American Pharmacists Month: Focusing on Patient Care

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Ramesh Cheruvu, PharmD, pharmacist and pharmacy manager at Health Mart Family Pharmacy at McKesson, discussed his journey in the pharmaceutical industry and how it has changed since he became a pharmacist.

Ramesh Cheruvu, PharmD, pharmacist and pharmacy manager at Health Mart Family Pharmacy at McKesson, discussed his journey in the pharmaceutical industry and how it has changed since he became a pharmacist.

Young male pharmacist giving prescription medications to senior female customer in a pharmacy | Image Credit: Zamrznuti tonovi - stock.adobe.com

Zamrznuti tonovi - stock.adobe.com

Q: Can you start by introducing yourself?

Ramesh Cheruvu: Thank you for Pharmacy Times for giving me this opportunity to talk about something that I'm passionate about, and that's the pharmacy industry. My name is Dr. Ramesh Cheruvu. I'm a pharmacy manager at family pharmacy at Las Colinas. We are a health Mart pharmacy and we're located within McKesson’s corporate headquarters here in Dallas, Texas. It's hard to believe that I'm actually approaching almost 15 years of being a pharmacist at this point. I have actually a background in holistic health care and functional medicine. I'm particularly passionate about true preventative health care.

Q: How did you get into pharmacy?

Ramesh Cheruvu: I have an older brother and an older sister that are both physicians. So I received my fair share of pressure from parents and relatives to also pursue that path, but I knew I wanted to go into health care, but I didn't know which path I wanted to kind of pursue. At that point, I sought out an opportunity, a job, as a pharmacy technician; I have a cousin that's also a pharmacist, and I really enjoyed the amount of patient interaction that I enjoyed on a daily basis. That's when I decided to pursue pharmacy full time as actually as my career.

Q: How have you seen the profession change over your career?

About The Expert

Ramesh Cheruvu, PharmD, is a pharmacist and pharmacy manager at Health Mart Family Pharmacy located in McKesson’s headquarters. He has dedicated his life to helping others realize their potential by optimizing health through functional medicine and guiding others to clarify their purpose through functional coaching. In his role as the pharmacy manager at Family Pharmacy, he acts as a trusted health care resource and ensures the customer’s needs are met through effective day-to-day execution of the operations of the community pharmacy.

Ramesh Cheruvu: The role of a pharmacist has changed quite a bit in the last 15 years. When I first started as a pharmacist, I think the focus was primarily on dispensing, not only dispensing, but doing so in a timely and efficient manner. I remember logging in every morning to just see that dashboard, to see how efficiently, and how quickly I would fill the prescriptions I was working with. My bonus, and my annual review, would be based on the numbers on how efficiently I filled those prescriptions. A few years ago, I was actually really happy to see that a lot of the chains have stepped back from that approach, and no longer incentivize their pharmacists and technicians and staff for how quickly they fill prescriptions. Instead, what this allows us to do as pharmacy professionals is to be able to focus more on more clinical services, things like medication therapy, management, or providing immunizations that ultimately improve the health outcomes of our patients. This is has allowed allowed for us to provide more patient centered care, which is ultimately better for the industry, but ultimately even better for the patients that we serve.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of pharmacy for you?

Ramesh Cheruvu: Without a doubt, the most rewarding part is serving patients is interacting with patients on a day-to-day basis, helping them achieve their health outcomes, helping them feel better every day to show up in their lives for their family members, for their coworkers, and on a higher level. Being able to do that really brings a lot of fulfillment and joy to me. It really allows our patients to live their best lives, and if we're able to contribute to them being a little bit happier a little bit better in terms of health in terms of their wellbeing, then that really puts a smile on my face and helps me sleep a little bit better at night.

Q: What is the value of the pharmacist to you personally, and to the overall health care system?

Ramesh Cheruvu: There is tremendous value that the pharmacist provides in the health care system. First and foremost, the value of the pharmacist is really the ability to provide personalized and patient-centered care. It's been known for decades that pharmacists are really the most accessible and trusted health care professionals out there, and really, we play a vital role in helping patients to navigate those really complex treatment protocols. Pharmacists are really essential members of the health care team, and I feel like we play a critical role in helping to coordinate care and ultimately ensuring that patients receive the best possible care that they deserve.

Q: How are you celebrating this American Pharmacists Month?

Ramesh Cheruvu: This is definitely an occasion to celebrate for sure, and I'm glad that pharmacist get a month to celebrate here. The first word that comes to mind is gratitude. I've had the tremendous fortune of having a wonderful career in pharmacy and the pharmacy industry has treated me very well. But the reason I've enjoyed such an illustrious career is because I've had amazing mentors, coworkers, colleagues, [and] technicians that I've worked with that have supported me along the way. I think the best way for me to step back during this month and celebrate it is to shower thanks and maybe write some notes of thanks to all those mentors that have had along the way that have guided me throughout my career and has led me to the success that I've enjoyed today.

Q: Is there anything you'd like to add?

Ramesh Cheruvu: This is definitely an occasion to celebrate. I think pharmacists have had a tough going these last few years. Pharmacists deserve to be recognized and also their staff, pharmacy technicians, that support us. I'm really excited about the future of pharmacy. Just as we've seen rapid change in the pharmacy industry over the last 15 years. Change is really the only constant, and I think the change in the industry is only going to be more rapid in years to come. It really is an exciting time to be a pharmacist and to play the role that we do in the health care industry. Ultimately, we have the opportunity to improve the wellbeing of our patients and the communities we serve. [The] last thing I want to say is thank you, thank you to all the pharmacists out there. Please take a moment to congratulate yourself, to celebrate this month. It's an important month for us to join, unite, and celebrate everything we've done for the health care industry over the past several years, and all the things we do to advocate for our patients on a day-to-day basis. I did want to thank Pharmacy Times again for providing me this opportunity to talk about this industry.

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