Magazine article Drug Topics

Learning to Hit the Curve Ball

Magazine article Drug Topics

Learning to Hit the Curve Ball

Article excerpt


Reading "It takes a village" by Jim Plagakis in the September issue of Drug Topics inspired me to reflect on my many years in pharmacy and the things that have changed, as well as the things that have not.

I find Jim's experiences and observations spot on. They very much parallel my own career in community pharmacy. When he said at the end of the column that the opportunities to make a difference are endless, I started thinking about the positive things pharmacy has going for it, such as more opportunities to deliver patient care through medication therapy management (MTM) than I have ever seen in my 30-year career.

Look at things differently

Sure, workloads in the average community pharmacy have continued to increase, and working conditions related to dispensing have gotten worse, but I'm talking about patient care unrelated to dispensing.

Clinical activities such as comprehensive MTM consults can and should be separate from dispensing. I have found that the more separate and distinct from dispensing I make my MTM practice, the more demand I get for MTM services. Right now the practice is booked 2 to 3 weeks out, and I am begging for more resources.

I know that what I do when not filling prescriptions may not be the highest priority to my organization, as it may not be in most others. This means that I have to get creative, so that I can get by with few resources and make money on the service, all the while knowing that decision-makers somewhere in the organization can decide to "go in another direction" at any time.

It hasn't been easy. It's been a grind to build a practice by convincing physicians to refer patients and by persuading patients to ask physicians to refer them to the service, but it is starting to pay off. Nothing really worthwhile comes easy.

If you do what you've always done ...

In baseball terms, we pharmacists collectively need to learn how to hit the curve ball. We need to think unconventionally. Instead of waiting for the fastball to come over the plate so we can hit the home run, we need to go against convention and hit the curve ball by staying back, being patient, and hitting the ball to the opposite field, which is against the natural tendency of hitters. …

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