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Flip the Pharmacy: Benefiting Patients, Pharmacies, Educators, and Students

Michael Hegener, PharmD, BCACP

Director, Wuest Family Pharmacy Practice Skills Center

Associate Professor of Pharmacy

The James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy University of Cincinnati

As a pharmacy educator, the past few months have been a challenging time as we quickly adapted to online only instruction due to COVID-19. Faculty and students had to quickly adjust to new technology and teaching methods in order to stay on track. I have been most impressed, however, with how pharmacists have stepped up to the challenge of continuing care of their patients in a personalized and safe manner during this unprecedented time. While many health care facilities are limiting patient visits, pharmacies are remaining open and quickly adapting workflow procedures to continue providing personalized care for patients. The COVID-19 change packages provided by Flip the Pharmacy (FtP) and the Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Networks (CPESN) best practices sharing emails have been valuable resources and demonstrate the value of collaboration during these challenging times.

Being a FtP practice transformation coach has allowed me to stay connected with contemporary pharmacy practice that pushes through perceived barriers to further enhance patient care. This in turn helps me better educate future pharmacists. The FtP monthly change packages are well written, and provide measureable and achievable goals to help pharmacies move beyond filling prescriptions at a moment in time, to caring for patients longitudinally over time. Visiting my assigned pharmacy each month is inspiring – watching the pharmacists and pharmacy technicians work together to achieve their change package goals provides me with real-life experiences to relay to our students. As a direct result of participating in this program, I am developing learning modules for all of our students to ensure they are ready for the future of community pharmacy that Flip the Pharmacy is building. This includes incorporating patient care services into workflow and documenting care provided via eCare plans.

In addition to having all students participate in learning activities, as faculty advisor for our college’s student chapter of NCPA, my goal is to provide students who are particularly interested in community pharmacy practice opportunities to collaborate with FtP participating pharmacies. This will permit them to experience the practice transformation taking place first-hand while they assist the pharmacies in meeting their goals. While COVID-19 has stalled these plans for now, I hope to be ready to go soon!

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