Pharmacist: Kelly Kent
Pharmacy: Towncrest Pharmacy
City, State: Iowa City, IA
What led you to a career in independent community pharmacy?
When I was in pharmacy school at the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy I had an opportunity to work in a variety of pharmacy environments. I also had the opportunity to work with several excellent independent pharmacy owners, including Matt Osterhaus and Lisa Ploehn. The relationships these pharmacists and their staff pharmacists had with their patients was impressive. They were more than just pharmacists. They were coaches, care givers, genuine friends, and trusted advisors who really knew their patients. After pharmacy school I completed a community pharmacy residency at Main at Locust Pharmacy in Davenport, Iowa. During this year I had endless opportunities to develop my clinical pharmacy skills in an independent pharmacy setting.
I have several mentors in my life, but none as impactful as Randy McDonough. As his pharmacy resident at Main at Locust, I was challenged everyday to push the practice of pharmacy and practice at a higher level. Never become complacent. I have worked for an independently owned pharmacy since then. I cherish the relationships I am able to develop with my patients and the opportunities I have to practice my clinical skills on a daily basis. I joined the Towncrest Pharmacy team in May 2014. Working for Randy McDonough and Mike Deninger (who both taught me in pharmacy school) has made it feel like my career has come full circle.
What makes your pharmacy standout from the competition?
At Towncrest Pharmacy, we strive to be a pharmacy where patients expect a high level of patient care. We have loyal patients, some of which have been coming to us for the 50 plus years, who seek out our pharmacists for their trusted advice and latest clinical information.
Our owners, Mike Deninger and Randy McDonough, make certain that Towncrest Pharmacy is staffed appropriately to ensure we can provide the best patient care to every patient that walks in our door. On a typical day there will be 4-5 pharmacists working at all times. They have invested in the latest technology and work flow to help ensure we have time to devote to our patients. In my role, I am either staffing in a dispensing role or at my desk in the clinical area of the pharmacy. As a clinical pharmacist, I am available for patient consults, diabetic shoe fittings, medication synchronization appointments, and drug information requests from patients or another pharmacists. We work hard to ensure we are able to take care of all our patients' needs.
What are your biggest challenges?
I believe we have several challenges facing our profession. One of these is working with legislators and payers to find ways to be financially compensated for the care we provide. This is critical to pharmacy surviving in a community pharmacy setting. At Towncrest Pharmacy, we have a state of the art documentation system, PharmClin®, that we use to "flag" drug therapy problems. After these problems have been addressed, either by consulting with the prescriber, performing a literature search, or counseling the patient, we document the results of the encounter. This documentation is done countless times every single day. We believe this helps our pharmacists better identify and resolve drug therapy problems, thereby, helping to improve patient outcomes and lower health care spending. It is imperative that pharmacists are recognized for the work they do. We can NOT rely solely on being reimbursed for drug product. 2016 is already showing us that reimbursement rates will continue to fall.
The days of counting tablets and sticking a label on a bottle are long gone. Pharmacy and pharmacists are capable of so much more. It is imperative that we each recognize this. We need to be work for provider status and ensure we practice at the top of our clinical game everyday.
Describe a recent, rewarding experience with a patient:
A few months ago, I had a patient come into the pharmacy for a routine prescription refill. After talking to him further I learned he lived out of town and made several trips to the pharmacy every month, sometimes multiple times each week. I introduced our medication synchronization program to him and enrolled him in it that day. Now I call and speak with him each month about his medications before we prepare his routine refills. He tells me about any recent physician appointments or changes to his medications. Over the past few months, we have helped him improve compliance with his COPD inhalers because he better understands first how to use it and second why it is important that he uses it. My monthly med sync calls have helped him better understand his pharmacologic regimen and helped me build a trusting relationship with him. Recently, he came to me with a need for support stockings. He was not overly excited about this recommendation by his physician, but he brought the order to me to discuss it. I fit him for some Sigvaris stockings that he can wear with anything. When I saw him recently, he made a point to tell me how much he liked the stockings. This simple comment made me smile and reminded me that this patient trusted me to help him. I am thankful to work in an independent community pharmacy where my owners place a high value on providing excellent patient care and building relationships to ensure our patients achieve the best therapeutic outcomes.
How has NCPA helped your business?
In recent years, NCPA has been a great help to our pharmacy; as we were faced with drastically cut reimbursement rates. NCPA has reached out our owners to better understand the situation and bring it to a national level. Towncrest Pharmacy is a proud member of NCPA.