A Student's Perspective
Flip the Pharmacy is a program dedicated to evolving the community pharmacy practice. Pharmacists already fill prescriptions and educate patients on medications, but their goal is to further innovate practice to provide efficient, linear care for their patients. In South Carolina there are 20 pharmacies that are involved in this program. Each month they are given change packages with goals such as tracking blood pressures for patients and building relationships with local providers. COVID-19 put a lot of the goals of the pharmacies on hold. They have learned to adapt to this change and figure out how to provide the best care like “pre-COVID” times.
It was soon realized by society how vital pharmacists are to daily life. Because the pharmacies involved with Flip the Pharmacy are dedicated to the innovation of pharmacy, they are well equipped to handle this crisis. The pharmacy’s staff continue to be vital healthcare workers during COVID-19. A couple of the pharmacies made their own hand sanitizer to account for the shortage that has been experienced. One of the pharmacies has been distributing hand sanitizer to not only their patients, but to local law enforcement, local emergency management services, county and city government, and the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Jonathan Keese from Chapin Pharmacy stated, “even as new brands of sanitizer have become available, we're finding that customers prefer our formula, so we continue to make large batches almost every week.”
Not only did pharmacies continue to provide medications during these times, but some have even continued to give appropriate vaccines where needed. The CDC states that “the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder of the importance of vaccination. The identified declines in routine pediatric vaccine ordering and doses administered might indicate that U.S. children and their communities face increased risks for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.”1 Some of the pharmacies involved with Flip the Pharmacy went to the lengths of giving curbside vaccinations while following proper vaccination safety as well as COVID precautions. This would prevent patients from having to come inside, while still getting the appropriate vaccines that can provide protection against vaccine preventable diseases.
COVID-19 will be a time talked about for years to come. Pharmacies have not only provided hand sanitizer and pertinent vaccines, but they have showed care through acts of service. Stuart Johnson from Family Pharmacy in Aiken, SC, said “our staff went over the top in making sure patients were given every reason to smile, by not only providing great customer service, but by placing handwritten messages on every Rx bag that left the pharmacy. This will become a long-term practice of ours.” Whether it is delivery services offered or getting over-the-counter products for patients using the drive-thru, the impact pharmacists are making during this time will not be forgotten. Thank you to all the pharmacists and other healthcare workers that are continuing to provide care for their patients during COVID.
Ellis Ann Frank
PharmD Candidate Class of 2021
University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy
Vaccination Guidance During a Pandemic. (2020, June 09). Retrieved June 24, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pandemic-guidance/index.html