The roles of specialist pharmacists have developed in new and exciting ways in recent years, and these changes have had a direct impact on health outcomes for all specialist patients, including HIV-positive patients. Our integration into the healthcare team has allowed us to directly engage patients with new technologies and stand by their side as advocates, creating a better future for them and improving their care.
Access to data is one of the advantages of a specialized healthcare system-based pharmacy. Thanks to our easily accessible healthcare system’s electronic medical records system, I can see my patients’ labs and all new drug updates quickly and easily.
If there is a problem, I’m just one click away from directly contacting members of the clinic team. Whether it is a patient needing help applying for insurance with a social worker or having a drug interaction, I can easily come into contact with doctors, nurses, pharmacists responsible for management of pharmacotherapy and social workers to resolve any problem.
Communication between members of each patient’s care team is also a proven factor in improving patient care. For example, I have the unique opportunity to attend monthly meetings with our infectious disease clinic, which helps me learn more about their needs and how our pharmacy can continually improve the care of our patients. common patients.
We regularly communicate about the barriers our patients face in accessing their medications and work closely together to help patients be successful. The fundamental relationship I have with the clinic eliminates delays in care and promotes effective problem solving.
The health system infrastructure also helps us manage office work and financial aid as needed. In the specialist pharmacy, we have dedicated staff only for patients receiving expensive PrEP / PEP / HIV drugs.
Our experts navigate the often arduous process of obtaining prior authorizations from insurance and work with patients in need of additional funding with grants or ADAP. They also help with requests for free drug programs with manufacturers and provide same-day courier service to the metro and surrounding areas to avoid delays in starting treatment.
Patients who have been diagnosed with HIV or other serious illnesses should not bear the burden of administrative work alone, which is often the case with patients who use a retail pharmacy. By providing support to get their medications as easily as possible, we can improve medication adherence and maximize medication effectiveness by keeping patients on the correct schedules and dosages.
Affiliation with a renowned healthcare system enables Fairview Specialty Pharmacy to maintain the highest quality standards and certifications in the industry. We have achieved and maintain URAC certification, Joint Commission accreditation and most recently we were selected as Specialty Pharmacy of the Year by the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP).
Fairview is also investing in its pharmacists. I am constantly encouraged to engage in professional development where I can expand my knowledge of HIV through lectures and AAHIVP certification, while sharing new ideas with my colleagues.
In addition to continuously improving the quality of our care, our pharmacy strives to implement the latest technology. Providing patients with multiple options for contacting the pharmacy and making communication as easy as possible helps ensure there are no gaps in treatment.
We have extended our communication from simple phone call and online ordering to real-time texting with pharmacy staff, which is another convenient and private option. There is always a stigma around HIV, so having the option to text the pharmacy is a great opportunity to engage with patients who otherwise might not have felt comfortable on the phone. We should always strive to provide excellent healthcare to our patients in a simple and confidential manner.
By working directly with patients and handling each case very closely, we develop a strong bond with the HIV community. I have witnessed the progress made by activists in the HIV community pushing for better patient care and making us better as health care providers.
They are the ones who speak out about gaps in care and inspire change with local legislatures and health care providers. I was personally motivated to reach out to local lawmakers myself to discuss the issues I see affecting my patients seeking HIV care at the pharmacy.
When I started in pharmacy in the early 2000s, I could never have predicted how quickly treatment for HIV would evolve into the drugs we have today. I have traveled through many practice settings and learned that great patient care means patient-centered care.
Being an HIV pharmacist today means listening to advocates to see how I can improve my part of the healthcare puzzle, working as a team to keep patients healthy, and staying actively engaged in learning as the news unfolds. Advances in HIV treatment are bringing us one day closer to a cure. Fortunately, the support structure of a health system-based specialty pharmacy has allowed me to have a more effective impact on patient care and achieve more positive outcomes through collaboration, technology and best resources available for HIV treatment.
About the Author
Ann Harty, AAHIVP, is a Pharmacist Specialist at Fairview Health Services, specializing in HIV medications.