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Bridging the Continuity-of-Care Gap

Young Pharmacist Melds Different Patient-Care Roles

Dec 18, 2009

Elaine Ladd cuts the ribbon at the grand opening of the Ladd Family Pharmacy, the only independent ambulatory care pharmacy in Boise, Idaho.

ELAINE LADD, Pharm.D., BCPS, is a busy woman.

As a clinical pharmacy specialist at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho, Ladd rounds with fellow healthcare professionals as part of a medical team.

As a clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice at Idaho State University (ISU) College of Pharmacy, she educates students on therapeutic options.

And, as owner of Ladd Family Pharmacy, the only independent ambulatory care pharmacy in Boise, she provides medication therapy management (MTM) services to her patients.

Ladd has discovered professional success along the continuum of care.

Educating, Empowering Patients

By counseling patients in both the hospital and in her pharmacy, the new practitioner said she is more effective in ensuring that patients receive the proper medication therapies and that they are educated about the medicines they take.

“My staff and I are cheerleaders, educating patients and empowering them to take control of their disease states,” Ladd said. “It’s a family here, and we want patients to know that we care.”

Ladd Family Pharmacy offers an on-site MTM clinic, compounding services, home delivery of prescriptions by bicycle couriers, and free exercise classes.

Ladd’s mentor of several years, ASHP President Kevin J. Colgan, M.A., FASHP, strongly supports her uncommon endeavor, which he believes provides distinct services to optimize patients’ therapeutic outcomes.

“I think the clincher for me is that Elaine is using this pharmacy to develop sustainable patient programs,” he said. “I think we all can learn a great deal from Elaine’s approach to patient care.”

MTM Clinic a Success

Ladd’s MTM clinic has been a particular success. Customers are asked to schedule a free consultation at the clinic if they take more than two medications for a condition, were prescribed eight medications in a three-month period, or spend more than $4,000 a year on medications.

Staff pharmacists review the patients’ medication histories, screen for needed vaccinations, inquire about drug interactions, monitor medication use, and administer medicines.

The pharmacy also offers rotations for ISU pharmacy students, who learn about compounding, disease management, and other topics. In July, the pharmacy plans to host its first pharmacy resident. Ladd plans to introduce additional MTM clinics for diabetes, hypertension, and lipidemia.

Improving Health with Exercise, Education

Upstairs, customers stretch during free yoga and Pilates classes or attend educational seminars on managing diabetes and weight loss. Nurse practitioners and ISU students conduct health fairs on smoking cessation, heartburn awareness, diabetes, and skincare
screenings. Down the hall, Ladd’s husband, Kip, works in the office as the pharmacy’s business manager.

Patients from Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, where Elaine Ladd works as a clinical specialist, often come to her MTM clinic for follow-up medication counseling.

Staff at the college are impressed with Ladd’s operation.

“There is an urgent need for pharmacist-provided MTM in Boise,” said Barb Mason, Pharm.D., FASHP, professor and chair of the

ISU College of Pharmacy Department of Pharmacy Practice. “Elaine’s sincere passion for patient-centered care and desire to work collaboratively with physicians is sure to bring her success in any endeavor she pursues.”

So far, Ladd’s unique approach is working. The pharmacy has only been open six months, but pharmacists already fill an average of 80 prescriptions on weekdays. And those numbers are trending upward.

Ladd believes that the unique pharmacy services offered by her four pharmacists and six pharmacy technicians are a real benefit to patients. And she is interested in seeing more integration in patient-care services among hospitals and ambulatory care settings as technology improves.

“Every step along the continuity of care matters, and pharmacists are uniquely suited to provide the kind of MTM services that patients need,” she said. “I’m excited to be able to bridge both worlds.”

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