Greater use of pharmacists to treat minor illnesses could potentially save millions of dollars in health care costs, according to new research. The findings also indicate a way to improve healthcare access by expanding availability of pharmacists’ clinical services including prescribing medications, amid an ongoing shortage of primary care providers. The study found that care for a range of minor health issues — including urinary tract infections, shingles, animal bites and headaches — costs an average of about $278 less when treated in pharmacies compared to patients with similar conditions treated at ‘traditional sites’ of primary care, urgent care or emergency room settings. Follow-ups with pharmacy patients showed that almost all their illnesses had resolved after the initial visit with a pharmacist. Notably, if all of the illnesses in the three-year study that were treated at a traditional site of care had been treated by community pharmacists, it would have saved an estimated $23 million in health care expenses.