In August, I will be attending the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) conference in Denver.
For the last two decades, I have been professionally involved with pharmacy chains through my work educating people with diabetes. And because the NACDS helps to promote “Pharmacies. The face of neighborhood healthcare,” they are an important partner in that endeavor.
I recently spoke with Jim Whitman, Senior Vice President at NACDS, about some of the things his organization is doing to improve the health of all Americans, including people with diabetes and prediabetes–which is now half of the population of the United States. He gave me a preview of what to expect at this year’s conference.
In Denver, NACDS is partnering with leading retail merchandising and technology innovators on a program called Vision 2026, which will give a glimpse of what pharmacies might look like 10 years from now. As a long time student of pharmacies, this is of particular interest to me.
One focus of Vision 2026 is The Changing Diagnostic Landscape, or the role of the retail store in primary care, rehabilitation, diagnosis and treatment. As we know, retail health clinics are becoming an important part of our health care lives, and it will be interesting to see how they evolve. We already have blood pressure meters in most stores, and other diagnostic machines in many others. What will be next?
Also featured in The Changing Healthy Living Landscape is the role of the retail store as a wellness advisor for shoppers looking to stay healthy or get healthier. There will be demonstrations of wearable and other portable communication devices that will explore the impact these devices will have on health management in the future.
The expense associated with health and wellness care can be a deterrent for many people, but a pharmacist can help keep health care costs down. In this way the pharmacist becomes such an important part of the care team for people with diabetes and other long term conditions.
Pharmacies now also play a major role in wellness care as key providers of immunizations. More people are now getting flu shots, which is a huge positive impact on health care. Nearly every American lives within 5 miles of a pharmacy, making them the closest health care provider for a huge portion of the population.
In our health magazines, we have always portrayed pharmacists as the stars on the front lines of health care. They are the most accessible health care provider for so many people, and we need to support them, and pharmacies, to help them continue in their great efforts to improve the health of our country.