Industry Analysis: A ‘Perfect Storm’ for Community Pharmacists

By Jenna Pizzi

Published on May 21, 2019

Amina AbubakarWith America’s aging population taking more medications than ever, the increasing responsibilities and patient care opportunities available in pharmacies, and the changing landscape of insurance reimbursements, the role of community pharmacists, both at independent pharmacies and in larger operations, has changed significantly in recent years.

Alumna Amina Abubakar PharmD’05 not only has a successful community pharmacy but advises other pharmacists on how pharmacists and medical providers can provide care with a sustainable business model in the new landscape of value-based care. In this way, they increase the profitability of their own independent operations. Dr. Abubakar, a native of Kenya, came to the United States fascinated by the power of medicine and curious about the efficacy of the traditional herbalists and healers who were treating patients in Kenya.

“I wondered what they were giving to the patients, if it worked, and how it was dosed,” she said.

Dr. Abubakar graduated from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy with research and leadership experience and a passion for caring for patients with complex medical issues. After working for several years at CVS in North Carolina, she took the leap to start her own pharmacy, RX Clinic Pharmacy in Charlotte.

“We are in the perfect storm right now for pharmacists,” said Dr. Abubakar. She looks to pharmacogenomics as a great opportunity for the pharmacy field to advance with healthcare by taking advantage of this new technology to create medications tailored to a patient’s individual genetic makeup. She was invited to the White House by the Office of Science and Technology Policy and to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to discuss the role of pharmacists in pharmacogenomics.

Dr. Abubakar is also the cofounder and president of the Avant Institute of Clinicians, an online educational forum for pharmacy and healthcare professionals. There, she shares her passion for growing leaders and creating meaningful and lasting change for the industry and helps others move their own businesses forward through innovation and collaboration. The purpose of the Avant Institute is to provide a collaborative community of professionals interested in turning passion into profit and achieving it with integrity. Dr. Abubakar teaches from her personal experience in implementing innovative services, optimizing pharmacy workflow, and building relationships with a team-based approach. It has inspired a grassroots movement across the country and worldwide for practicing healthcare with integrity, mindfulness, and daring leadership.

Pharmacists innately want to be in a space to help and heal people, and the healthcare system in America has finally changed to reward value-based care, she said. Through collaborating with physicians, Dr. Abubakar has expanded pharmacist-led clinical services in her own community.

“Pharmacists bring so much value. If we can identify the problems and come up with the solutions, that will be the future of pharmacy. Dispensing is a small part of our practice,” she said. Because dispensing can be automated, it is up to pharmacists to assert their place and expertise on the patient care team. She advises that the best way to do this is to build partnerships with physicians and healthcare organizations.

“It is a very good feeling to be able to reduce a lot of the diseases and offer a holistic approach,” said Dr. Abubakar. “This comes with knowing your community, what they need, and what you can do to solve it.”

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