Today I am sharing the story of Amy Panza, the founder of Medformation, LLC. We connected on LinkedIn and I was interested in learning more about her vision for "bridging the gap" between hospital discharge and community pharmacy. My goal is to share ideas and opportunities for pharmacists that want to break away from the traditional career path and create new clinical services. I hope that you will be inspired by Amy's story.
Amy created MedFormation, LLC (http://helpmymeds.com) because she saw the growing need for patients to have an informed and complete knowledge of their medications post-hospital discharge. Throughout her career, Amy has seen firsthand the dangers that exist in the pharmacy marketplace. Many patients see multiple specialists, who frequently aren’t communicating with one another. Amy’s goal is to bridge the gap created by transitions of care by offering effective solutions to the vulnerable population that is most at risk for hospital readmissions due to adverse drug events.
Amy received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2001 from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy. In her final year of studies, she was awarded the Nebraska Pharmacists Student of the Year award. In 2011, well into her career, she was awarded the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy Preceptor of the Year award. Recently she completed her Medication Therapy Management Review Certificate from the American Pharmacists Association in June of 2014.
Q: How did you get started?
A: About a year and a half ago, I was working in the Emergency Department of the University of Colorado Medical Center. I saw a great need in helping the patient transition from the inpatient setting back to home. The transition of care between hospital discharge and filling the newly prescribed medications at the patient’s outpatient pharmacy was where I saw that pharmacists could be the most beneficial. My goal is to bridge the gap between discharge and community pharmacy, serving as an “in-home” clinical pharmacist.
Q: How can pharmacists help to guide patients through care transitions?
A: Medformation offers consulting services to local community pharmacies, home health agencies and directly to the patient’s family caregivers. Once a consult is requested, usually within 24 hours of hospital discharge if possible, I will meet the patient in their home and begin the clinical assessment process. Then an updated medication reconciliation list will be sent to each of the patients’ providers. It is very important to get everyone back on the same page after a big transition of care such as a hospital discharge.
Q: In your opinion, what is one area in which pharmacists can make a huge difference for patients?
A: Due to mail order mandates, many patients are forced to use multiple pharmacies. This limits a pharmacist’s ability to have the entire clinical picture and complete drug list for a patient. It also makes identifying significant drug interactions much more difficult. Patients are using more natural products and supplements than ever before. High powered OTC products are also becoming increasingly insidious. In 2014, there were 10 million hospital visits due to medication related problems and this cost the industry $177 billion dollars. There is a need to do better as an industry and to keep patients safer and healthier: MedFormation is providing this improvement in care.
Q: How are you marketing your services to patients and caregivers?
A: I enjoy getting out into the community and speaking with local senior care groups, networking with other providers at health care events and really being active in my community. My business is a fee-for-service so most often I am contacted by family members or home health agencies that have identified a need for pharmacist-led medication interventions.
Q: How has creating your own business changed your life and career?
A: I created my business because the job that I wanted didn’t yet exist! I have experienced so much since graduation and achieved so many of the goals that I had set for myself, it was natural for me to feel that I was being called to use my skills in a different way. Here I was with extensive knowledge of the business of pharmacy from my time in management and also still a yearning for offering clinical services to patients who I knew needed me the most. Entrepreneurship allowed me to design the career that I wanted and create the progressive business that I hope will help to advance the profession in a positive way.
My hope is that sharing the stories of inspiring pharmacist-entrepreneurs “pharmapreneurs” will to encourage others to think outside of the “big-box” when it comes to choosing a pharmacy career. If you would like to recommend an interview with a pharmapreneur who is thinking big and doing interesting work outside of a normal scope of practice, I encourage you to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Blair Green Thielemier, PharmD is an independent MTM consultant pharmacist. She is the founder of BT Pharmacy Consulting, LLC. and works with pharmacists to create and build clinical services programs. More information about Dr. Thielemier and BT Pharmacy Consulting, LLC can be found at http://btpharmacyconsulting.com