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Pharmacist: Cara Hoyt, PharmD Assistant Manager

Pharmacy: Uptown Pharmacy

City, State: Westerville, OH

What led you to a career in independent community pharmacy?
I started interning with an independent pharmacy while I lived in a rural community. I went to Ohio Northern University for my PharmD, and did primary care residency with The Ohio State University. My family used an independent pharmacy to fill our prescriptions. During my time as a patron of the pharmacy I distinctly remember the type of relationship that I had with my pharmacist and the personal attention I was able to get. The fact that his pharmacy carried specialty medications, DME and wound care products was also a draw for me. Following my time at the independent pharmacy I worked for a chain with two pharmacists who were previous owners. Their mindset and expertise in offering patient services continued to peak my interest and lead me further into independent pharmacy.

What makes your pharmacy standout from the competition?
All community pharmacies have niches. Uptown Pharmacy serves as the compounding source for Westerville and surrounding areas. The pharmacy staff has been able to fill the need for patients in need of Hormone Replacement Therapy. More recently, the staff has been looking into providing topical analgesics too! I am Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and influential in providing education to patients upon initiation and during the continuation of their diabetic care. This includes providing screenings and diabetic shoe fitting. Other services provided by the pharmacy include immunizations. There are onsite immunization fairs; this helped us rack up over 3600 immunizations during the last year. Uptown Pharmacy has a consult agreement with physicians in the area that refer patients for anticoagulation monitoring. This allows me and the other staff pharmacists to provide INR screenings, adjust warfarin therapy, and maintain a continuity of care with patients. Patients really enjoy the Simplify my meds program. Upon enrollment into the Simplify My Meds Program the patient will receive an MTM and then an annual follow up. Another niche that Uptown Pharmacy fills is with Hospice patients and end of life care. We provide comfort kits for patients who have entered end of life care. Those medications are shipped or personally delivered to patients, receiving high priority when orders are called in to the pharmacy.

Uptown also serves as an APPE site for pharmacy students, we average 2 students per month, and even have an accredited Community pharmacy residency. These additions to the pharmacy staff serves as an avenue to stimulate innovative ideas for services. This year’s resident, Mary Abdelmalak, PharmD, was able to help the pharmacy improve their documentation with MTMs and other services provided. Refining their documentation now will help set the basis for better patient histories, improving patient relationships and building trust with the staff at Uptown. Also leading to better opportunities for reimbursement. Mary’s research project was regarding pharmacogenomics and the perception from patients and physicians on having a pharmacist involved.

Other services provided by Uptown Pharmacy include:

  • POCT: Blood pressure, cholesterol, INR

  • Antibiotic call back services

  • MTMs with Outcomes and Mirixa

  • 100 day supplies and $4 list, trying to keep costs low.


What are your biggest challenges?
The biggest challenge that we face is letting the community know that we are around. There are some chain pharmacies that are around that impede on us getting the word out. As many people know, reimbursements are low so maintaining a revenue relying heavily on prescriptions is tough. We have to come up with innovative ways to generate revenue. That’s where our niches come in.

Describe a recent, rewarding experience with a patient:
I see myself more in a precepting role, providing consultative and marketing services. I am a Certified AADE Diabetes educator. Diabetes wise; I have been able to continue the relationship after patient get their meds. Patients give me updates on their conditions, and walk me through it on a monthly basis. It helps with continuity of Care. I get to prepare smart goals for patients after every encounter in the diabetes classes. I’m constantly seeing their progress or any road bumps they might hit, I aid them in making better choices. But really, any time that I can just help someone increase their QOL with the HRT, sleeping and fatigue; that’s when I feel the satisfaction. It may not be live saving, but it definitely can be life altering.

How has NCPA helped your business?
NCPA has been crucial with pushing federal legislation that helps independent pharmacies. The organization has provided us with Simplify my Meds and is a go to for many business strategies. The staff at Uptown uses the webinars available through membership. I have seen NCPA utilized by past residents and students. They have been involved with the Legislative Conference in Washington DC. I have also seen how NCPA has helped students get placed in junior partnerships and procure staffing positions with other independent pharmacies.