Little steps leading to BIG CHANGE, that is how I’ve come to view Flip the Pharmacy. Small steps like taking a little extra time to educate a patient on hypertension so they understand how the disease process works, instead of just talking to them about the antihypertensive medication they are picking up. Following that up the next month with a little discussion about how they can self-monitor their blood pressure & why it’s important to know if their medication is working. After that it’s as simple as checking in with them to see what their blood pressure numbers have been lately & encouraging them when they pick up refills. Those are the little steps. The BIG CHANGE is the relationships that develop as a result. Having been involved in the Flip the Pharmacy process for a year now, I can easily say I know more about my average patient than I did a year ago & they trust me to be a part of their health care decision making process.
One patient we will call Maggie came to the pharmacy several months back to pick up her amlodipine. During our discussion, I found out that Maggie wasn’t worried about missing doses because no one had ever talked to her about the risk of uncontrolled hypertension. I ultimately recommended self-monitoring blood pressure. I called her a couple weeks later when her name appeared on my follow-up calendar and she was embarrassed to tell me she hadn’t started monitoring yet. She asked me to call her the next week and said she would have some numbers for me when I called back.
Fast forward a few months and her blood pressure is under control, her medication adherence is no longer a problem and she has even started using nicotine replacement therapy for a few weeks! Last time I spoke with Maggie I told her that she was doing great. She thanked me and then said something that really made me appreciate the time we’ve dedicated to implementing the Flip the Pharmacy model at our store. Maggie told me, “I never would have done any of this if it wasn’t for you”.
You must be intentional with the Flip the Pharmacy process to make it work. If you aren’t dedicated to the little steps, patients will quickly decide that you’re really not that interested in their care and you’ll miss the BIG CHANGE. There are still busy times every day and times I’m still tempted to skip an interaction with a patient because I feel too busy, but I’m encouraged by my patients like Maggie. They remind me what a dramatic effect one small interaction can have.
Written by Micah Byers, PharmD