Empowering Community Health and Revenue Growth: The Test and Treat Advantage for Pharmacies

Pharmacists have been essential to maintaining healthy communities for centuries. From the opening of the first American pharmacy in 1729 – to a pharmacist synthesizing salicylic acid so that aspirin could be available for commercial sale in 1892 – to the establishment of the Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery training program in 1996, pharmacists have consistently played a significant part in improving community health.  

Newly proposed legislation could extend pharmacists’ important role in the healthcare ecosystem. The Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Act, S.1491, was recently introduced to the United States Senate and could codify pharmacists’ ability to provide services like testing and treating certain illnesses, maintaining drug regimens, and more.  

As the push for expanded care at the pharmacy level grows, it is becoming increasingly important that your pharmacy is prepared to test and treat your community. 

The Importance of Test and Treat 

Test and treat provides many benefits. It increases access to care for many patients and allows pharmacies to deliver high-value clinical services that can improve health outcomes and increase revenue. Roughly 90% of the US population lives within five miles of a pharmacy. That means pharmacies are the most accessible healthcare facility type in America.  

Although pharmacists are most known for their ability to dispense medication, they also provide essential patient education and administer 85% of recommended vaccinations. Plus, pharmacies with test-and-treat programs provide an invaluable asset in the fight against the COVID-19  and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemics by expanding physical points of care.  

The convenience of neighborhood pharmacies helps move the needle toward greater healthcare access. Knowing how to set up a test-and-treat program in your pharmacy is necessary to expand your services and make a greater contribution to the health of your community.  

Getting Started with Test and Treat 

Determining to improve community health outcomes by establishing test and treat procedures at your pharmacy requires commitment and know-how. Here are three key steps every pharmacist should take when founding their test and treat programs: 

1. Shore Up Contracting 

Contracting is a crucial first step and is required for both testing and treating.  

  • This step can be cumbersome, but your reimbursements could be adversely impacted if your contracts with payors are incorrectly set up. 
  • Contracting requires a partner you can rely on to manage practitioner renewals for government and private healthcare payments, provide reporting and analytics, and offer an advanced revenue cycle management solution. 

2. Determine Scheduling Data 

This step refers explicitly to pre-encounter data collected from patients that can help expedite the encounter and reimbursement. 

Be intentional about the kind of data you decide to download from your scheduler and consider how you plan to pull it into your workflow. Examples of data to ask for in your scheduler include: 

  • Patient information, such as name, DOB, address, and contact information
  • Insurance information 
  • Current medications  
  • Medical (e.g., chronic conditions) and vaccine history 

3. Setup Dedicated Space 

Evaluate your floor space to determine how to operationalize your store or clinic. 

Keep these points in mind when designating a space for test and treat:  

  • Do you have isolated areas to receive patients? 
  • From a privacy perspective, is your store physically prepared to separate patients enough for a complete clinical visit? 
  • Can you utilize a drive-thru or offer curbside options? 

These steps are just the tip of the iceberg. Organizing an efficient test and treat program also involves driving patient engagement, using clinical documentation to ensure you receive full reimbursement, and more.  

A Playbook for Test and Treat 

OmniSYS is committed to creating tools that support pharmacists and the communities they serve. Learn more about developing and implementing a test-and-treat program at your pharmacy by exploring our latest resource, A Playbook for Test and Treat 

DOWNLOAD THE PLAYBOOK >

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