By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – Anyone who has been to an emergency room knows the wait times can be painfully long, especially during cold and flu season. But a new study finds that instead of seeking the care of a ER doctor or nurse, patients could turn to another type of healthcare professional to avoid the ER crush — a pharmacist.

In the U.S., pharmacists are known for their medication expertise, but in some parts of Canada, the types of services pharmacists can provide has been expanded. For example, in some cases they can prescribe medications, renew prescriptions and give injections.

And in a new study, researchers found that almost a third of non-urgent emergency room ailments could be managed by one of these pharmacists, like minor skin conditions, coughs and other cold symptoms.

They say strategically placing pharmacists with an expanded scope of practice in emergency rooms or in the community could significantly reduce ER wait times and limit overcrowding.

Dr. Mallika Marshall


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