The Flip the Pharmacy program provides tools to pharmacy technicians and non-pharmacy support staff Mitchell’s Drug Stores to help provide patient care.
Taylor Nease was reviewing her pharmacy’s delivery schedule when she noticed her driver was trekking to one patient’s address multiple times a week. Upon further investigation, Taylor discovered that this patient was taking 15 different medications, each with varying refill dates and poor adherence rates. Without delay, she contacted the patient to align her refills on a single delivery day and enroll her in the pharmacy’s adherence packaging program. Within months, the patient’s adherence rate surged, her clinical picture improved, and the driver could streamline his delivery route.
If the role of pharmacy technicians was ever defined by their ability to count by fives, Taylor represents a new paradigm for pharmacy support staff. As pharmacists take on more patient care responsibilities, pharmacy technicians are increasingly relied upon to provide enhanced clinical services, including vaccine administration, care coordination, and prescription billing.
“It’s a lot more fun to come to work at the pharmacy and deliver these services, rather than just counting and filling prescriptions,” shares Taylor. “I feel more invested in the patient care process.”
Perhaps a more fitting description, “Patient Advocate” is Taylor’s official title at Mitchell’s Drug Stores. With four locations covering the Neosho, Missouri region, Mitchell’s efforts to elevate pharmacy technicians were fueled by its enrollment in the Flip the Pharmacy program.
Developing new roles for the non-pharmacist support staff is just one of the six domains that comprise Flip the Pharmacy, a nationwide community-based pharmacy practice transformation initiative. In two years, participating pharmacy teams strive to “flip” their business models and workflows from point-in-time, prescription-level care towards longitudinal, patient-level care.
“Flip the Pharmacy has totally changed our team’s mindset,” shares Tim Mitchell, Pharmacist and Owner of Mitchell’s Drug Stores. “Now, we can be proactive instead of reactive.”
The appointment-based model has been an instrumental tool enabling the Mitchell’s team to regain control of their workflow. By proactively aligning medication refills to a single pickup time, Mitchell’s Medication Synchronization (Med Sync) program frees up more time for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to provide enhanced patient care services, such as their fast-growing point-of-care testing program.
Before Flip the Pharmacy, Mitchell’s Med Sync program resembled autofill, lacking scalability, efficiency, and a mechanism for documentation. Now, Taylor contacts patients one week in advance of the scheduled pickup to confirm any changes to their medication list, resolves billing issues, and documents the encounters in their pharmacy management system. “When patients pull up, we’re ready,” offers Tim.
Monthly change packages contain best practices and workflow innovations that support pharmacies engaged in practice transformation. Employing these change packages as a framework, the team Mitchell’s was eager to scale their Med Sync program through automated adherence packaging.
“The Flip the Pharmacy model of Med Sync was a perfect avenue for us to grow this program. It covers all the essential components: improving patient communication, identifying medication list discrepancies, and enhancing relationships with local providers,” shares Pharmacy Manager Paula Boettler.
An investment in RxSafe’s RapidPakRx enabled Mitchell’s Drug to grow their Med Sync program from 25 patients to over 220. Four Flip the Pharmacy teams are funded in part by a sponsorship donation from RxSafe. Additional funding for Flip the Pharmacy is donated by the Community Pharmacy Foundation, along with national and local team sponsors.
While implementing this program has significantly decreased the pharmacy’s overhead costs and streamlined workflow inefficiencies, patients have realized the largest return on investment. Patients and caregivers have voiced their appreciation of the program’s convenience and average adherence rates have soared to an all-time high.
The team at Mitchell’s believes that appointment-based model is the future of community pharmacy. They plan to continue leveraging this tool as they look to scale their point-of-care testing services and implement a diabetes prevention program.
When reflecting on his pharmacy’s greatest accomplishment in its practice transformation journey, Tim answers confidently, “Our success is in our people.”
“Our pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have all had to buy into a completely new mindset,” shares Tim. “Ultimately, we are all health care professionals working as a team towards the same goal of providing better patient care.”
The Flip the Pharmacy program has over 1,000 community pharmacies actively engaged in practice transformation, which are supported by over 450 pharmacy coaches from 63 local Flip the Pharmacy teams and ten Technology Solutions Partners. To learn more, please visit www.flipthepharmacy.com and access the publicly available change packages, by clicking here.