Community Pharmacist Spotlight Archive

Wagner Pharmacy

by NCPA | Aug 08, 2017

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Spotlight Pharmacy

Pharmacist: Tim Wright

Pharmacy: Wagner Pharmacy

City, State: Clinton, IA

What led you to a career in independent community pharmacy?
I'm the son of a community pharmacist, exposed to the profession since day one. When I was old enough, I started working under my dad and his colleagues as a pharmacy technician. It always seemed like home to me, and the exposure to the variables involved in the profession made the necessary educational milestones along the way simple to deal with; I had so many great teachers prepping me.

What makes your pharmacy stand out from the competition?
If there's an overwhelming concept that further defines us, it's how far we're willing to go for our patients that have the greatest needs. Our programs are built first primarily around need, and secondarily fiscal health. We've found that by prioritizing the former, the latter will take care of itself. Our patient care programs have many features that would be considered excessive by most, but that hasn't stopped us from investing. We have lots of clinical muscle backing up the success of our managed care programs and have re-organized our entire business model around medication synchronization and adherence packaging, formalizing the way clinical pharmacists coordinate patient care within these programs.

What are your biggest challenges?
As a small business within an ever-consolidating health system, the biggest challenge I see is plugging into larger entities and being given the opportunity to perform. Independents have a very small footprint, but that doesn't mean that we're any less capable of addressing our health systems biggest challenges and moving key metrics on them. Locally, we've answered that through networking and making sure our successes within key patient populations are well known to the right individuals & departments. For example, we've achieved a very positive relationship with the discharge coordination department from the local hospital, and likewise the same organization's homecare division. Those are just a few examples, but if you're not reaching out and touting your pharmacy's ability to manage high risk patients, you're much less likely to be given the opportunity to manage more in the future, and actually influence the matters most important to the health system above you.

Describe a recent, rewarding experience with a patient:
I'm not as involved in the direct patient care activities of our company, so I'd have to default to an experience my wife and business partner, Nora Wright, PharmD, BCACP, had. A patient who had suffered an approximate 35lb weight gain over the previous 18 months had complained of this in addition to general fatigue and drowsiness. Nora worked with her to synchronize her medications to eliminate non-compliance as a potential source, and then got to work on what medications could be contributing.

In the meantime she transitioned the patient to our strip packaging program, as the 10 plus medication regiment had been mutually decided upon with the patient to be unmanageable. The medication, gabapentin, was discovered to be the problem. The patient was tapered off, and over the next two months she shed nearly all 35 pounds which she had previously gained. Watching the patient come back to life and start living her previously active lifestyle was worth its weight in gold to all involved from my team.

How has NCPA helped your business?
NCPA has always been a solid source of current information on the global state of affairs in pharmacy. As fragmented as the entire profession is in specific disciplines, I feel like independent pharmacy has extremely strong representation and advocacy when compared to others. Arenas in which I've sought specific input in previous years have been in advancing patient care programs and learning about what other members are doing to address broader challenges in the healthcare system. For example, early in the structuring of what is now a medication synchronization program that boasts over 750 patients, I studied synchronization models provided by NCPA and tested them. The conceptual information was priceless and contributed heavily to the current success the program is experiencing. I additionally rely on lots of relevant PBM information and appreciate the fact that these matters are being brought before our representatives to Congress.