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How A Podcast May Improve Patient Care

March 05, 2018

Dr. Stuart T. Haines and colleagues from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy recently launched PharmacyForward, a new podcast that features interviews with pharmacy experts and leaders who discuss how pharmacists can improve the way they practice and care for patients.

The podcast, with a tagline of “Transforming Knowledge Into Action,” is an effective way to engage and motivate pharmacy professionals. It’s also an enduring format — pharmacists will be able to search the online library of episodes for advice they can apply in their practice settings.

Dr. Haines said the episodes intentionally run between 14 and 18 minutes, so audiences can listen to an entire episode during their morning or evening commutes. He hopes to use the podcast to tap into the expertise of pharmacy’s movers and shakers in order to give pharmacists the advice they need to put their knowledge into practice.

Why did you decide there was demand for a pharmacy podcast?

Here at the Mississippi School of Pharmacy, we conduct annual educational needs assessment for pharmacists in the state in order to know what kinds of programs we should offer in the upcoming year. During last year’s session, pharmacists said they had vague notions of how to advance their practice. They also said it’s often difficult for them to find mentors and they aren’t aware of other pharmacy professionals’ success stories. We thought a podcast would reach a bigger audience and would be the best format to share useful information with pharmacists who want to advance their practice and connect them with other pharmacists who have successfully done so. 

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AT THE MIC Dr. Laurie Fleming, Dr. Joshua Fleming, and Dr. Stuart T. Haines get ready to tape an episode of PharmacyForward, the podcast that provides pharmacists with practice advice they can use.

What types of topics are discussed on the podcast?

We released the first 3 episodes in January and our plan is to create groups of 3 themed podcasts during which we interview experts who bring different viewpoints to the issue being discussed. The first 3 podcasts were about building relationship to build a pharmacy practice. The subsequent 3-episode segments will be about quality measures in pharmacy, mobile health and how applications are advancing patient care, and implementing patient care processes in various pharmacy settings. Themes are about practice management issues, not therapeutics. We wanted to focus on topics that aren’t often covered in continuing education programs. Our hope is to provide examples of successful pharmacy professionals and the lessons they learned as they’ve advanced their practices. We want to highlight the practical application of the advice they provide.

Do you try to get guests who practice in various practice settings, from community pharmacies to inpatient hospitals?

Yes, very purposefully. We speak to guests from different kinds of clinical settings — whatever makes logical sense for the podcast’s theme. For example, our next podcast will cover quality pharmacy care and will feature Laura Cranston, the chief executive officer of the Pharmacy Quality Alliance. We also spoke to Troy Trygstad, executive director of the Community Pharmacist Enhanced Services Network, who brought a strong community ambulatory care perspective to the conversation.

We’re just wrapping up our April interview, which features pharmacy professionals from Johns Hopkins Hospital who discuss quality measurement and improvement in the acute care setting. We’re trying to have a breadth of different voices, so whoever listens to the podcast finds commonality with the guests. Pharmacists often face the same issues, no matter where they practice, but there are often unique ways, methods, or strategies to address them in various settings.

What topics do you think have been most useful to the podcast’s listeners? 

There’s been a few. We’ve discussed making the distinction between transactional and anticipatory relationships. When you’re in an anticipatory relationship, you understand the other person so well that you anticipate what they need or want. In a transactional relationship, you wait until they ask. Whether pharmacists work in a team-based practice or community setting, their professional relationships flourish when they anticipate the needs of their colleagues.

We’ve also discussed how to optimize relationships with physicians and interact with them in an efficient manner when they’re not busy caring for patients. It’s important to be mindful about when physicians are available to listen and answer clinical care questions.

What feedback have you received from your audience?

One basic science faculty member told me he likes listening to the podcasts because he’s not familiar with pharmacy and the discussions help him understand what goes on in real-world practice. A pharmacy resident shared that the podcasts cover inspiring stories that make him want to do more in his practice after he completes his residency. Those are great messages to receive because those are the exact reasons we’re doing the podcast—to inform, motivate, and inspire people.

Find the PharmacyForward podcast at:

Dan Cook

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