This intervention fosters connections with patients, identifies treatment goals, and increases adherence.
Brown bag consults can be essential educational and safety tools to measure and ensure quality care. By asking patients to bring in all their current medications, including OTC, mail-order, specialty, and herbal products, pharmacists can guarantee appropriate and up-to-date care.
Pharmacists are key providers in the continuum of care, consistently identifying potential problems and concerns that may require follow-up with prescribers or a medication therapy management (MTM) session. It is essential that a pharmacist’s workflow allow for brown bag consults, which can do the following:
Offering to review medications one-on-one gives pharmacists the opportunity to connect with patients by serving as trusted medical professionals in the community. Brown bag sessions do not have to be time-consuming scheduled events. They can be offered anytime a pharmacist thinks that a patient needs follow-up care after a typical counseling session.
Patients should weave preventive health care into every aspect of their lives, as it paves the way for better outcomes and quality of life. By being active, eating more nutritious foods, maintaining a healthy environment, and staying on top of wellness screenings, individuals can be their best selves. The community pharmacy is a hub for preventive care and services. Pharmacists can play a big role in keeping patients safe and helping them identify conditions early, potentially preventing hospitalizations and unnecessary doctor visits. They can also offer vaccines, screenings, and services such as MTM that can reduce costs.
The opportunity gives the pharmacist a chance to connect with patients. By understanding what OTC and prescription medications a patient may be taking, in addition to any herbal supplements and vitamins, pharmacists can better assess quality of care and safety.
Patients with a diabetes diagnosis can benefit from medication reviews. A pharmacist’s involvement may help patients understand therapy and help increase adherence. Pharmacist intervention can also help with appropriate prescription of medications and ensure that patients are up-to-date on their laboratory work and vaccinations.
PS is a 68-year-old man who has been coming to the pharmacy for the past few years. Lately, he has seemed less interested in his health. PS no longer asks questions or engages in much counter conversation. You bring up his medication profile and notice that he has been nonadherent with some key medications that treat his diabetes.
PS appears physically exhausted, has lost some weight, and seems agitated. You ask whether he would be interested in participating in a brief medication review. You explain what happens during a brown bag consult and tell PS that you are interested in reviewing his medications and reeducating him, in turn allowing him to maximize their use and possibly detect any underlying issues. The review may also lead to a positive impact on his attitude, finances, and overall health. PS appreciates the opportunity to talk in depth, one-on-one. He schedules a time after his upcoming doctor’s appointment and says he will bring in all his medications and new laboratory paperwork.
Upon reviewing his medication profile at the pharmacy, you find the following:
When PS comes in for his appointment, you notice the following additional medications in his bag:
After reviewing the medications, you realize that PS would benefit from an MTM session, and you schedule a follow-up appointment. An MTM session will allow you to further communicate with his health care providers, review lab values in detail, and evaluate his medical goals. An MTM session will also allow you to offer detailed diabetes education, as requested by PS. In the meantime, you have some questions about his medications as well as suggestions:
What else would you suggest before the MTM session?
Jill Drury, PharmD, is a clinical pharmacy specialist in Chicago, Illinois, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.