What Do Pediatric and Geriatric Patients Have In Common?

Category: Patient Engagement Written by Dr. Charles Shively / February 26, 2015


Millennial mothers and elder caregivers know. When there is a need to provide odd-tasting medications to their children or age-challenged dependents, they go to their independent pharmacy ... and often use social media to send the success stories of how the adjusted taste improved adherence ...and re-tweet or re-pin their delight. Are you surprised that techno-elders who need comfortable tasting meds also have joined the social media? Who is the winner in these scenarios? Of course, it's the child, the mother, the elder and the independent pharmacy which provided the flavored medication.

While visiting independent pharmacies on the just initiated www.AskDrS.org Pharmacy Initiative Healthcare Advocate Tour, I've learned from the pharmacy owners that using FlavoRX liquid flavorings for odd tasting meds (Tamiflu...among others) is an amazing ROI (return on investment) opportunity. Is this also an opportunity for increased social media acknowledgment of service distribution and insuring customer/patient retention? The pharmacy owners with which I spoke voiced a "Yes, you bet!".

The demand for patient/customer engagement today has...for many older pharmacists...revived the high level of engagement that was involved in the 1980's before insurance ajudications became such a time-consuming part of pharmacy workflow. Enjoyable conversations with patient/customers were commonplace in the 1980's and not only discussed personalized healthcare but offered...for the individual... the first entrance into the healthcare system for various health problems.


As a pharmacist, I've often used the FlavoRX system to adjust the foul taste of various liquid meds for children and geriatric patients (yes...older folks are a market for ROI). These taste adjustments were actually a "personalization" for the patient/customer...far more than just adding flavoring for a bad-tasting medication. This is a great way to deliver extraordinary customer care. Today pharmacists have an opportunity for increased patient engagement and support to the personalized approach for medication delivery. Patient engagement today is really about patient personalization. Areas of pharmacist involvement to meet insurer-demanded performance Star-Ratings through improved adherence levels, MTM (medication therapy management) requirements and preferred monthly distribution of any patient's meds at one time are actually patient personalization activities. Although patient engagement (personalization?) has increased, this engagement effort has however come at the expense of pharmacy workflow demands. Time to complete...accurately...the necessary medication dispensing steps is at a premium.


Importantly, with my visits to independent pharmacies and discussions with pharmacy owners, I've re-assessed how I previously added the appropriate amount of taste changer and oft time sweetener with flavor to mask the odd taste of the prescribed med. Although appropriate volumes of added FlavoRX adjusted ingredients based upon the FlavoRX booklet were offered, I suspect manual errors may well have happened. Why is it the request to adjust a prescription during the 5 o' clock rush can always occur? Although these "errors" in adjustment may not have impacted the efficacy or potency of the medication (often a teaspoonful or 5 cc dose), pharmacists, upon reflection, know that the exact concentration of medication wasn't being delivered to the patient (child , adult or elder).

When using the Fillmaster Plus, reconstitution for antibiotics like amoxicillin, amox/clav, azithromycin or Tamiflu... at the scan of a medication barcode... means one doesn't have to worry about dialing in the correct amount of water with a graduated cylinder or gravity fed system. And because the devices use a water filtration system, one doesn't have to mess with changing out gallons of water. Cross-contamination is eliminated.

One independent pharmacy visited on this Healthcare Advocate Tour had purchased the digital-based FillMaster Plus which accurately calculates, dispenses and completes the taste adjustment to liquid meds in just 45 seconds. At the 5 PM rush when millennial Moms are coming through the drive-thru with a request for watermelon adjust to the called-in prescription for their 3 year old, the 45 second event goes on while another workflow event is completed. In contrast, manual completion of the flavoring process can take up to 3 minutes or more as long as everything goes without a "hitch".


In today's fast-paced pharmacy environ, any assist to reducing the time for completion and dispensing of an accurate prescription is valued. Whether it be automated pharmacy dispensing of solids or flavored liquids just mixed (compounded?), the accurate involvement of digital technology is now a demanded value...and the customers tweet about it. We all know patients...both pediatric and geriatric...show their delight of adjusted taste for their necessary medications in different ways. The pharmacist not only experiences the caring thank you for his/her efforts but sees an improvement in operational ROI. This is a win-win situation...Wouldn't You Agree?

Thank for sharing!

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