Perspectives from a Student Pharmacist
My name is Hussein Askar, I am a 4th year pharmacy student at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. This month I am doing an APPE rotation with Mutual Drug and Mutual CPESN. I am seeing the wholesale and CPESN sides of pharmacy, along with exposure to independent community pharmacy practice. We don’t get much exposure to these areas in school so it has been a great learning experience so far. One of the most interesting experiences so far during this rotation is Flip the Pharmacy. I was able to join one of the coaches for the North Carolina team while she went to various pharmacies throughout the month.
Each pharmacy visit varied slightly but the main objective was the same – to observe their progress throughout the month and give advice. The meetings with the pharmacists and technicians at their stores were mostly just to touch base. The pharmacies had already read through the change packages (which outline the monthly goals) so the coaches were there to answer any questions they had and provide support if needed. Because October was the launch of the program, I was able to see the progress that pharmacies made in both October and November. These two months focused on getting patients on medication synchronization and completing eCare plans for patients with hypertension. Most of the pharmacies we visited have either completed the monthly goals or were very close to completing them.
One of the points commonly discussed was engaging patients in the eCare plan process. The coach suggested the pharmacy staff should get the patients motivated to improve their health. She gave an example phrase the staff could use, “We are so excited that you’re enrolled in our blood pressure program, where we monitor your blood pressure every month.” This takes away the need for patients to opt-in, and makes the patient look forward to their pharmacy visits.
Clinical services are essential to a pharmacy’s success. Flip the Pharmacy aims to expand these services while benefitting patients and reducing healthcare costs. Everyone we met with was excited about the program and eager to improve their patients’ health. Because patients typically visit the pharmacy more than the doctor’s office, it makes sense that the pharmacy should play a larger role in managing chronic conditions. Enhanced services and disease state management are important aspects of pharmacy practice, and the ones involved in this change are at the forefront of innovation.