Introducing Leo Smith – one of the best interns you’ll ever meet!
Women Pharmacist Day was founded to celebrate the contributions women pharmacists make every day in providing quality care to communities across the country. It is observed on the twelfth day of National Pharmacists Month to honor the important role of Elizabeth Gooking Greenleaf, the first female pharmacist in the United States, who also juggled the needs of 12 children!
We’re lucky to have Katie on our clinical team as the manager of pharmacy services! Katie started her career as a high school chemistry teacher, but hoped to further her knowledge in a graduate school program. She then attended the USC School of Pharmacy to earn her PharmD degree and worked in retail pharmacy for eight years before joining us. To learn more about Katie, we asked her a few questions.
Ever since fifth grade when I learned what a doctorate was, I had wanted to get a some sort of higher degree. I think part of it was because I enjoy challenges (I played sports through high school and college) and the other part was simply because I enjoy learning. I remember as a kid wondering about Tylenol: How did my body know that the Tylenol was for fever when I had a fever? Conversely, when I took Tylenol for a bruise or bump, how did my body know to fix that pain, but not pain from another part of my body? My grandma encouraged me to become a pharmacist because she knew how much I enjoyed helping people and because I was always asking her about her medicines.
As manager of pharmacy services, I review prior authorizations with the mindset of trying to find a clinically effective and cost-effective alternative drugs for members. I also calculate how much we are currently saving clients through our clinical programs. By calculating potential savings for clients, I am able to show the value of programs such as our Standard Exclusion, Rare Disease Exclusion, Prior Authorization, Vectra DA, GeneSight, and Formulary Exclusion programs. I also work with our Utilization Management Committee to manage which drugs will be placed into which clinical program.
Practicing pharmacy in a retail setting involves a lot of rule following and compliance. At PharmAvail, I have a lot of freedom in evaluating whether or not a drug is clinically appropriate rather than focusing on whether the drug meets certain requirements on the prescription pad. At PharmAvail, your role as a pharmacist is the big picture and how a particular drug will affect many people, while in the retail setting your focus is more on individuals. Both roles are very valuable, but very different.
I had never realized the large scale impact we make in lowering healthcare and drug costs. When working on cost avoidance reports, it always thrills me to see how much money we are saving our clients. I like to think about not only the fact that we are saving money, but also the fact that resources are allocated appropriately. I love working with a team of dedicated healthcare professionals in a nontraditional setting that prioritizes patient safety while saving our clients so much money.