January 27, 2021
Rear Admiral (RADM) Pamela Schweitzer - retired Chief Professional Officer of Pharmacy for the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) - talks to us about the roles and responsibilities of pharmacists during a public health crisis. Dr. Schweitzer was responsible for providing leadership and coordination of USPHS pharmacy programs for the Office of the Surgeon General and the Department of Health & Human Services from 2014-2018.
- Pharmacists play a critical role in the USPHS because they have a unique skill set.
- A pandemic, like COVID-19, requires a coordinated effort between the public and private sectors to address mass vaccination efforts as well as shortages of medications, testing, and personal protective equipment using an incident command structure.
- USPHS pharmacists are deployed to the hardest-hit zones to provide medical and scientific assistance. With the COVID-19 pandemic, USPHS officers have been helping set-up community testing and mass-vaccination sites as well as providing input on federal guidance impacting pharmacists and pharmacies.
- Pharmacists in the USPHS must wear many hats. While formal training is helpful, getting a wide breadth of on-the-job experiences is critical.
- Be curious. Learn new skills in every position/job. Be flexible and positive. Be comfortable with shifting conditions. Step up, speak up, and volunteer. Act when you can. Be a role model.
- If you'd like to get more involved, consider volunteering with your local Medical Reserve Corps , applying to become a Commissioned Officer in the USPHS or the newly formed USPHS Ready Reserve Corps.
May 5, 2020
Casey Tak, PhD, MPH - University of North Carolina Eschelman School of Pharmacy and - Karen Gunning, PharmD, BCPS, BCACP - University of Utah College of Pharmacy - talk with us about hormonal contraception and how pharmacists in community and ambulatory care settings can increase women's access to care.
- A variety of contraceptive methods have been available through pharmacies for decades but many states now permit pharmacists to directly "provide" hormonal contraception without a prescription.
- A state-wide standing order is the most common mechanism for authorizing pharmacists to provide hormonal contraception directly to patients, but state laws and regulations vary.
- The CDC Guidance for Healthcare Providers - US Medical Eligibility Criteria do not require a woman to have a pelvic exam prior to receiving hormonal contraception. The pharmacist needs to ask about and document the patient's medical and medication history, take the patient's blood pressure, and inquire about contraceptive preferences before providing hormonal contraception.
- Some states require pharmacists to refer patients to a primary care provider to receive recommended preventive care, such as pelvic exams, breast exams, and Pap smears. Even when this is not required by state law, it's a best practice to ensure all women are receiving appropriate health maintenance services.
- Insurance coverage for pharmacist-provided hormonal contraception is not universal - many private insurance plans do not cover the cost of hormonal contraception or compensate for the pharmacist's time. However, Medicaid programs often do (varies by state).
- Increasing access to hormonal contraception is good public policy because it can positively impact Medicaid costs by reducing unintended pregnancies, high-risk pregnancies, and infant mortality.
- Student pharmacists can (and have) played an important role in advocating for pharmacist-provided hormonal contraction.
March 20, 2020
Lucas Berenbrok, PharmD, BCACP, TTS - Assistant Professor of Pharmacy and Therapeutics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy - talks with us about hearing loss and the important role pharmacists can play as OTC hearing aids become available in 2020.
- Most older adults have some degree of hearing loss and it can significantly impact the quality of life
- There are many causes of hearing loss including medications, infections, cerumen, and aging
- A screening exam for hearing impairment is part of the Welcome to Medicare Exam, but hearing aids are not covered by Medicare.
- OTC hearing aids are predicted to be a far more affordable option for patients with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
- Pharmacists have an important role in assessing patients and referring them to an audiologist for hearing exams.
- Pharmacists can assist patients select an appropriate OTC hearing aid
- To find an audiologist: American Academy of Audiology
February 18, 2020
Cheyenne C. Newsome, PharmD, BCACP and Jessica Conklin, PharmD, BCACP, CDE, AAHIV — passionate advocates for the role of pharmacists in the care of transgender persons — talk with us about the need for patient and provider education and about the benefits and risks of gender-affirming treatment.
- Gender-affirming therapy is highly effective, improving the quality of life in more than 80% of patients.
- Hormonal therapy is the cornerstone of gender-affirming therapy.
- Testosterone is used for masculinization by trans-men. It is traditionally given by intramuscular injection but subcutaneous injections are easier to administered and may have a smoother effect (e.g. lower peak effect).
- Side effects from testosterone are common including body and facial hair growth (you don't get to pick!), deepened voice (irreversible), clitoral enlargement, acne, menstrual irregularities, and weight gain from increased appetite.
- Estradiol (preferred estrogen) is used for feminization by trans-women. In addition, spironolactone is used in high doses for its anti-androgen effects. Side effects are similar to those experienced by cisgender women.
- While trans-men often develop amenorrhea, pregnancy is still possible. Frank discussions about the use of contraception, if sexually active, is important.
- A number of great resources are available to inform drug therapy decision making particularly the Endocrine Society Guidelines.
- Pharmacists can uniquely contribute to optimizing the care of trans-men and -women.
To learn more, view and download the Show Notes!
October 22, 2019
Lea Eiland, PharmD, BCPS, BCPPS - Clinical Professor and Associate Department Head, Department of Pharmacy Practice, Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy — talks to us about the impact of generational differences ... and why these differences influences our patients' communication perferences, beliefs, and expectations.
