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How to Win at Operational Innovation


Caitlin Sattler - June 28, 2019 - 0 comments

Congratulations to Toledo Family Pharmacy in Toledo, Ohio! The pharmacy staff recently received Health Mart’s 2019 Operational Innovation Award. Continue reading to learn more about their journey to growing their operations to better serve their community. 

Hussein El-Khatib was at a conference in 2015 when he knew his pharmacy needed to expand its operations. The realization didn’t occur during a learning session or inspiring keynote. Rather, it happened when he witnessed another pharmacy receive recognition during a conference. “I saw the Pharmacy of the Year winner accept the award, and I knew I wanted to be on that stage one day,” he remembers. He was inspired to return to his pharmacy and begin improving the operations at Toledo Family Pharmacy. The hard work resulted in earning Health Mart’s 2019 Operational Innovation Award. Hussein defines operational innovation as “being able to manage the pharmacy and see it operate as functionally as possible, which often requires innovation and thinking outside the box.” 

One of the major achievements of the Ohio-based pharmacy is its medication synchronization program.

Currently, Toledo Family Pharmacy has placed 90% of its patients in the program, which Hussein attributes to their no-nonsense approach to sync. “Sync is a must-have in our pharmacy,” he explains. “It’s not optional for our patients.” Because most of his patients require delivery and adherence packaging, Hussein and his staff automatically synchronize patient medications to boost compliance and offer convenience to their patients. 

With the second highest rate of opioid overdose deaths in the nation, Ohio pharmacies are striving to monitor their patients and intervene when necessary. Toledo Family Pharmacy has also adopted the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy’s naloxone protocol, which allows pharmacies to dispense naloxone without a prescription. Hussein and his team have taken this protocol a step further by requiring anyone who fills a pain medication through Toledo Family Pharmacy must fill all of their prescriptions through them, too, and receive a naloxone kit. This allows the Toledo staff to better monitor their patients and ensure they receive all the resources possible to avoid opioid abuse. “The last thing I want to hear is that one of my patients overdosed and we could have helped to prevent it,” says Hussein. 

To Hussein, operation innovation requires working smarter, not harder, to guarantee positive results for everyone. Combined with the astounding number of services Toledo Family Pharmacy offers, this pharmacy truly is operating in a way that is beneficial to its own operations and the community. “A lot of pharmacists think they need a clinical pharmacist to help them bring in new services. But, they don’t,” he concludes. “Your competitors won’t do it, so you need to step out and do it. You have to view yourself as more than a pharmacist — you’re a health resource.”   

Click here for more on Toledo Family Pharmacy and other recipients of Health Mart’s 2019 awards.