According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the U.S. is staring down the barrel of a primary care physician (PCP) shortage to the tune of 21,000 to 55,000 primary care providers (PCPs) by 2023. This is worrisome on its own, but when paired with the current and future impact of Covid-19, it paints a potentially bleak picture of what primary care delivery might look like over the next few years.
On the flip side, for community pharmacies, it’s been a call to action to revisit the role that pharmacists can play in improving care management and consumer health engagement, especially for those with chronic conditions, in a Covid-19 world.
“An anticipated shortage of physicians, increasingly complex therapies, and people living longer with chronic conditions, could create more opportunities for pharmacists to engage in care delivery,” wrote George Van Antwerp and Greg Myers of Deloitte Consulting LLP in a recent Health Forward Blog post on the future of pharmacy. “As the dispensing of medications becomes more automated—and as artificial intelligence takes on more administrative processes like prior authorization and formulary management—retail pharmacists could have time to engage more directly with patients and clinicians,” they wrote.