Meds Made Simple See the Pharmacist Right in Your Doctor’s Office

Pharmaceuticals are extremely useful in treating illness. However, there can also be a lot of complications. Drug interactions, insurance coverage, and regular monitoring are just a few of the challenges that come along with medications.

North Ottawa Medical Group (NOMG) Internal Medicine now offers a solution. “We achieved the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) designation about a year ago,” says Connie Gnegy, Executive Director of Physician Practices at NOCHS. “We’re accepting lower fees for visits in exchange for incentives to provide the highest quality of care and service. We’re using those incentive dollars to provide the ‘extras’ patients need. One of our more innovative services involves having a pharmacist integrated into our physician office for patient and provider consultations.”

How does it work? Dr. Matthew Schoeck of NOMG Internal Medicine explains. “As patients get older, their medical needs can become more complex. Medications such as blood thinners and insulin must be carefully regulated to ensure that they are working properly. We have a pharmacist in our office several days each week. The pharmacist can work with the patient to evaluate all medications and make recommendations about what to eliminate or change. He or she can also review lab results and recommend dosage or medication changes. This is very helpful for patients and providers alike, allowing us real-time access to the pharmacist’s expertise.”

This is more than a feel-good service. It’s about quality care. “We can measure the effectiveness of our work,” continues Dr. Schoeck. “For example, we can look at a three-month average blood sugar for a patient. If it is well-controlled, then we are achieving the best outcome.”

This relationship offers pharmacists a chance to get out from behind the counter and know patients in a different, more meaningful way. NOCHS pharmacist Samantha Johnson spends two half days each week at the Internal Medicine practice. “It has been great to interact with patients,” she notes. “Being in the
doctor’s office also allows me to have frequent consultations with physicians to assist with medication management.”

Samantha knows how important this service is to patients and their families. “Pharmacists are trained to look specifically at drug interactions, dosing and potential treatment duplications,” she says. “It can be complicated. Sometimes there’s a new medication, or we need to evaluate the options for a less expensive drug. Sometimes we need to pay close attention to dosing in order to get the result we need.
Post-surgical medications, or drugs for specific conditions such as diabetes, can also require careful evaluation and monitoring. I help the physicians with the complex work of evaluating the patient and his or her medications so that we get the best result.”

“We are pioneers in this effort,” says Connie. “Integrating a pharmacist into the physicians’ office is very innovative. We believe that it is an important part of providing team-based care to our patients. It improves communication among all the people involved in patient care, and will help patients achieve better health outcomes.”

If you are looking for a health care provider, we invite you to call NOMG Internal Medicine at (616) 844-4701.

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