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The Impact of a Pharmacist

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.

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cself10
Jun 03, 2021

I could not agree more! Mental health has become a significant area of concern over the last few years, and the pandemic has only escalated that concern. That is a really great idea to call patients that are taking antidepressants or antianxiety medications to check in on their mental health. It is amazing the kind of impact pharmacists can have. I agree with Tory that hopefully this will become a common practice!

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Tory Strider Grooms
Tory Strider Grooms
May 20, 2021

You hit the nail on the head! This pandemic has definitely had an affect on mental health. I have done something similar with my patients, and it was shocking how meaningful our check-in was to them. They finally felt like they had a healthcare provider in their corner advocating for them. I hope that this will become more normal practice in community pharmacy. Great work! Thank you for sharing!

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