By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
Many supermarket dietitians work with their pharmacy department on projects relating to disease management but a deeper understanding of the clinical side of the pharmacy business can help identify additional opportunities for meeting customers’ health and wellness needs and expand community outreach. The following interview with Megan Kappes, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at Meijer provides details about her accountabilities and offers suggestions on ways retail RDs and pharmacists can work together to drive business success.
What are the key responsibilities of your function?
As a Meijer Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, I am responsible for training, developing and coaching Meijer pharmacists, pharmacy interns and pharmacy technicians in all clinical services that Meijer offers their patients. These programs include developing and executing programs to increase patient adherence, administration of immunizations, disease state management, medication therapy management and health screening services. In addition, my role expands to partnering with key health care professionals within Meijer as well as the community at-large to promote health and wellness.
What do retail RDs need to understand about your role to be an effective partner with you?
Retail RDs are an important part of the health care community in relationship to my role as well as all pharmacists. The most effective way I can partner with a RD is through co-networking in the community with not only other health care professionals (HCPs) such as doctors, nurses, etc., but non-profit organizations such as the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association and Arthritis Foundation. By making connections together to promote health and wellness, dietitians and pharmacists can reach more patients.
What is a day-in-the-life like for you?
As a Regional Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, I cover a territory of 43 Meijer Pharmacy stores across 5 markets in 3 states. Every day I visit our stores to ensure proper execution of Meijer Pharmacy goals and services. I spend time developing relationships with our pharmacy team members through education and training as well as support through motivational tactics. Much of my position is encouragement and a source of expertise in our services. My day also involves working with the other HCPs in the field to set up opportunities for both organizations to interact with each other.
What are the top three skills needed to be successful in retail from your perspective?
Great communication skills, an outgoing personality and responsive listening skills.
What factors are most important to you in strategic partnerships? Are they different between internal and external partnerships?
The most important factors in strategic partnerships, be it internal or external, is the ability to be flexible and accommodating by being respectful of the business needs of both parties.
What factors do you consider when determining what is important to promote to consumers through the pharmacy?
It is very important to ensure that what we promote is relevant and important to the patient/consumer. Not all of our services or goals may be necessary or appropriate for the other party, therefore knowing the customer needs prior to engagement is key.
What does success look like for programs that you execute?
Success for Meijer Clinical Services is determined and measured in many ways. First, we consider our patient continued health as our top priority. We measure that through their adherence to their most important medications through timely refills and medical review of their prescriptions. We also look at medication therapy management recommendations to physicians and evaluate acceptance rates of both the patient and physician, along with immunization acceptance rates.
What is your educational and work background?
I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from the University of Cincinnati, am a Registered Pharmacist licensed in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. I am an American Pharmacist Immunization Trainer and an American Heart Association CPR and AED Trainer. I have worked for Meijer Pharmacy as a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist since 2009. Previous to that I was a Meijer Pharmacy Team Leader, Staff Pharmacist and Relief Pharmacist.