Andrea Kowalski, Director of Clinical Services, Shrivers Pharmacies
As this pandemic continues on and passes the one year mark, the concern over mental health has become an area of growing concern. Adding to the stress of avoiding the virus is a new layer of isolation and loneliness that is being recognized in the pharmacy. The volume of antidepressant and antianxiety medication has been on a steady rise, and this really caught the attention of our pharmacists.
While in the midst of working with Flip the Pharmacy to implement clinical services into our workflow, as well as a payor pilot program, we decided to focus on behavioral health. Pharmacists flagged patients who were taking antidepressants and antianxiety medications and reached out to have targeted conversations. During these conversations, PHQ9 and GAD7 tests were administered to assess therapy efficacy and concerns were articulated to both the patient and prescriber.
In a span of 6 months, 74 patients had one-on-one conversations about their mental health with a pharmacist. A total of 22 patients completed follow up appointments as recommendations were made. At follow up, it was determined that 73% had improved or stable PHQ9 and GAD7 scores. The remaining 27% reported worsening scores but had documented interventions pending with the pharmacists.
Overall, patient feedback to our behavioral health program has been extremely positive. There have been many tears of happiness shed as patients have felt that they are not alone. While it might not come as a surprise that a pharmacists’ intervention can improve patient outcomes, it is reassuring to see that it can be reflected in data and in the improved quality of life of our patients.