Can Pharmacists Play A Strategic Role In Improving Patient Outcomes And Preventing Hospital Readmissions?

Can Pharmacists Play a Strategic Role in Improving Patient Outcomes and Preventing Hospital Readmissions?

As health care reform shifts from volume-based care to value-based care, many question whether pharmacists can play a strategic role in improving patient outcomes and preventing hospital readmissions. We believe the answer is yes, most definitely! And Parata customers and pharmacists Tim Wright and his wife, Nora Wright, are proof that they can do just that. The couple own and operate Wagner Pharmacies, with four locations in Clinton, Iowa.

The Wrights developed a data-driven clinical program, MedAssist, designed to improve patient outcomes and position their pharmacy for success in the changing health care landscape. The Wrights fundamentally believe that pharmacists can improve outcomes and reduce readmissions through a robust medication adherence program supported by patient education and internal communication.

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How To Securely Automate Schedule II Prescription Drugs Under New DEA Regulations

How to Securely Automate Schedule II Prescription Drugs under New DEA Regulations

On Monday, October 6, a number of prescription drugs changed classification under the Controlled Substances Act. All hydrocodone combination products (HCPs) are now Schedule II substances, which are more tightly controlled.

HCPs are the most prescribed medications in America, with 135 million prescriptions filled in 2012. In a letter to the DEA, organizations representing more than 100,000 pharmacists emphasized the importance of remembering that millions of Americans legitimately rely on HCPs for acute and chronic pain management.

Because HCPs are fast-movers, many pharmacies have relied on automation to dispense them. The regulatory change impacts the way pharmacies will label and package these prescriptions, as well as their security protocols, inventory, recordkeeping and reporting and more. For many pharmacies, this means removing Schedule II drugs from automation and more time counting by hand.

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Gateway Apothecary Earns Award For Excellence In HIV Care

Gateway Apothecary Earns Award for Excellence in HIV Care

We’re so proud of Parata customer, Gateway Apothecary in St. Louis, Mo., for receiving the Peter M. Fox Excellence in HIV Credentialing Award, presented annually by the American Academy of HIV Medicine.

Today, more than 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV, and the Center for Disease Control estimates 50,000 new cases of HIV are diagnosed each year. With new drugs available to treat HIV/AIDS, the number of AIDS-related deaths in the U.S. has dropped dramatically.

With nearly 9,000 new HIV diagnoses over two decades in the St. Louis region alone, Chris Geronsin, pharmacist and owner of Gateway Apothecary, identified an opportunity for Gateway to collaborate with area physicians in a program to improve adherence rates for their HIV patients. Geronsin’s pharmacy has supported HIV patients since the 1990s and today Gateway pharmacists support nearly 700 HIV patients monthly.

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In America’s Pharmacist: The Right Way For Adherence

In America’s Pharmacist: The Right Way for Adherence

“So you have this chain of trained people — chemist, physician, pharmacist — and what do you do? You give [medications] to the person who’s least capable of handling them — the patient. And for years, you’ve been doing it over and over and expecting different results. It’s not working.”Bob Lomenick, a multi-pharmacy owner, tells this story often: how his son so clearly explained the need to change the way patients receive and take medications, so the burden of medication management does not fall solely on their shoulders.

This became the genesis for Lomenick’s retail adherence program, Right Way Meds.

Using Parata PASS™ strip packaging as the cornerstone of his adherence program, Lomenick has improved patient adherence and outcomes, secured the 10 percent of his patients who represent half of his revenue, and gained access to 3,000 new patients by catching the attention of a regional insurer.

To learn how he did it, read the full article in America’s Pharmacist.

C.O. Bigelow: A Manhattan Pharmacy with a Small-Town Feel

WSJ - C.O. Bigelow

WSJ – C.O. Bigelow

Civil War generals frequented the shop.
Mark Twain strolled the aisles.
Eleanor Roosevelt commended the store’s toiletries.

Today, this 19th-century pharmacy draws fashion magazine editors, playwrights, actresses and regular folks like the rest of us. It’s more than a pharmacy. It’s a destination.

C.O. Bigelow, located on Sixth Avenue, maintains its small-town feel and old-time charm while embracing the latest technology — including Parata automation.

“Going to Bigelow is anything but a chore,” says a customer who has frequented the pharmacy for 17 years.

As a partner of C.O. Bigelow, comments like this warm our hearts. To all our independent pharmacies who provide exceptional customer service, go above and beyond in patient care and offer an unforgettable experience: the sky’s the limit. And we’re here to help you achieve your goals.

Read the full story in the Wall Street Journal article.

Innovation and Service Drive 125 Years of Success

Joseph Moose, Pharm.D.

Joseph Moose, Pharm.D.
Moose Pharmacy, Concord, N.C.

Caring for patients has been in my family’s blood for generations. The first Moose Pharmacy, which still stands today, opened in 1882 in Mount Pleasant, N.C. Today my brother Whit and I run five locations across the state.

Despite our old-fashioned pharmacy background, we are innovating continuously to stay competitive. We use technology to free our time to spend more time with patients, and we offer specialty services that allow us to provide a high level of care and bring value that draws customers to our pharmacies.

