Whatever Happened to Predictability?


Inland Pharmacy is using pharmacy automation to put more emphasis on patient care.

These days, it feels like there is little predictability in the pharmacy industry, or at least the type of predictability that pharmacists would like. Most previous models of pharmacy included the act of filling and dispensing prescriptions. With declining reimbursements, increasing DIR fees, and changes in the workforce, this model cannot provide for sustainability in pharmacy.

Bruno Tching, pharmacist in charge of Inland Pharmacy

Bruno Tching, pharmacist in charge of Inland Pharmacy

Bruno Tching, pharmacist in charge of Inland Pharmacy in Hemet, California, made the conscious decision to begin flipping the model within his pharmacy by participating in the Flip the Pharmacy program in order to strengthen his service offerings. In addition, he chose to utilize Parata technology to help support the transition.

As a member of CPESN USA and CPESN California, Bruno was influenced by the ways that other CPESN leaders encouraged pharmacies to take the next step in pharmacy transformation. Participating in Flip that Pharmacy was an easy decision knowing that it would only provide more tools to assist with moving his pharmacy beyond dispensing. Inland Pharmacy is already seeing the benefits of participating in Flip the Pharmacy. Although they were providing some services that are highlighted in Flip the Pharmacy, such as medication synchronization, they lacked the documentation and incorporation of these services in their workflow.

“We are still struggling to be completely proficient, but we have the stepping stones that we need in order to get better,” explained Bruno. Inland Pharmacy patients are also reaping the benefits of their learnings through Flip the Pharmacy through Inland Pharmacy’s smoking cessation program and medication reviews.

Having two accessible Flip the Pharmacy coaches (pharmacists Kelly Brock and Randy McDonough) has provided Inland Pharmacy with the coaching support needed to get started with the program. Bruno states that his coaches hold him accountable, “Accountability is paramount! Left to your own devices, it is hard to do. With Flip the Pharmacy, someone is following up and checking in. The pressure to follow through is all that you need.”

Parata is a national Flip the Pharmacy sponsor. Sponsor dollars help fund the expenses of the Flip the Pharmacy coaches. Additional funding for Flip the Pharmacy is donated by the Community Pharmacy Foundation, along with other national and local team sponsors.

Bruno started with the Parata Mini Automated Dispenser. When contemplating his purchase, Bruno said, “It was great! It made everything faster; I eventually ended up buying a second one.” When staffing issues impacted the pharmacy, he switched to the Parata Max 2 that provided the benefits of counting, filling, labeling and cappingthe prescription. Automation within the pharmacy enhances every aspect of the changing market. It increases medication adherence and reduces readmissions, provides a patient experience of convenience and reliability, maximizes workflow productivity and manages inventory while lowering costs, expands reach while improving operational costs with fully customized solutions, and improves efficiency with speed and accuracy. By simplifying the filling and dispensing of prescriptions, it frees up the technicians and pharmacists to focus more on services within the pharmacy.

Having time for patients is what sets Inland Pharmacy apart from others in the community of Hemet. Both patients and providers are being positively impacted by the increase of clinical services being offered. The effort has encouraged other providers in the community to take a new approach to serving pharmacy patients.

Bruno sees the future of community pharmacy being much more clinical than it has been in the past. Shortages of medical providers are becoming a reality and these shortages are opening the door for pharmacists to take their clinical knowledge and provide services that might not be as easily accessible in the future. These changes will provide pharmacies more access to patients and at the same time improve patient health and decrease patient costs.

Although predictability is comfortable, and, at times, somewhat uncomfortable. Henry Ford was quoted as saying, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” Inland Pharmacy is stepping out of their comfort zone having success incorporating a new way to do pharmacy.”

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. Learn more at www.flipthepharmacy.com and access the publicly available change packages, by clicking here.

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