The Weekly Roundup: Mental Health Awareness (10.12.18)

October 12, 2018 | Pamela Youngberg Dickson

A provocative piece in Forbes this week suggested that illnesses related to mental health are one of the most common disabilities in the workplace and that we should encourage more discussion about it—well past “World Mental Health Day,” which occurred on Wednesday. According to the World Health Organization, about half of all mental illness begins by age 14, which makes developing coping strategies at a young age all the more important. But the problem is by no means isolated to any one age group. The impact of mental illness and its treatment in the workforce is also staggering. Pharmacy patients on certain medications or with a chronic illness are especially at risk. A recent study published by the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry looked at the high incidence of arthritis alongside depression in adults over 50 years of age. As you’d expect, the pharmacist’s role is growing. Check out these ideas on collaboration and these guidelines for screening and treatment.

Here are a few other stories that might be of interest:

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The Weekly Roundup: Smoking Cessation (10.5.18)

October 06, 2018 | Pamela Youngberg Dickson

The FDA made headlines this week with its surprise visit to e-cigarette powerhouse Juul, seizing thousands of pages of documents relating to marketing practices, particularly those aimed at teens. Five brands combine to represent 97 percent of the US market for e-cigarettes, and the FDA—who is only recently figuring out how to handle its regulatory authority over the product—is concerned about the smooth delivery of nicotine (from nicotine salts) and kid-friendly flavors, like cotton candy and peanut butter cup. The latest dust-up is a good reminder to pharmacists that e-cigarettes are not a recommended first-line approach for smoking cessation programs. Here are some insights into getting a program started in your pharmacy if you haven’t already done so, and check out this smoking cessation pilot program in West Virginia for more inspiration.   

Here are a few other stories that might be of interest:

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The Weekly Roundup: Advocacy (9.28.18)

September 28, 2018 | Pamela Youngberg Dickson

Last week, the Senate passed the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act (S. 2554), swiftly followed by the House this week. The bill was designed to prevent gag clauses from limiting a pharmacist’s ability to tell patients if they will pay less out of pocket than with insurance. One of the bill’s authors, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), says it is “counterintuitive” for prescriptions to be cheaper if paid with a debit card rather than an insurance card, and the bill has bipartisan support. Similar bills have been presented at the state level. In fact, check out some of the state-level advocacy tracking available here. It’s the result of one of many recent advocacy efforts in the pharmacy space, including a ban on retroactive DIR fees and pharmacy choice legislation that is currently stuck in committee and is likely to reemerge next session. Model PBM legislation is available here—and there’s plenty of time to reach out to your legislators in advance of next session. Are you a pharmacist interested in taking more direct action? Run for office

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Smart-Take: Prostate Cancer

September 21, 2018 | Pamela Youngberg Dickson

One in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime and it is the second most common cancer among men, behind only skin cancer. To help spread awareness of its risks and treatment, we've created another installation for our Smart-Take series—a downloadable page of health tips and information gathered on a range of topics that you can post in your stores.

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The Weekly Roundup: Disaster Preparedness (9.14.18)

September 15, 2018 | Pamela Youngberg Dickson

September is National Preparedness Month. As we watched the southeast cowed by the landfall of Hurricane Florence this week, and as massive typhoons continue to strike in the Pacific, we’re reminded of the important role pharmacists play in helping our communities cope with natural disasters and other events—like pandemic or loss of power, for example—that impact care delivery. Have a plan, and make sure your employees are all educated on it. Many individual state pharmacy associations, like this one in Florida, provide state-specific advice. Or, crosscheck your plan against this disaster planning checklist from the National Community Pharmacists Association. Pharmacies that are not in the danger-zone can help, too, by hosting donation drives like this one in Louisiana

Here are a few other stories that might be of interest:

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The Weekly Roundup: Collaboration (8.31.18)

August 31, 2018 | Pamela Youngberg Dickson

There is little doubt the relationship between the pharmacist and physician is rapidly evolving into one of greater collaboration and, hopefully, mutual respect. Recently, the results of a Virginia-based health system project that targeted multiple chronic conditions got some attention: it demonstrated significant improvements in both patient care and ROI when physicians and pharmacists collaborate. At a multispecialty physician group in New Jersey, pharmacists are relied upon to help physicians meet quality metrics critical to value-based payment systems. Directors at the facility say they connected pharmacy to their team to do more than influence value-based care; it’s also “saved the organization money, brought about standardization, and raised the level of trust and respect others have for pharmacists.”

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The Weekly Roundup: HIV Care and the Pharmacy (8.24.18)

August 24, 2018 | Pamela Youngberg Dickson

Significant advances in HIV treatment—including understanding and educating the populace about transmission and developing public health approaches to serve high-risk populations—have resulted in a dramatic change in disease progression. From an estimated 130,000 cases annually since reporting began in 1981, significant strides were made initially in addressing the epidemic, and reported cases dropped significantly by 2000. That number has remained fairly stagnant, though, and pharmacists have been called upon to lend a hand. Guidelines for pharmacy’s role in the early-2000s can be found and elaborated on here. But a recent study published in Medicinerevealed that there is a still a long way to go—especially when it comes to improving screening rates. Here are a few tips on how pharmacists can help. Meanwhile, drug makers continue to develop new protocols in the hope that treatment will be easier, more effective, and (elephant in the room) presumably cheaper—eventually.

Here are a few other stories that might be of interest:

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The Weekly Roundup: Disruptive Business Ideas (8.17.18)

August 17, 2018 | Pamela Youngberg Dickson

Feeling stuck? Inspiration is where you find it. You might enjoy one of my favorite sources for “big ideas” in this podcast series on disruption, a compendium of advice from leaders across multiple industries who have shared ideas that changed the way they did business, how they’ve performed as leaders, or that shifted their view of success. Take this interview with Alison Levine, for example. Levine is a former investment advisor and alpinist who has climbed the highest mountains on seven continents and skied to both the North and South Poles. She knows a little something about risk and reward. Or check out these thoughts from Peter Bregman on listening and communication: “Have a meaningful conversation and get to the point. If we’re willing to feel anything [including the discomfort of listening to someone you disagree with], then we can do anything.” This very quick read on staying “caught up” at work from Harvard Business Review might hit close to home. (The publication’s daily management tips sometimes hit the spot, too.) And finally, we would be remiss if we neglected this fount of inspiration from the late, great Queen of Soul

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