Tell us a bit about your career and what you do now.
I’ve always identified myself as a community pharmacist, though I’ve had an eclectic career so far, none of which I would have anticipated. After graduating from the University of Georgia [in Athens], I completed a community practice residency. From there, I was a clinical coordinator at a group of independent pharmacies [and] residency director at a college of pharmacy and worked in association management as well as continuing education.
Currently, I’m CEO of Seguridad, which produces Choose My Pharmacy (a pharmacy safety scorecard), and managing network facilitator for Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network (CPESN) Health Equity, a clinically integrated network of pharmacies focused on addressing health-related social needs. With Seguridad, we are defining pharmacy quality in a way that patients, payers, and pharmacies can all use for choice in health care and professional fulfillment. With CPESN, I get to work with leaders in community pharmacy practice as we create sustainable models of patient care that lead to better health outcomes and lower cost.
What is the most rewarding part of pharmacy for you?
[The most rewarding part for me is] ensuring the right patient gets the right medication at the right time, with the right dose, by the right route, for the right reason. At the bare minimum, this is what we all do. I use this mantra when dispensing at the local independent pharmacy, when creating our quality measures, when developing new clinical services for our CPESN network, and while caring for family and friends. I was my mom’s caregiver, along with my dad and my wife, for many years as she battled Alzheimer disease. One of the last battles I had with her providers was making sure she received comfort measures in the last few weeks of her life. The hospice nurse refused, and only with those rights was I able to successfully advocate for my mother. Despite [these rights], many [pharmacists] are not supported in delivering on these rights for our patients.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I’m proud of my expertise and ability to advocate for my loved ones, and I’m proud of our measurement system, Choose My Pharmacy, because of how it defines what a high-quality pharmacy looks like while taking into account that all pharmacies are not the same. In health care, we can use measurement systems to identify the differences between hospice providers, hospitals, insurance plans, nursing homes. However, that hasn’t existed within community pharmacy until we created Choose My Pharmacy. Just like I knew which nursing homes we should or should not trust for my mom’s care, we’ve needed the same thing in community pharmacy. I believe this is the solution for the recent walkouts or investigative reports talking about medication errors. Evaluate the pharmacy for safety: Do we dispense glucagon with bolus insulin? Are we evaluating pediatric weight for the right dose? Does the household at risk for opioid overdose have naloxone? Do we have updated allergies for all patients? Are our pharmacy technicians credentialed and compensated? Every pharmacy should have a public-facing safety scorecard, and all pharmacies should be evaluated on their ability to perform well on quality measures designed to improve safety, patient outcomes, and optimized care.
What advice would you give other pharmacists or pharmacy students?
What’s the Harvey Dent quote from The Dark Knight? “The night is darkest just before the dawn”? We have so many amazing opportunities ahead of us for optimizing patient care, working at the top of our license [for] pharmacists and pharmacy technicians alike, and professional fulfillment. Yes, we’ve been beat down with article after article about unsafe working conditions, [direct and indirect remuneration] fees and an unsustainable business model, or burnout from unrealistic metrics and demands on our time. However, John Kotter, DBA, MS, taught us that successful change management comes from having a sense of urgency. CPESN Health Equity pharmacies have changed; they are providing nondispensing holistic care to local patients in local ways. They are sourcing firewood from churches and coordinating lawn care services all while dispensing the right medication to the right patient at the right time, with the right dose, by the right route, for the right reason.