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From adherence to patient support, best practices shine at Cardinal Health RBC 2016


The best practices shared over the course of Cardinal Health RBC 2016 have one thing in common: a focus on patient needs that leads to improved patient health and a more robust business. From expanded clinical services to offerings tailored to caregivers, all of the pharmacies touted as exemplars of independent pharmacy were able to grow their business by providing the best care possible to their patients.

At the root of the ability to cater to patient needs, Kinray SVP and General Manager Steve Mason told host Eva Saha at the RBC 2016 opening session, is the ability to adapt to changing patient needs.

“Most of the time, the big idea that changes a business simply comes from the willingness and openness to do things differently,” Mason said. “Their businesses have evolved over time by being willing to change.”

As an example of a particularly adaptive pharmacy, Mason looked to Dyer Drugs of Albany, Kentucky, which is continuing to see growth as it celebrates its 100th year in business. In response to increased levels of diabetes patients, the pharmacy purchased the storefront next door and turned it into a diabetes education and outreach center, hiring a nurse to provide educational services to patients.

Other examples Mason pointed to were focused on medication therapy management and transitions in care services. NewSpring Pharmacy in Avondale, Arizona, was recognized for its bedside delivery service at a local hospital that began with the aim of reducing readmission by ensuring patients have all their medications before being discharged. Mason noted, “with hospitals facing penalties for patient dissatisfaction and readmissions, pharmacists really need to partner with their hospitals and physicians.”

He also said that immunizations and point-of-care testing were other services that pharmacies can offer to increase their standing as a health destination in their communities, highlighting the Cardinal Health suite of immunization solutions including the Immunizations Specialized Care Center and noting that the company’s marketing team was focusing on point-of-care testing. Mason also shared with attendees recent efforts to improve workflow tracking and analytics through its acquisition of TelePharm.

At the Cardinal Health RBC 2016 Closing Session, the focus turned to how pharmacists can reach caregivers. Cardinal Health SVP Marketing and Customer Solutions in Pharmaceutical Distribution Christi Pedra noted that independent pharmacists have the biggest opportunity to become a health resource for caregivers.

“The personalized care that they need can be found in your pharmacy, and taking care of the caregiver is an opportunity to create a niche in your community,” Pedra said. “We know that caregivers are looking for a trusted adviser, and this is a great opportunity for all of you to deepen your relationship with caregivers. They trust you; they know that you’re concerned for them and the patients they're taking care of.”

Pedra participated in a discussion with independent pharmacists Abdalla Adam of Callahan Drugs in Callahan, Florida, and Ashlee Riggs, of Barney’s Drugs in Augusta, Georgia, both of whom take a personalized approach to reaching their patients, in particular caregivers.

For Riggs, who is a board-certified psychiatric pharmacist and whose pharmacy is attached to a behavioral health center, synchronizing all of a patient’s medications around clinical visits is one of the ways she can help caregivers by reducing the number of pharmacy visits they have to make. She said that she’s able to work with patients and counsel them and caregivers about their medication. She also has leveraged prescriber relationships to earn prescribers’ respect because they “know I’ll help the patients get their medications, and I’ll help ensure the patients are adherent.”

Abdalla, who relocated from Sudan to Florida’s Nassau county in the 1990s, said he works with caregivers who are concerned about the cost of care. His pharmacy provides supportive outreach, which can sometimes be an important touchpoint for caregivers.

“Sometimes I just call them, comfort them and tell them, ‘look, what you do is good. Keep doing what you do,’” he said. “I assure them they can do this, and if you need help, I’m available, call me anytime — and that makes a big difference for them.”

Cardinal Health also distributed the annual ‘Good Medicine’ magazine during RBC, which is dedicated to celebrating community pharmacy, sharing industry insights and highlighting best practices from pharmacists across the country.


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