Highlighting the important role independent community pharmacists play in our national healthcare system.
Pharmacist: Steve Adkins, Pharm D
Pharmacy name: Health Park Pharmacy
City, State: Raleigh, NC
Pharmacist's years of service: 13 years
What led you to a career in independent community pharmacy?
At the age of 16, I worked for a local independent pharmacy in my small hometown of Danville, Virginia. I made home deliveries and observed the impact of direct patient care. In an independent pharmacy, you wear all hats, you are imputing inventory orders, working as the cashier, filling prescriptions, making deliveries and interacting with patients on various levels to build a foundation and eventually a trusting relationship. Working here, I got to see what a pharmacist did on a daily basis and found it to represent what true health care is.
What makes your pharmacy standout from the competition?
We are a part of 200,000 square foot healthcare facility. There are dermatologists, dental offices, physical therapists, sports medicine and family practices, cardiologists, radiologists, a lab corp facility and more. It makes it very convenient for the patient; they can visit their primary care physician and then come directly to the pharmacy to get their prescription filled. It also allows for unique collaboration among the providers. I have had urgent situations where I have been able to walk directly upstairs to a patient’s PCP and discuss an issue that needed to be addressed right then.
Our pharmacy also holds a focus on medication adherence. We have been using the Simplify My Meds program for years now and have seen benefits for all types of patients. It allows the entire family to become enrolled. We have implemented a number of educational programs, specifically one geared towards educating patients on Medicare Part D and which plan will save the patient the most money. Last year alone, we saved the resident community across the street from of us over $200,000 by making sure they were in the correct program. We also use technology to educate our patients on adherence. We provide counseling through videos on an iPad, such as how to properly do a finger prick for glucose readings. We set the patient in a counseling room alone, they watch the video, and then a pharmacist comes in and asks the patient to give a demonstration to show their understanding.
What are your biggest challenges?
Most independent pharmacies don’t have the resources to do all the cool things that they want to do. Community pharmacy is about being in the trenches and having the opportunities to make a difference. I would love to see pharmacy schools focus on ambulatory care and community all in one and lend more support to the community [pharmacies].
Describe a memorable and rewarding experience you’ve had with a patient.
In 2007, I had one mental health patient that was continually cycling in and out of ‘the system’. In a 6 month period they moved in out and out of a skilled health home, a group home, their parent’s home and had multiple hospitalizations. The patient then enrolled in the Simplify My Meds program. The patient was able to become adherent and since enrollment in the program, hasn’t been back to the hospital.
How has NCPA helped your business?
NCPA has done an awesome job with the Simplify My Meds program. It is a true adherence program and shows you how to manage the patient. I have heard stories of other ‘adherence programs’ and they are more like an auto-refill program. This creates waste where medications are just filled, then sit in a bin, and tie up taxpayer revenue until the meds are put back or wasted. It is a burden on everyone. Simplify My Meds cleans up the patients profile at enrollment, their medications are synchronized and then from there you are only seeing the patient’s active medication list. It allows you to professionally manage the patient’s care.