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Perspective From A Fellow And FtP Coach

Matthew Mitchell, Pharm.D., Clinical Pharmacist Manager at Northside Pharmacies

Since the last quarter of 2020, I’ve been participating in the NCPA Innovation Center/ CPESN Community Pharmacy Fellowship Program as well as a coach for Flip the Pharmacy. The fellowship program connects me with top innovators in community pharmacy, offers intel on how high performing pharmacies are excelling with clinical services, and provides educational webinars that assists the fellows with managing their respective pharmacy teams and implementing new pharmacy services.

The knowledge and skills gained from this fellowship have undoubtedly helped me improve my ability to act as a Flip the Pharmacy coach. Recommendations for improving medication synchronization, tips on monitoring pharmacy performance, and hands-on demonstration of submitting eCare plans have all been vital to facilitating the needed changes in pharmacy workflow. At times, these process changes appear to evolve slowly. Nevertheless, I was surprised to see how much of a change was apparent just 4 months into Flip the Pharmacy (Cohort 2). I noticed eCare plans submissions increased, on average, over 100% across all participating pharmacies that I’ve been coaching. Admittingly, we still have a long road ahead of us, but this is an encouraging sign of the fruits of our labor.

Yet, when I take a step back and reflect on “the why” behind all these measures, why is the fellowship program equipping me with this information, why is Flip the Pharmacy focused on improving community pharmacy workflows to free up the pharmacist; they all echo a resounding theme… patient care! The traditional, retail pharmacy focused on dispensing a product is being replaced with a community pharmacy focused on patient-care service. Keeping pharmacists on the counter to dispense as many prescriptions as possible is being exchanged for more pharmacist time in the clinic room, consultation area, or perhaps even virtual appointments. Claims-based strategies and metrics, although necessary, are prioritized lower than patient outcomes and achievement of therapeutic goals.

What makes the pharmacist an active player as a healthcare provider is the ability to use our medication expertise to affect patient outcomes, not by dispensing a product. This is a point that I am quick to repeat to my pharmacy colleagues. Indeed, the transformation process for community pharmacy will not be accomplished overnight, and there will be obstacles in the road. Reminding your team on “the why” behind these measures will help to keep your team engaged and energized to truly Flip the Pharmacy.

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