Tools Let Pharmacists Provide "Gold Standard" Counseling

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0,0

Pharmacists need to keep up with a vast amount ofinformation to properly care for their patients. At RiteAid, pharmacists are using Gold Standard's ClinicalPharmacology tools to help them make the most of theirtime and expertise by putting all the druginformation they need into one frontlineresource.

"Pharmacists tell us they need to be successfulin their practice, and we create intuitive,hands-on tools to give them fast,timely, and meaningful answers," said RussThomas, Gold Standard's chief executiveofficer.

Rite Aid pharmacist RaymondAncypowic, RPh, said that Rite Aid's dispensingsystem, combined with theClinical Pharmacology component, makes his job easier andallows him to spend more time with his patients.

"Today was a perfect example," he said. "I used the productcomparison portion to find a less expensive alternativefor a patient's oral contraceptive, the drug identification portionfor a school nurse looking for help in identifying anunknown tablet, and the drug monograph portion to confirma seldom-seen side effect of a drug. All this while processing450-plus prescriptions."

"Rather than spend extensive time pouring through referencetexts and journals, I have more time to spend fillingprescriptions and providing consultation for my patients.The information I need is just a few mouse clicks away," saidAncypowic.

"Clinical Pharmacology is one of the first references I usewhen researching a drug information question," said AthenaBaglio, RPh, MBA, manager of Rite Aid's Drug InformationCenter. "The inclusion of product photos, extensive productdescription search mechanisms, and ease of use makeClinical Pharmacology my reference of choice for productidentification inquiries."

Baglio said the product comparison reports are especiallyhelpful for inquiries involving inactive ingredients. "If apatient is looking for a particular generic medication butcannot tolerate lactose, I can perform a product comparisonreport using the active ingredient and specify that I onlywant a list of those products that are lactose-free. BeforeClinical Pharmacology, I was forced to research the inactiveingredients of each product individually, which was time-intensiveand tedious," she said.

Clinical Pharmacology encompasses several tools to makecounseling patients about their medications and medicalconditions easy and effective. Drug information handouts,which are specific to the product dosage forms, are helpfulfor educating patients about topics like adrug's common use, how it is taken, properstorage, and possible side effects and warnings.Clinical Pharmacology also providesdetailed handouts for hard-to-find nutritional,herbal, and combination products.

The Consumer Drug Interaction featureis a tool pharmacists can use as a guidewhen counseling patients about potentialinteractions in their medication anddietary supplement regimen. KramesDisease Information Handouts, developedwith StayWell, enable pharmacists to supply a completecounseling solution by providing educational material onmedical conditions and their medications simultaneously.

"By using the monographs as a counseling tool, our pharmacistscan quickly, yet thoroughly, review key points aboutmedications with their patients and provide printed copiesfor patients to take home," said Baglio. "In a minimalamount of time, our patients are educated about their prescriptions,and Rite Aid's commitment to patient health isreinforced."

Clinical Pharmacology's patient counseling tools are alsoavailable in consumer-friendly, Web-based formats. "Ourretail customers see the value in having consistent resourcesin the pharmacy and on their pharmacy Web sites to offer afull spectrum of resources for improving medication safetyand compliance for their patients," said Thomas.

Susan Mamula, RPh, manager of Rite Aid's DrugInformation Center, said she is particularly impressed withhow Clinical Pharmacology allows her to create custom tablesin its drug comparison section. "This feature is especially helpfulwhen a pharmacist or physician would like to determinewhich product in a therapeutic drug class would or would notcause a specific adverse reaction," she said. Rather than lookup each product individually, Mamula said she can create atable that compares as many products and adverse events asnecessary. "It's a great time saver," she said.

Ms. Sax is a freelance writer based in Ridgewood, NJ.