by James Morrison B.Sc.Phm. C.D.E.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the team at Wholehealth Pharmacy Partners has focused its efforts on providing key resources to pharmacies from clinical, operational, and professional affairs perspectives. These resources have resonated strongly among the pharmacy community and have been widely distributed across the nation.
Early in the pandemic, pharmacies were directed by associations, governments, and regulators to limit dispensed quantities of medications to 30 days’ supply. Each third-party adjudicator set different parameters for 30-day fills and early refills for patients undertaking self-isolation. Wholehealth was the first organization to provide a concise Billing Guide so that pharmacy teams had the most current information to properly adjudicate prescription drug claims according to updated COVID-19 policies.
Our pharmacies informed us that it was taking considerable time to explain to patients why prescription quantities were limited to 30 days. In response, Director of Pharmacy Innovation and Professional Affairs, Tiana Tilli, created an infographic on drug supply during COVID-19 to explain to patients how the pandemic has affected drug supply and why fill quantities were being rationed. A number of social media graphics have also been created for pharmacies to convey these important messages to their communities through online channels.
To support the mental health needs of patients and pharmacy teams, Wholehealth’s Tiana Tilli and University of Toronto pharmacy students (Vanessa Thai, Keerthana Rajkumar, and Wendy Li) created a variety of resources. For patients, we released an infographic that included coping strategies, self-care, and tips for working from home. The infographic was accompanied by social media graphics for pharmacies to communicate mental health tips broadly across social media platforms.
We recognize that front-line pharmacy teams are presently facing unprecedented challenges, and this has impacted mental health for many. A summary infographic of mental health strategies and pharmacy-specific resources was created to support pharmacy teams across the country. We hope that the document will promote mental health conversations among pharmacy teams and enable them to access help.
To address the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) in pharmacies, Wholehealth’s Director of Home Health Care, Shirley Savage, has leveraged vendor relationships to support any Canadian pharmacy in need. Throughout the pandemic we have fulfilled dozens of orders for surgical masks, and plexiglass barriers. Hand sanitizer has been in short supply for over two months. We have a sizable delivery of hand sanitizer scheduled to arrive shortly, which will be distributed to pharmacies who have completed the order form. Any pharmacy seeking supplies is welcome to complete the order form or reach out to James Morrison with specific requests.
On April 8th, James Morrison and Dean Miller hosted a webinar interview with Italian Pharmacists Antonio Lombardi and Davide Foroni. We organized this session to learn from front-line pharmacists practicing in one of the most severely impacted countries by the pandemic. The webinar has over 3000 views between Facebook and YouTube and is available HERE.
To help pharmacists and owners navigate federal government financial relief programs we hosted two webinars, presented jointly with PharmaTax, on April 5th and 25th. The second webinar was presented to address a variety of evolving details on financial relief and address a gamut of frequently asked questions. To access the webinar recordings please email James Morrison, Director of Pharmacy Excellence.
We are interested in hearing from pharmacy professionals on any additional supports we can provide to front line pharmacy teams. For operational support email James (firstname.lastname@example.org) and clinical support email Tiana (email@example.com).
Our COVID-19 resources for pharmacies are openly available on our website and are updated regularly: https://wholehealthpharmacy.ca/covid19/
James Morrison B.Sc.Phm. C.D.E. is the Director of Pharmacy Excellence, Wholehealth Pharmacy Partners