From Future of Pharmacy

Beware the unintendented consequences of a win-win-win

Well Happy New Year all! I guess you could say Pharmacist Jamie was on a bit of a break. Enjoying a little family time during the holidays and keeping up with my day job has consumed the past few months. So I thought why not kick off 2016 with a controversial topic!

The weekly Wednesday #RxChat got the ole wheels turning today. We were discussing new regulations and laws in our states and how they will effect our current practice. The chat quickly turned to the dispensing of birth control pills without a prescription. Looks like Oregon and California are allowing pharmacists to dispense these hormonal contraceptives without a valid prescription.

A win-win-win-wait…

Looks like everyone is saying it’s a Win Win Win. Win for women advocates. More access to contraceptives … just like men! The politicians won this one. Win for physicians. Their offices won’t be as crowded. They can focus on time spent with patients who need them. Win for patients. A young woman in California stated “I think it’s really wonderful,” Anne Wong. “It’s a drag to have to go to clinic and talk to the doctor to get birth control pills – it takes a chunk out of your day.” Wow! Now a patient can walk into their local pharmacy and pick up their pack of pills. Super.

Wait…where is the win for pharmacists? If you aren’t thinking about this it doesn’t surprise me. We are usually on the end of any decisions. We usually accept our fate and ask what do we charge for the over the counter packs?

I am having many issues with this regulation. Not only from a pharmacist stand point, but from a public health standpoint. Let me get my thoughts in order. So first of all, women no longer have to visit a OB/GYN to obtain monthly birth control pills. They have been declared ‘safe and effective’. Great. I have taken them for years. Glad they are safe. What about the patient’s who will not see a regular physician. Most women aged 16-36 will only see their OB/GYN. It’s a yearly appointment. Yes, the waiting rooms are crowded and sometimes the day is long. So what? That is the only time in 365 days that patient may see any type of medical doctor.

Many will disagree, but my oath said “Do not harm”

Above all, I believe that first and foremost. Annual preventative health visits with OB/GYN do more than give you a ticket to get your pills each month. They do blood work, check blood pressure, depression work ups, screenings. Here’s my other concern. Many STIs can present without a single symptom. These are recognized during annual visits. Patient and partner are treated. One stop in the transmission spread. Breast cancer has really become a treatable disease. Early detection has been a huge step in the right direction! Mammograms can be performed earlier than 45 if your family history makes a case. What happens to a woman in her early thirties experiencing some depressive symptoms? She is too busy with family and work to focus on herself and may think it’s normal. When she visits her OB/GYN for that annual visit they are going to check for any signs and symptoms of mental illness. I’m serious! Look at how many of your antidepressants are written from these docs.

Speak up

And yes after further research I found Oregon and California will both be requiring pharmacists to perform certain ‘health screenings’. Give me a break. So more patient counseling and interaction without a reimbursement for clinical time! Come on pharmacists. Speak up! Oh and they may require a pharmacist to complete an hour of CE credit about oral contraceptives. I wish I had that shocked looking emoji face to post here. (and another question… women can buy condoms… Will men be able to buy oral contraceptives for female use?)

Maybe I’m totally off base with my stance on this subject. I cannot feel good about taking a young woman out of the OB/GYN office. I also do not feel good about doing more health screenings without a proper reimbursement and acknowledgment of my services. You guys know me and know I love a good discussion. Feel free to share any thoughts.

Pharmacy…It’s a man’s world… and a Woman’s…

I saw a tweet today that definitely got my wheels turning.  This is one of those posts you contemplate the remorse that may come after the fact.  I saw a post about #WomenInHealth Day or something.  I didn’t get past the feed…honestly…that’s what you guys love most about me right?  So I am a professional woman.  I am also a traditionalist.  This will not be a men versus women post.  This is a post about some of my latest adventures and lessons I’ve learned.

First of all, I recently changed my name.  My husband and I were married in Disney this summer.  It was a magical experience that may need to be explored in a later post!  Back to the point at hand.  I have fielded many questions lately about the name change. Read more

A buzzing feeling… SPARK Health

Do you ever have one of those days where you wake up and you know something big is going to happen?  You just have that buzzing feeling…a little anxiety, a few butterflies, wide eyed…mostly excitement.  Well today is one of those days for yours truly.

As a clinical community pharmacist I pride myself on using all the tools and resources available in today’s marketplace.  I do my best to take advantage of the many dashboards that claim to help with “my star ratings”.  It can be tough sometimes working efficiently through different portals.  And let’s face it all of these dashboards have different passwords!  Some have to be updated every few weeks!  I mean seriously I spend a significant amount of time attempting logins and then I think “wait what am I doing this for?”

The reason I am doing this is for my patients.  I want to do anything in my power to improve their outcomes.  The star ratings system, the medication therapy management claims, the pre and post edits on my dispensing software … they are actually all part of this new age of practicing pharmacy.  Ensuring the safety of your patients has always been part of the deal.  Making interventions, contacting the prescriber and documenting has also been in our history.  Others have now given us a way to mark it all down on specific programs.  Is this the future?  I say no.  I say that’s the same ole thing just prettied up and packaged differently.

What I am excited to announce today is the future of the clinical community pharmacist. SPARK health powered by Creative Pharmacist just announced today the launch of their app.  SPARK health is in the simplest term the ultimate center or nucleus if you will of the modern day pharmacist’s daily practice.

