacists ‘don the white coat’, there are myriad opportunities to engage the public and promote wellness. However, the opportunities for pharmacists outside of traditional ‘brick-and-mortar’ locales have increased, such as through the Affordable Care Act and other means. This is especially so when we bear in mind the definition of health by the World Health Organization (WHO), which is “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Pharmacy managers will increasingly turn toward the public health arena around which to design, implement, sustain, and be reimbursed for value-added services. Healthy People 2020 is an important framework for doing so.

Additional information about Value-Added Services as a Component of Enhancing Pharmacist’ Roles in Public Health in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. 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, 5e. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.

1Woodard LJ, Kahaleh AA, Nash JD, et al. Healthy People 2020: assessment of pharmacists’ responsibilities. Publ Health. 2018;155:69-80.

Shane Desselle

Professor of Social and Behavioral Pharmacy, Touro University California

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