Another Pharmacy "FLIPPED"
By Leah Evans, PharmD Candidate 2022 and Megan Smith, PharmD
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, community pharmacies nation-wide have been faced with a plethora of unforeseen challenges to both their usual workflow and patient interaction. Because of this, pharmacies have had to come up with creative approaches to maintain the same level of patient care they had been providing prior to the pandemic. After spending the month of May with Achor Family Pharmacy in Maumelle, Arkansas, I have witnessed firsthand the innovations that pharmacy owners Drs. Kaley and Brandon Achor implemented during these challenging times.
After speaking with Kaley Achor about the adjustments Achor Family Pharmacy had to make to maintain personal relationships with patients, it was evident the last thing Kaley and Brandon wanted to happen was for their patients to feel alone during the pandemic. To prevent losing touch with their patients and to continue providing a higher quality of attentive care, they maintained regular communication with patients by making frequent phone calls, having thoughtful conversations in the drive-thru, and during home-visits with deliveries. Because of the ongoing communication and reassurance that Achor Family Pharmacy was able to provide to their patients, Kaley states that “our relationships grew deeper [with our patients] during the pandemic.”
Not only was Achor Family Pharmacy able to provide impactful patient care to their existing customers during the pandemic, but they were able to bring in new customers through a few different channels. First, when there was a shortage of hand sanitizer, they took advantage of their compounding lab to produce hand sanitizer. They then distributed 4-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer to the community free of charge as well as refilling any empty containers returned to the pharmacy. This allowed Achor Family Pharmacy to meet a need of many in their community and develop meaningful relationships with those they helped. Secondly, they heavily promoted their free delivery service to include over-the-counter items along with prescription medications, in a safe, socially-distanced manner. Lastly, Achor Family Pharmacy opened their COVID-19 Vaccination Center, where they administer Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to patients that have scheduled an appointment online. Not only have they been using an appointment-based model to increase the efficiency of distributing COVID-19 vaccines to the community, but they are able to utilize four private patient rooms in their vaccination center. Having the appropriate space to administer vaccines and provide necessary counseling services in a safe, socially-distanced environment further strengthened the trust between the pharmacy and the community of patients they are serving.
When asked about opportunities for the future, Kaley Achor mentioned expanding their educational and clinical services to the community. With the recent addition of another pharmacist, Achor Family Pharmacy plans to provide personalized treatment plans for patients that have diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, as well as other common disease states. The new pharmacist will also be enrolling more patients into their medication synchronization program to increase patient adherence to their maintenance medications and to reduce the inventory burden on the pharmacy. They also will be utilizing the appointment-based model for these medication review services due to the success they have seen with this approach for their COVID-19 Vaccination Center. It is clear that Achor Family Pharmacy has “flipped their pharmacy” for better outreach and patient care.