We have heard for years about the patient center care model.  SPARK is a dual log in dashboard for both the patient and the pharmacist.  A patient can enter daily weights, blood pressure or glucose readings and access many recipes and exercise mixers based on their own personal disease states or preference.  The patient can send notifications to their pharmacist and check in regularly.  What does this have to do with us, the pharmacist?  EVERYTHING

The word in practice today is adherence.  Well yeah.  If we dispense a medication and a patient does not take it, it does not work.  Nothing has changed here.  No matter what type of program you follow…you must educate your patient and consistently monitor them.  SPARK health will host a concise medication list.  Here’s your proof this is the dashboard of the future.  According to Mr. Joe’s last few check ins via SPARK health his blood pressure has been running abnormally high.  Next screen according to SPARK health he has not had his lisinopril filled in 37 days.  SPARK health will put together nice visual graphs for the patient to see…and how about the physicians.  How many times dose a physician connect with you to discuss fill dates and you are scanning through your dispensing software looking for anything recent.  Let SPARK health organize all the important data for you.  Let it be your type of charting.  Let it be your connection to your patients.  Let it be your favorite new recipe finder :)))

I cannot illustrate everything in this blog post.  It could go on for a long time!  For more information please click here or contact the team  Thanks for letting me share this.  I believe in the clinical community pharmacist.  I believe we must innovate and create in order to stay relevant.  I’ll put down the coffee now as I stated earlier I’m already buzzing from excitement.  Don’t want to overdue it…it’s only Tuesday!


The lone nut


I have had the absolute honor of speaking to many pharmacists over the past couple of months.  No joke!  I think of it as an honor.  As a pharmacist myself I know the value of a 5 minute phone call with a “consultant”.  I guess that is why I was a little hesitant at the title “Clinical Community Pharmacist Consultant”.  Regardless of the title I get to connect with practicing pharmacists across our country…heck even outside the states (Hi Renee!)

Through my relationships I’ve become a stronger pharmacist as well!  Pushing people to think or ReThink about things is so exciting to me!  It makes me go further and further and hopefully not off the edge.  I love you family!  Looking for inspiration in every corner I usually turn to Ted videos to reenergize.  One of my favorites is from Derek Sivers.  Ted talks have to be under twenty minutes.  Twenty minutes is the maximum time for a human being to “pay attention to something and retain it”.  Ever wonder why we have to attend so many one hour CEs…me too!  Think about the person (me) up there talking to you guys for an hour about star ratings.  Sorry off track :)!  Anyway Derek was able to deliver the most relevant Ted talk to our current practice, at least my take on our practice, in under THREE minutes.  A must see! Read more

The Perfect Pairing

This is a bit of a follow up to a previous post of mine. I promised it would be a work in progress! I think it is time to build on the concept of pharmacist led smoking cessation.

There are numerous collaborative practice agreements out there. One that we could specifically model after is the anticoagulation protocol. Have your local physician sign with an agreement with you. Use the protocol to dispense appropriate therapy. Monitor and check in with patient throughout course. Bill as a medication therapy management claim. Simple. You may say well no one is doing it? If we continue to wait for others to tell us how to care for our patients we will surely be left out of any decision making! Read more

Three BIG ideas from small groups

It has been a while since I have had time to sit down and put my thoughts on paper…well pages…well type on my Mac.  You know what I mean!  Things have been busy and I could not be more proud of that!

Pharmacist Jamie is here to report to you some things I’ve been noticing.  At Creative Pharmacist we have developed what we call ReThink groups or small groups.  Our intent was to tackle the CP Basics::  Medication Adherence, Medication Therapy Management (MTM) and Immunizations.  Innovation in practice is our driving force but we understand the importance of quite honestly keeping the pharmacy doors open.  Anyway, first groups have already had their second call and some of the newer groups are just getting started.  Let me tell you what we found.

Read more

I’m going all in

I usually try and keep my posts as relevant to pharmacy practice as possible. This post is not that far off base. I do hope you will follow me.

This holiday season has been a very out of the ordinary one for me. I lost a very dear friend of mine. He was only 44. I want to talk about him for just a moment. I do not want to dwell on his illness or the past few months but rather on his spirit. Myles was a gambler. He was always looking for the next bet. The only time I ever saw him lose his cool was at ME in a Texas hold-em style card game. Myles did not like for anyone to “go all in” on cards unless your hand was appropriately suited. Once I went in on a 2 4 off suit and beat him on the flop card. He did not like that! Was not the way it was supposed to go! He threw his cards down and stormed off as I giddily swept up his poker chips. I will always remember that night. I beat Myles at his own game. I did not follow the so-called “rules” and the outcome was not what anyone expected. Read more

Cessation: It fits our skillset so let’s do it.

I am currently overly obsessed with a pharmacist led smoking cessation model.  I hear from colleagues that we don’t need a specific guideline or program to help us treat our patients.  I disagree with this approach.

The current practice is typical pharmacists believe we deliver great healthcare and are usually not reimbursed for these services.  Well I say why would someone “pay us money” if we cannot show what works.  We cannot simply expect to sit on our stools (yes reference to a previous post) and be compensated for helping our patients stop smoking. Read more

Let’s tell our story

Joe Moose believes that we should make the effort to tell our story. Creative Pharmacist has made “story” an integral part of the services they offer. Why is creating a narrative for pharmacists important? We know what we’re doing, right? We shouldn’t have to explain ourselves, correct?


In the spirit of college football season, let me say… “not so fast, my friend.”  As we’ve said here before, pharmacists complain that we don’t have a seat at the table. Well, what does it take to get that seat? Or maybe more pointedly, what are we not doing that’s keeping us on the fringes. Read more

Real life value in real life pharmacy. #RealLifePharmD

I’ve been focusing a lot lately on a vision for the future of pharmacy and how we can elevate our status in the health care realm. I do believe that you can’t achieve direction without vision and you can’t reach goals without an underlying principled foundation. However, I also understand that high-minded ideals and a lot rah-rah talk aren’t enough to get the job done alone. Trying to stay true to my mantra of “real life pharmacy, real life pharmacist,” I’d to give a few examples I’ve encountered of “keeping it real.” Read more