Kudos to Timmons and Norris for their paper on the economic support for broadening pharmacists’ clinical role, especially as it relates to laboratory testing: CLIA Waiver Pharmacy Growth: How Does Broadening Scope of Practice Affect the Pharmacist Labor Market?
Pharmacists have an important role in the healthcare field. Their functions and responsibilities range from dispensing medications to performing Medication Therapy Management sessions (MTMs). In most states, pharmacists will also collaborate with physicians and provide care for their patients, which frees up time for physicians, brings business to the pharmacy and most importantly ensures the highest quality of health care that a patient can receive. Sometimes that also includes ordering a lab test at the pharmacy when necessary.
With a reported reduction in Primary Care Physicians in the near future and with many pharmacies already ordering lab tests on site, it makes sense to expand the role of the pharmacist to include ordering pharmacogenetic tests for those patients that could benefit from it. Since pharmacists are the experts in drug-drug and drug-gene interactions (and are now being taught pharmacogenetics as part of their PharmD education), this is something that would be a natural fit for them. Burdening the physicians for an authorization of a simple cheek swab is not only inefficient, but could also lead to the patient not getting access to a pharmacogenetic test and potentially being on the wrong medication or wrong dosage. Significant time and money could be saved and better health outcomes could be achieved, by allowing pharmacists to order a pharmacogenetic test.
With all of these factors taken into consideration, there is a strong case for allowing pharmacists to order pharmacogenetic testing when the processes are in place to mitigate risks to the patient. Such mitigating factors would include a pharmacogenetic counseling session between the patient and pharmacist, alerting prescribers up-front that their patient has chosen PGx testing, and communicating genetic implications as it relates to medication therapy to all relevant prescribers.
Co-Founder MD Labs