Ask the Expert: What Can Your Pharmacist Do for You? A Conversation with Danielle Florek, Premise Pharmacy Director
When you hear the word pharmacy, you likely recall the last time you picked up a prescription or received your flu shot from your community pharmacy. It’s not uncommon for people to view pharmacists as solely medication dispensers, but these providers are critical members of the care team and do much more than fill your prescriptions. When pharmacists have a role on the care team, it can lead to better health outcomes, lower costs, and a better member experience.
To learn more about the power of pharmacists, we talked with Premise pharmacy director Danielle Florek to find out how people should be leveraging their pharmacists and what sets Premise pharmacies apart from those in the community.
What can members consult with their pharmacist about?
A pharmacy team can help members with a variety of things outside of just filling prescriptions. Pharmacists provide services including the following:
- Help members understand their medication routines and why they’ve been prescribed a certain medication
- Explain which medications are best to purchase over the counter
- Provide an immunization screening and administer vaccines if needed
- Analyze potential prescription cost savings for their current medications
- Explain side effects for any new medications being introduced
- Discuss any difficulties a member may have with their medications and problem solve to find a solution
What are things pharmacists can do that some may not be aware of?
There are many things pharmacists can do that most people wouldn’t think of. During an in-person visit, pharmacists can do blood pressure screenings and assist with placing continuous blood glucose monitors, which are devices that adhere to the skin of someone’s arm or abdomen. These devices provide glucose monitoring throughout the day allowing members to avoid multiple daily finger pricks.
In a virtual care environment, pharmacists can proactively reach out to members to refill their medications before they run out. Pharmacists can also review readings from devices such as blood glucose meters or blood pressure monitors, to ensure members are staying on top of their health.
Although there isn’t much travel happening right now due to the pandemic, pharmacists are a great resource for people planning on traveling both domestically and internationally. Pharmacists can provide travel consults to ensure members are properly vaccinated for the places they plan to visit as well as recommend over the counter medications to take along if needed.
Another service pharmacists can provide that people may not think of is offering guidance on behavior change, such as healthy eating and exercise. For those with a chronic condition such as diabetes, if they aren’t eating and exercising properly, their health may not improve regardless of the medication they’re taking. Your pharmacist can provide helpful tips and activities to make sure every member is reaching their healthiest potential. At Premise, we pride ourselves on being proactive members of the care team to ensure members receive care when it’s needed.
What can a member expect in their experience at a Premise Health pharmacy?
Members can expect a personalized experience when visiting a Premise Health pharmacy from the moment they walk through the door or connect with a pharmacist during a virtual visit. Premise pharmacists make a point to provide exceptional member experiences that help develop genuine relationships – this is a top priority for our pharmacy teams. In our pharmacy setting, pharmacists get to know the members by name and all of the aspects of the health plan, which makes it easy to advise members and their providers.
To avoid siloed care, our pharmacy teams collaborate with the onsite care team to create a seamless experience for members by creating the most appropriate, evidence-based, and cost-effective care plan specifically for them. When we form such close relationships, our pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can celebrate the health victories with members, while also providing empathy and understanding during challenging times.
How do Premise pharmacists keep members engaged?
We’re not just a pharmacy – we’re a healthcare partner striving to understand an individual’s goals so we can best support each member. Engagement is extremely important when supporting a member in achieving their goals. We help drive engagement by reaching out between a member’s refill timeframe to do a wellness check and provide continued support beyond the pill, such as asking questions about their nutrition, social connectedness, and sleep, all to gain understanding of challenges they may be facing in their daily lives.
At Premise pharmacies, it’s not just about making sure the member is taking their medication, but also about their overall experience and how we can make it better. When our members interact with us, they’re really getting a coach in addition to a pharmacist. Our goal is to be a collaborative partner to drive improved overall health.
How do Premise pharmacists utilize virtual pharmacy capabilities?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our centers and pharmacies have shifted to a virtual-first environment to protect both our teams and members. We recognize the importance of checking in with members during a time when they’re feeling more isolated than ever, so our pharmacists have been leveraging virtual video visits to check in with members and ensure minimal disruption in their care plans. We are able to connect with them via video or phone to consult on any adjustments they need to their medication routines and we can also offer adherence counseling to ensure they stay on track and stay healthy during the pandemic. By proactively checking in, we’re able to ensure members have the appropriate amount of medication on hand, answer questions about side effects, and provide guidance on how to properly take their medication if it’s new. Since many members haven’t been able to leave their homes, our pharmacies have been offering free overnight delivery so they can conveniently receive their medications and remain adherent.
At Premise Health, we’ve built our pharmacy programs on the idea that, as one of the most visible and accessible members of a healthcare team, pharmacists can also have the biggest impact. Our dedicated pharmacists help members make smarter healthcare decisions through impactful and personalized care, leading to decreased healthcare costs for organization and healthier employees. Contact us to learn more about Premise’s approach to pharmacy.