We’ve talked about the impact of COVID-19 on community pharmacists, along with their creative, dedicated workarounds to keep serving patients. But nothing helps like hearing what a fellow pharmacist is actually doing – let’s see how Moundsville Pharmacy has adapted its workflow.
Located in West Virginia about 75 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, Moundsville Pharmacy was founded almost 40 years ago. It has grown into a model for prescription synchronization and Medication Therapy Management (MTM). The pharmacy also offers compounding, HME/DME, immunizations, diabetes education, and a few long-term care contracts. Owner Jason Turner, Pharm.D., began his training at this pharmacy with mentor Roger Cole, R.Ph., and it was here that he realized his passion for independent pharmacy practice and business ownership.
“Yes, We Have Certainly Made Some Changes”
While acknowledging the reality that Coronavirus concerns have impacted operations, Jason emphasized his pride in the pharmacy team’s efforts. He noted that the circumstances have created additional tasks, including disinfecting, frequent handwashing, and designating workstations. But in the face of increased work, the entire team has been engaged and motivated to offer the best service to the community. “Truly our team is doing an outstanding job,” Jason commented.
On March 17, the pharmacy, like many others, went to drive-thru only service. Jason shared that he and his staff talked about it as a team before making the decision. “This was a big relief for our staff as many were concerned about exposure,” he said. “I believe our drive-thru service is the best we could offer.”
Jason gave us a run-through of how Moundsville Pharmacy is running its drive thru:
- One technician remains outside the pharmacy and interacts from a safe distance with every patient to identify his or her needs.
- The outside technician uses a two-way radio to communicate patient requests to a technician inside the pharmacy, who is pulling bags from will-call, gathering OTC items, and resolving issues.
- Once the patient’s order is confirmed “ready for checkout,” he or she is directed to enter one of the pharmacy’s two drive-thru lanes.
- If a patient’s medication is not ready, he or she is asked to park; they are released to the drive thru once their order is ready.
Jason noted that they’ve also had an increase in home delivery requests that is keeping them busy.
Positive Patient Feedback
Jason remarked that patients have been very understanding of the changes to service necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. “They’ve been very kind with their words on Facebook,” he said – which is consistent with feedback QS/1 is receiving on its #PharmacyHeroes social campaign. It helps that Jason can honestly say both patients and staff appreciate the drive-thru only model. “Overall, our processes have been very smooth and effective in providing the highest level of customer service.”
Like many other community pharmacists, Jason was happy to share how he and his team are adapting and carrying on. The hope is that sharing personal experiences and best practices will keep other pharmacies open and serving patients regardless of the crisis. In similar efforts, the Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network (CPESN®) offers COVID-19 Practice Pearl Social Media Submissions, and the NCPA® has recorded a town hall with 13 NCPA member owners from around the country sharing what they’re doing with their operations, products, services, and sales right now (Part 1 and Part 2). As Jason sums it up, “While there have been many stresses throughout this COVID-19 event, I am very proud to say that taking care of patients and meeting their expectations has not been one of them.”