Cessation: It fits our skillset so let’s do it.

I am currently overly obsessed with a pharmacist led smoking cessation model.  I hear from colleagues that we don’t need a specific guideline or program to help us treat our patients.  I disagree with this approach.

The current practice is typical pharmacists believe we deliver great healthcare and are usually not reimbursed for these services.  Well I say why would someone “pay us money” if we cannot show what works.  We cannot simply expect to sit on our stools (yes reference to a previous post) and be compensated for helping our patients stop smoking.

I say lets collaborate to develop a smoking cessation program utilizing current materials and resources.  Collaborate.  A certain big box chain out there has countered the market on smoking cessation. Honestly its great that they are concentrating on patient health.  Most of the services they are offering are already coming from the CDC.  Lots of information is out there for pharmacists to use to guide patients through cessation process.

Lets take it one step further.  I would like to see a set timeline of clinical community pharmacist intervention points.

• Step one: initial contact

• Step two: prescriber communication to start therapy

• Step three: follow up on side effects

• Step four: adherence counseling

• Step five: continuing lifestyle modification

Why shouldn’t we have a set point of dates to follow up? Lets say a contact 72 hours after the patient leaves your pharmacy you check and see if they are suffering from side effects from an oral medication or patches or even cold turkey?

In order to prove our value to our patients and payers we need a way to track data.  I know what you are thinking…when do I have time?  There are applications out there we can access now!  Creative Pharmacist a dual platform to gather patient check-ins.  Both pharmacist (or pharmacy staff member) and patient can log in to SPARK and track progress throughout the tough weeks of cessation.

This post is more of a working process.  I know there are some who say we should not develop a strict protocol.  I agree that a pharmacist is the most creative healthcare provider when it comes to improvising or pivoting quick due to patients specific scenario.  However I think developing a set of standards is the only way we as clinical community pharmacists can take on the pharmacist led smoking cessation future.


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