Pharmacists optimize the healthcare experience, especially for patients with rare diseases

Specialty pharmacists give doctors and specialists the opportunity to focus less on non-medical issues and more on the patient and effectively find the most optimal therapy.

On the heels of American Pharmacists Month in October, this is a great time to continue to recognize and celebrate the role pharmacists play in our health, our communities and our lives.

Interacting regularly more frequently with patients than prescribing physicians, pharmacists help patients avoid dangerous drug interactions and adverse health effects. They also serve as trusted health advisors and help patients understand their medication regimens in a way that optimizes adherence and health outcomes.

These hard-working professionals are in a unique position to improve medication safety because they have the time and clinical expertise to make a difference in how patients manage chronic conditions for which they may take multiple medications.

In addition, pharmacists represent an affordable and accessible health care resource. For many patients, it is probably easier to see a pharmacist than a doctor.

Often, pharmacists serve as the essential first point of care for many people. This is especially true for patients with rare diseases who may take their first steps on a long, complicated and difficult journey to better health.

Pharmacists understand the challenges of the specialty

Eighty-two percent of these prescribed specialty therapies reported spending an hour on the phone coordinating care to begin therapy, and more than a third spent at least 3 hours.1 In fact, medication access and adherence issues can be so overwhelming for specialty patients that up to 27% of prescriptions and therapies are abandoned or never started.

Traditionally, hub support programs and specialist patient workflows have been designed to alleviate significant challenges. But their potential impact is too often compromised by poor patient awareness of services and minimal connectivity.

Often, providers are cut off from the patient journey after they have prescribed treatment or enrolled the patient in manufacturer-sponsored patient services. This has resulted in treatment delays of up to 8 weeks, which can lead to deteriorating health and worsening symptoms in these vulnerable patients.1

Optimizing care for patients with rare orphan diseases

Pharmacists who work in a patient-centered environment, which means placing the needs of each patient at the center of the care process, help ensure the best possible health outcomes. By putting the patient first, specialty pharmacists are better able to support patients so that they can have an optimal patient experience.

A patient management organization and pharmacies can also help physicians help their rare disease patients overcome a number of complications, especially with regards to insurance coverage, misdiagnosis, and lack of funding. streamlined information.

Specialty patients, who often feel isolated and have difficulty finding a doctor who understands their condition, need this extra layer of support to find the right medication. Many take great comfort in dealing with a pharmacist who offers disease-specific expertise.

These specialists help patients solve problems and provide much-needed ongoing support. In addition, specialty pharmacists give doctors and specialists the opportunity to focus less on non-medical issues and more on the patient and effectively find the most optimal therapy.

They provide education, resources, and are there for specialist physicians to provide additional information for improved treatment, as well as a high level of understanding and knowledge that helps them transcend clinical and communication barriers. As members of the healthcare team, they play a key role in optimizing specialist treatments and improving clinical outcomes and quality of life.

Find the right specialist pharmacist

It is important to find a patient and pharmacy management partner that offers dedicated pharmacy teams with expertise in each therapeutic area. They can provide a high level of personalized care that specialist patients and their families need to maximize the benefits of their therapy. These pharmacists provide ongoing support and peace of mind. In addition, they are readily available for viewing and ready to tackle security concerns.

Look for dedicated pharmacy teams who provide comprehensive resources to help physicians and staff meet the needs of their patients. They must also offer in-depth knowledge of the insurance environment to ensure that patients begin treatment quickly and receive the best coverage option.

These professionals can also offer payers the reassurance that they are doing the right thing for their patients. The focus on specialized disorders and personalized care programs optimizes care and maximizes therapeutic benefits.

Most importantly, patients and their loved ones benefit from a patient and pharmacy management partner who understands how to improve patients’ quality of life through appropriate services and therapies. A patient-centered model means ongoing communication and support whenever needed for long-term well-being.

about the authors

Donovan Plume, President and CEO, Optime Care.

Brandon Salke, PharmD, responsible pharmacist, Optime Care.


1. Pharmaceutical trade; Barriers to Access to Specialties: How Technology Can Help (; accessed October 15, 2021.

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