- Our patients and workforce are more diverse than ever - including their generational experiences that influence their expectations related to work, healthcare delivery, and communication.
- Generational differences are generalizations - so not all people within a generation fit the stereotype and we need to be careful to not make assumptions.
- The generations currrently in the workforce and healthcare delivery systems are Traditionalist, Baby Boomers, Gen-X, Millennials, and Gen-Z/iGeneration.
- Comfort levels with digital technology and communication formats vary by generation. Older generations tend to prefer face-to-face and long-form written communications ... while more recent generations prefer short-form written communications. But everyone can learn to adapt!
- Recent generations prefer short, action-oriented, on-demand learning methods.
- Feedback preferences are also generational. Older generations generally desire less frequent feedback and more recent generations prefer more.
- Learning how to function well as a team requires a shared vision about the goals and valuing the contributions of each person on the team.
September 24, 2019
Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, BCPS, CDE - Professor and Associate Dean for Clinical Services and Practice Transformation, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy - talks to us about the impact of culture on behaviors and health outcomes ... and why healthcare practitioners need to develop cultural awareness and move toward cultural proficiency to achieve optimal outcomes for the patients they serve.
- Culture is the characteristics, knowledge, and beliefs of a group of people including their shared language, religious/spiritual beliefs, habits, and values. Culture impact beliefs about diseases, medications, and healthcare.
- Many patients are reluctant to tell healthcare providers about their culturally-related health behaviors for fear of being judged or may believe such information is irrelevant.
- Behaviors and beliefs, regardless of source, can impact health outcomes and can augment, detract, or have no impact on the recommended treatment plan.
- Openly discussing beliefs and behaviors is critical. Supporting patient decisions based on their beliefs builds trust.
- Communicating in the patient's preferred language is mandated by law. Use trained interpreters. Have written materials available in the patient's preferred language.
- Cultural awareness and moving toward cultural proficiency makes good business sense as you are better able to understand the needs of your patients.
March 13, 2019
Joseph Saseen, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCACP, CLS - Professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Family Medicine, University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences - discusses the various credentials pharmacists can earn following graduation and licensure.
- Credentials include degrees, licensure, post-graduate training, and board certification.
- Earning a certificate is not synonymous with becoming board certified.
- Board certification requires candidates to meet specific eligibility criteria and pass a comprehensive examination to validate the breadth and depth of knowledge in the area of specialization.
- Board certification can give pharmacists a competitive advantage for employment and open doors to new opportunities.
- Candidates should consider preparing for a board certification exam either through a formal, structured program or forming a study group ... or both.
- Obtaining advanced credentials is ultimately about improving the quality of care pharmacists provide to patients.
View and Download the Show Notes!
January 16, 2019
Carol Ott, Pharm.D., BCPP - Clinical Professor of Pharmacy Practice, Purdue University College of Pharmacy and Residency Program Director for the Eskenazi Health/Purdue University PGY2 Psychiatric Pharmacy Residency Program - discusses how sigma adversely impacts patients with opioid use disorder and how the BoilerwoRx program is helping to address the opioid crises at the community level.
- Health professionals too often use stigmatizing language when describing patients with a substance use disorder and their behaviors.
- We need to critically examine our unconscious biases toward patients with substance use disorder.
- Substance use disorders are most often co-morbid with other mental health conditions.
- Needle exchange programs are an evidence-based intervention that can reduce harm by preventing the spread of infectious diseases and be an important touchpoint to get people into treatment.
- There are numerous ways pharmacists can help patients with substance use disorders - approaching them with empathy, volunteering, and using evidence-based resources to guide care and combat misinformation.
View and Download the ShowNotes!
December 13, 2018
Suzanne Nesbit, Pharm.D., BCPS - Clinical Pharmacy Specialist in Pain and Palliative Care at the Johns Hopkins Health System - and Lucas Hill, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCACP - Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin and Director of Operation Naloxone - discuss how to improve patient safety by implementing opioid stewardship and harm-reduction strategies.
- Opioid stewardship requires multiple components starting first with a commitment to change and includes opioid prescribing guidelines, provider feedback, and patient education.
- Discussing the goals of therapy, intended treatment duration, and realistic expectations with patients when opioids are prescribed is critical.
- Patients at high risk of opioid overdose should receive naloxone and trained how to use it.
- Naloxone standing orders or collaborative practice agreements can facilitate access.
- Information from prescription drug monitoring programs can be helpful during the medication review process but providers must recognize their limitations.
- Pain relief requires a patient-specific approach. Patients with a substance use disorder deserve to have their pain addressed too.
View and Download the ShowNotes!
August 14, 2018
Todd Sorensen, Pharm.D. - Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Care and Health Systems at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and Executive Director of the Alliance for Integrated Medication Management talks with us about the importance of applying a systematic process of care during every patient encounter.
Key Lessons: All health professions have a similar process of care but each has a different focus and assessment strategy; inconsistencies in the process of care provided by pharmacists has led to inconsistent outcomes in clinical trials; several new resources are available to help pharmacy practitioners deliver the pharmacists patient care process with greater "fidelity."
Helpful Resources: Check out the Patient Care Process chapter in Pharmacotherapy: A Pathophysiologic Approach and the Patient Care Process for Delivering Comprehensive Medication Management report.