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Keywords

health services accessibility, community pharmacy services, pharmacist, public health, needs assessment

Abstract

Objective: To use selected literature to describe strengths and opportunities for improvement related to accessibility of health services in the community pharmacy setting.

Summary: Pharmacists have been described as one of the most accessible health care professionals, particularly as nearly 90% of Americans live within 5 miles of a community pharmacy. However, geography alone does not provide access to health services. Individuals must be able to gain entry into the health care system, access a health care location where needed services are provided, and find a health care provider with whom the patient can communicate and trust. Current and potential opportunities for community pharmacists to increase access via each step are described.

Conclusion: Community pharmacists are highly accessible health care professionals who are trusted by patients. Opportunities exist to further increase access to dispensing and non-dispensing services in order to better meet the needs of the public.

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