Patient Care In and Around a Pandemic
Kevin Day, PharmD
Day's Miami Heights Pharmacy
Community-based pharmacies have, for decades, claimed, articulated, argued, and existed that one of their competitive advantages was their ability to be nimble. In the last six weeks or so, they, like many small businesses have gotten a chance to prove it. Team Ohio Flip the Pharmacy Cohort 1 participants were just finding their grove with care planning, utilizing team members in the patient care process, and communicating pertinent patient updates to providers when COVID-19 became a national emergency forcing many to dramatically change the way they care for patients. Now running pharmacies dependent on curbside pickup and delivery, pharmacy teams have adapted to continue providing person-centered care based on adherence to medications for chronic conditions while also assisting confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients.
The needs of patients with the novel coronavirus are still moderately unclear but pharmacies are filling the clear care gap for patients who are told to 'stay home, check your temperature, call us if you can't breathe' by their physician and/or the hospital care team. That guidance -- like many hospital discharges -- leaves a wide variety of gray areas and unanswered questions. What if I don't have a thermometer? Someone said to use a pulse ox? I haven't had symptoms for days, now what? Does my spouse need to stop working? Pharmacies are stepping up to check in with these patients, both with regular medication synchronization appointments for chronic diseases, and quick check ins between those appointments to answer these questions, document patient progression, and share pertinent updates with the rest of the care team.
As we continue our world-wide journey through this pandemic, Flip the Pharmacy participants, along with so many other high-performing community-based pharmacies will continue to be nimble leaders in health care. We'll continue to solve both COVID related and existing health concerns, keeping patients happy, healthy, and at home for as long as needed.