At our Concord location, where I primarily work, we offer compounding services. We provide natural hormone replacement therapy, pain medications, veterinary medicines and alternative methods of taking medicines. We also offer an adherence program and medication therapy management services. The essence of this age-old pharmacy practice is catering your business to what your patients want and need – and providing them with something they may not be able to get elsewhere in the area.

But the best value in offering specialty services is in their impact on patients. I ask myself every day, “What have I done today to change the lives of my patients?” If I can’t answer it, then I haven’t yet accomplished my tasks for the day.

Pharmacists play a crucial role in the health of patients and too often, I think often we get caught up in the difficulty of running our pharmacy businesses. When we are able to spend time with patients and listen to their needs and concerns, we can impact their health outcomes and transform our pharmacies into places they go for treatment and counseling, not just for medications.

I’m proud to have been recognized by the Next-Generation Pharmacist program for this mindset, which drives the Moose family pharmacies. Caring for patients on a deeper level is what has helped us continue to grow our business over the past 125 years.

Giving Back Returns Dividends for Independents

Pete Crouch, pharmacist at Eden Drugs gives back to his community

Pete Crouch
Eden Drug

I love being a pharmacist because I like taking care of people. At Eden Drug, we’ve decided from the day my wife Debbie and I bought the store seven years ago that we would seek to do something bigger through our business for the community of 16,000 that we call home.

Debbie is a teacher, so we found ourselves drawn to programs that support literacy and education. Eden Drug has given 2,000 backpacks to kids in need. We organized a “spend local” campaign where employees were awarded $2,000 in $2 bills to spend with local businesses as a local stimulus. We regularly offer free diabetes and heart health classes to help people manage their diseases. And last summer, we celebrated the store’s 30th anniversary, throwing a party with and for the community where we gave away more than 800 hotdogs, hosted a vintage car show and offered all kinds of fun and games for families.
In response, Eden Drug has been voted the county’s favorite pharmacy for the last five years (Debbie and I have owned the business for seven years). And, we have been blessed to experience strong year-over-year growth in an environment where many independent pharmacies are struggling to maintain their volume.

Eden Drug has given 2,000 backpacks to kids in need and continues to invest in the community.

Eden Drug has given 2,000 backpacks to kids in need and continues to invest in the community.

It is part of our business philosophy to invest in our community. Beyond the social good we seek to accomplish, it is a commitment that larger competitors cannot emulate, so it does create a competitive advantage for us. Further, with a genuine, sustained commitment to serving residents, they recognize and respond; here is just a sample of some recent feedback:

“Best Customer Service in Town! Helpful, friendly & always glad to see me when I come in. Keep up the good work!” (Bev)

“I think your meetings are extremely educational & I enjoy them so much. I hope you will continue the meetings for a long time.” (Via)

Last year, I was honored as Civic Leader of the Year in the Next-Generation Pharmacist program. It was a great experience to be recognized and honored among my peers for something so core to our business. I’d like to share some simple tips to help your pharmacy identify and embrace community investment:

1.  Find an unmet local need suited to your talents and/or interests.

2.  Join PDS (Pharmacy Development Services). That’s where I get a lot of the ideas for our pharmacy, including The Sweet Spot diabetes education program, free vitamins for kids, among others. They and their members always have great new ideas to share and try. (Learn more at

3.  Commit and sustain. It is not how much you do, as much as it is how long you do it. Pick a few things you and your staff can get behind and stick with it. You’ll be surprised how quickly it starts to build awareness and interest in your pharmacy.

Mark Aurit: Putting Patients First

Mark Aurit lives by his philosophy that the patient comes first.

Mark owns and operates the Gateway HealthMart Pharmacy in Bismarck, N.D., and has implemented dispensing automation and strip packaging to help him provide the best service and the highest level of care possible.

And it’s working. In 2010, Mark was selected as the Next-Generation Pharmacist of the Year, recognized for his uncompromising focus on advancing patient care, his innovation in pharmacy practice, and his commitment to advancing the pharmacy industry.

In the video below, Mark describes the role Parata Max™ automation plays in his pharmacy and asserts that in the future, “pharmacies large and small will need some type of automation . . . to free up their time.”

Check it out.

Grow Your Business with Next-Generation Automation

We recently sat down with Robert Johnson — owner of Green’s Fortuna Pharmacy in California, and a long-time Parata customer. Robert told us why automation has been essential to his business growth, and the happiness of his staff, for more than 10 years.

Robert’s advice: If you’re doing more than 250 scripts per day, you really need to look at all your options for automation.

Pharmacist Uses Process and Packaging to Improve Adherence

If you asked your patients to count the pills left in their prescriptions 10 days before they were due for a refill, would the number show they’d missed doses? That’s how Bob Lomenick discovered his patients had an adherence problem.

A pharmacist and owner of Tyson Drug Co. in Holly Springs, Miss., Bob wanted to help his patients improve adherence so they’d be healthier and happier. He found RxSync, a service model developed by the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, to synchronize patients’ refills. He also converts his patients taking more than five medications to Parata PASS Pack™. Using one package for each dosing time improved adherence and the pharmacy’s inventory management.

Bob shared his experience with colleagues at the McKesson ideaShare conference in Las Vegas this year.

Considering offering adherence strip packaging to your retail customers? View these tips to get started with strip packaging.

Parata PASS adherence packaging