A Fresh Perspective from a P1 Student Pharmacist
By: Jiaxin Yang, PharmD Candidate 2025 - The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy
What is your impression about community pharmacies? Are technicians busy dispensing and counting medications, and pharmacists just verifying hundreds of medications every day? Not gonna lie to you, before my community pharmacy IPPE this week, this is exactly what my impression and expectation of a community pharmacy is. However, after having my rotation at Tyson Drug Company, which is an independent pharmacy located in Holly Spring, MS, it totally overturned my thoughts of community pharmacy.
As a part of Flip the Pharmacy and CPESN, Tyson Drug has successfully implemented clinical services in a community pharmacy that is doing more than just dispensing medications. At Tyson Drug, they have a program called Sync. Under the Sync program, each patient would pick up all of their medications at the same date of that month. This program helps the pharmacist to reduce their workflow, and keep them from being disrupted while providing services, and also at the same time, help them focus more on the clinical aspect for patients. A week before the Sync patient to pick up, they will get a phone call from the technicians to review their current medication, asking questions such as “Are there any changes on your medications?”, “Have you been to a doctor’s visit and what did they tell you”, “How do you like your current medications”, etc. This proactive model provides the pharmacist the maximum interaction with patients and better improve their health goal and costs. Furthermore, this is what I think a community pharmacy should be. Patients usually have way more contact with their pharmacy than with their physicians. We are the frontline that could potentially change patients' health outcomes. Dispensing the medication and just handing it to the patient and expecting them to take as prescribed is not an option. Patients' health outcomes are best improved through direct pharmacist-patient interactions. And this is also our strength, as a local community pharmacy, to achieve these goals.
CPESN and Flip the Pharmacy have created a network for community pharmacies to reach a better level of pharmacy care. This is the revolution for community pharmacies to migrate their services on prescription level to patient level. It is obvious that the innovations of these clinical services have greatly impacted the health outcome of patients in Tyson Drug. This movement should be initiated for all the community pharmacies. This is beneficial not only for patients but also for insurance companies, as it significantly reduces their costs.
My goal has always been to be a clinical pharmacist in a hospital, because the face-to-face interaction with the patients is what I am devoted to. However, if I work in a community pharmacy setting, I would definitely choose pharmacies like Tyson Drug. Even though my rotation is only a week long, it has already changed my thoughts and perspectives of how a community pharmacy could be, and, of course, where it should be.