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Excellence in Pharmacy Practice: Pardi focuses on interacting with, educating patients

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ILION, N.Y. — For Steve Pardi of Medicine Shoppe, his career choice seemed to predetermine that he would be taking care of patients. “I liked biology and chemistry and wanted to pursue something in the health care field,” he says.

There was also an influential mentor who helped him on his career path. “The most influential pharmacist I have worked with is Fidele Fanelli from Randall’s Pharmacy in New Hartford, N.Y. Phil showed me by example how to put the customer/patient first. Everything was always about excellent customer service,” Steve says.

“Treat the customer the way you would want to be treated,” he would say, pretty simple advice with a profound impact. This mentality when carried through the spectrum of patient care always leads to improved patient understanding and clinical outcomes. “Fill every script as if it was for your mother and you’ll be doing the right thing for your patient,” he adds.

Steve’s wife Colleen, who also works at the store says the pandemic changed the pharmacy’s operations. “At the onset of the pandemic, we had to modify the physical aspects of our pharmacy by putting up barriers between the patients and the pharmacy employees, as well as social distancing. Employees were required to be masked, gloved, social distanced and sanitized on a regularly scheduled basis. Patients were required to mask and social distance. Overall the process of protecting our employees and patients went over well, although we did experience some push back from each. We were no longer able to shake the patient’s hand nor give them a much needed hug,” she explains.

Steve says that as for the prescription deliveries the pharmacy had to provide contact-free transactions, which required a significant change in the driver’s routine, and severely limited the much needed interaction between the driver and the patient. “For some patients, our caring delivery driver’s chat with them is the only socialization they have.”

He adds that the pandemic allowed the pharmacy to expand the scope of its pharmacy services to include COVID testing, COVID vaccination and monoclonal antibody therapeutics. “The public responded overwhelmingly well to their COVID testing, vaccinations and monoclonal antibody therapeutics. They were very thankful that we offered these services in our area. For the monoclonal antibody therapy, we were the only pharmacy in central New York offering treatments,” he says.

Colleen explains that they also streamlined the routine work by using a workflow program and enrolling patients in their SYNC program as well as modifying their telephone options. “That freed up time for additional patient interaction and MTMs as well as glucose and blood pressure monitoring and education.”

Steve adds that what he finds most gratifying is educating the patient and says that having the time to interact with them has always been his main focus and the most gratifying service she provides.

The pharmacy provides MTM services as well as COVID testing, vaccinations, monoclonal antibody treatments and prophylaxis. “We provide both flu and COVID vaccination clinics in our store as well as at businesses worksites. Our store and Wellness Center is geographically located dead center of the state of New York, offering patient’s the ability to receive treatment without having to drive too far. Our patients have been beyond thankful for these services.”

Steve points out that they work with other health care professionals by informing and discussing the MTM results for a patient with their provider. Drug therapy choices are discussed and entered into an e-care plan. With the introduction of the COVID antivirals, discussion between the pharmacist and the provider is crucial in deciding whether a patient would benefit more from the antiviral or the monoclonal antibody treatment as well as what, if any, temporary medication changes need to be made.”

Steve notes that it all comes back to education. “Education of the patient is essential. We have had a private consultation room since the pharmacy was built 23 years ago. Patients are educated about their new medications and/or the change of other drug therapies. In addition, providing MTMs allows us an additional opportunity to educate the patient and answer any questions they may have about their current health treatment and any potential options available to them. We also provide education on the proper use of blood pressure machines, glucose monitors and recording of their readings. We discuss at what figures the patient should contact their provider or call 911.”

He says his favorite part of the job is interacting with the patient, educating them on the drug therapy choices, answering their questions and knowing that they are leaving the pharmacy with an understanding of what medications they’re taking and the reason they are taking them.

“An anecdote that comes to mind is when I treated a homebound 90-year-old woman with subcutaneous monoclonal antibody RegenCov. I had to climb into bed with her, as she was barely conscious and incapacitated. After receiving the treatment, the woman was able to open her eyes and actually waived to me as I left! The family members present were overwhelmed with gratitude


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