By the Numbers: How Do Consumers Engage with Pharmacists?

03.09.17

Pharmacists are an integral part of the health care team, and are consistently ranked among the most trusted and accessible health care professionals.1

The science and art of pharmacy is keeping pace with advancements in technology, and as the health care environment evolves, pharmacists are providing a more diverse set of direct patient care services.2

In fact, in 2014, pharmacists reported spending 20 percent more of their time on patient care services that were not related to medication dispensing than they did just five years earlier.3

We know that patients are more connected to their pharmacists than ever before. But how do Americans engage with their pharmacists on a day-to-day basis? How do these interactions affect health care decisions? To find out we conducted a public opinion poll in February 2017 among nearly 2,000 registered voters.

69 percent of voters visit the pharmacy at least once a month, offering many opportunities for pharmacists to counsel and advise on health care matters.

Consumers Seek and Act on Advice from Pharmacists

Despite demographic differences, pharmacist interactions remain relatively constant across all groups. With few exceptions, individuals of every age, race, ethnicity, geography, gender and income level engage with their pharmacist at near-identical rates and for near-identical reasons, many of which extend well beyond the transaction of filling a prescription.

And with frequent visits to the pharmacy — 69 percent of respondents visit at least every month — there are plenty of opportunities for those engagements.

From medication management to chronic disease care, pharmacists provide personalized support on a wide range of issues: 

  • 59 percent of respondents say they ask pharmacists questions “often” or “sometimes.”

  • Respondents were most likely to speak to their pharmacist about medication side effects (73 percent); proper use of prescription medications (72 percent); and medication interactions (70 percent).

  • One quarter of respondents have either made or changed a health care decision based on a conversation with a pharmacist.

Consumers Want Pharmacists to Engage with Other Providers

Pharmacists are in a unique position to serve as a health care “hub,” engaging with consumers about their care and relaying information to health providers. Consumers are not only comfortable with this interconnectivity, they have come to expect it:

  • 64 percent of respondents think of their pharmacist as part of their health care team.

  • 62 percent want pharmacists to share medication information with their other health care providers about whether they are filling prescriptions regularly and taking medications as prescribed.

Consumers Head to the Pharmacy for a Broader Range of Services

Even as the pharmacy remains a hub for obtaining prescriptions and medication advice, it is increasingly being used to address many other health care needs, such as preventive health. One third of respondents go to the pharmacy to receive vaccinations, preventative health screenings, or physicals. Reasons for choosing pharmacies for these services include convenience (70 percent), accessibility (42 percent) and cost (32 percent).

As the pharmacist’s role evolves, CVS Health remains committed to helping patients manage their health in more affordable and effective ways through our pharmacist-led programs and other innovative health care and delivery offerings.

For more information about our efforts to enhance pharmacy care, visit our Health Care Innovation & Delivery information center. And to stay informed about the most talked-about topics in health care, register for content alerts and our bi-weekly health care newsletter.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/200057/americans-rate-healthcare-providers-high-honesty-ethics.aspx
http://www.aacp.org/resources/research/pharmacyworkforcecenter/Documents/FinalReportOfTheNationalPharmacistWorkforceStudy2014.pdf
3 Ibid.