There are many benefits to adopting and integrating new technological methods for hosting pharmacy organization events.
As students start their first year of pharmacy school, they are often informed by the upperclassmen and faculty of the importance of joining student organizations. By becoming a student organization member, students can network and learn about the pharmacy profession's various aspects. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, however, has forced many organizations to change how they operate.
The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) student chapter at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) traditionally conducts its meetings and campus events in person, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to continue normal operations within the organization. As a result of social distancing restrictions and current CDC guidelines, the organization has adopted innovative ways to conduct meetings and host events.1 During the pandemic, we have used Zoom to conduct meetings, virtual health fairs, and other events.
There are many benefits to adopting and integrating new technological methods for hosting organization events. One advantage is the ability to accommodate large groups of participants on a live interactive platform.
Another benefit is the ability to record sessions that are then made available to all members and non-members who were otherwise unable to attend. These recorded sessions are published on the NSU AMCP student chapter Facebook page.
One of the most beneficial aspects of a virtual platform is the ability to invite guest speakers both on a local and national level. This provides students with the opportunity to learn about managed care principles and concepts across different practice settings while simultaneously providing logistical flexibility for the guest speaker.
In response to COVID-19, service outreach events such as health fairs can be conducted through pre-recorded patient education videos and live Zoom presentations. In these videos, the AMCP members will provide patients with educational content during online sessions regarding managing different chronic disease states. NSU-AMCP also intends to provide the annual Mental Health Awareness seminar through a live online presentation via Zoom.
The NSU AMCP student chapter added 2 new initiatives for its members this year to mitigate some of the restrictions resulting from COVID-19, including a managed care certificate program and an AMCP workshop series.
The Fundamentals of Managed Care Pharmacy Certificate Program 2nd Edition provides student members with the opportunity to learn about managed care pharmacy principles and concepts under the chapter's faculty advisor, Tricia A. Gangoo-Dookhan, PharmD. Through this online program, members are completing 12 self-paced modules covering essential managed care topics.
Additionally, students can explore critical aspects of managed care pharmacy, including its evolution, pharmacy benefit management tools and strategies, specialty pharmacy, Medicaid and Medicare, and quality measures. After this program, members will be awarded a managed care pharmacy certificate of completion.
Along with the national certificate program is the NSU AMCP workshop series. This workshop will be composed of 4 units, scheduled throughout the academic year, focusing on trending topics in managed care pharmacy.
These workshops aim to educate pharmacy students about the tools we have as a managed care pharmacist, increase awareness of managed care pharmacy, and its role in health care. Subject matter experts will present a range of managed care pharmacy topics and answer any questions students may have. The certificate program and workshops will take place on Zoom to provide students with a safer, accessible, and more flexible environment without any limitations such as room capacity.
The NSU AMCP Chapter, as an organization, has transformed all its events such as general meetings, health fairs, workshops, and guest speaker presentations via Zoom and pre-recorded videos. Furthermore, the NSU AMCP student chapter has added new incentives and exclusive offers for memberships such as t-shirts, pins, and a discount on the managed care certificate course. These incentives proved to be beneficial in retaining our previous members and improving our new member recruiting efforts.
In using Zoom and other online platforms, we have experienced the benefits of reaching out to a broader community while also providing the convenience of remote access to all our events. COVID-19 has interfered in the way that we usually do business; however, the NSU AMCP chapter was proactive in the planning and restructuring of their yearly plan.
The NSU AMCP student chapter is dedicated to providing the NSU pharmacy students with opportunities to learn about managed care pharmacy while also building skills that can be leveraged in their future as a pharmacist. The success that we have experienced till now serves as evidence that student organizations can still operate their organizations successfully despite the pandemic's challenges.
The authors would like to thank Peter M. Gannett, PhD, for his peer review of this article.