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State law allows patients to be treated for flu faster

Flu season is just around the corner, and patients can now get treated faster than ever. Pharmacists now have the ability to provide more opportunities to treat those who have the seasonal disease.

Ten minutes is all it takes for a patient to be diagnosed with the flu. Rather than having to wait in a hospital or urgent care clinic for results, testing can now happen at your local pharmacy.

“If they test positive, then we’re able to go ahead and prescribe, write that prescription, get them the treatment,” said pharmacist Dr. Lorri Gebo Shaver.

A state law introduced last year now enables pharmacists to perform “point-of-care” testing for patients exhibiting flu symptoms. The law allows pharmacists to practice at the top of their license while also benefiting patients by saving them time and money.

Dr. John Holmes, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy at Idaho State University, is also a proponent of the new standard. He says he’s preparing his students accordingly.

“We’re really changing our curriculum to teach our student pharmacists to be independent prescribers for common medications (for&infections and diseases) that are easily diagnosed,” Holmes said.

The law change is not limited to diagnosing influenza, but rather a list of other diseases and infections, as well. Idaho is among the most progressive Idaho is progressive in expanding the capabilities of pharmacists states toward higher standards of pharmaceutical practices.

Most pharmacies associated with national corporations do not have point-of-care testing. However, Shaver Pharmacy and Maag Prescription and Medical Supply do provide testing.

KIFI 2019

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