In her 2018 update, Amina Abubakar described the progress of her online learning platform, the Avant Institute of Clinicians, had made in making clinical education more accessible to all members of the health care team. She also shared her passion for empowering her team and encouraging them to work beyond their typical expectations. Now, after returning from a five-week excursion in Kenya, Amina is ready to take on 2019.
Last year was one marked by rapid growth with the Rx Clinic Pharmacy team. Although new employees are necessary for project management and productivity, Amina acknowledges the growing pains that accompany training new staff members. “When you bring in a new person, you want to quickly get them up to speed,” she explains. “You get them to watch training videos, shadow an employee or two, then get them into the workflow. This led to a few issues.” Amina and the more experienced staff members sometimes came an hour before the store opened to squeeze in some education, which included many PowerPoint presentations created by her staff that clarified the intricacies of their workflow to ensure no aspect of the training was skipped. “Rapid expansion is tough, but my advice is don’t cut corners,” she says.
One of Amina’s recent focuses has been elevating her staff, and her goal for 2019 is to forge new leaders within her team. “We’ve started realizing what people’s strengths are, rather than what they’re not good at,” she observes. “We found amazing talent in them that otherwise we would not have known.” She cites one of her drivers, whose inquisitive nature proved he had an undiscovered knack for data analyzation. Other pharmacists who visit Rx Clinic note her staff’s passion and drive for promoting the pharmacy’s mission especially amongst the technicians. When asked how she did it, Amina always referred back to their training. “It’s not about filling prescriptions all the time. It’s really about how we elevate them to really help the pharmacist,” she says. “All of them feel valued and that they contribute to the end result of the mission.” Her technicians are even contributing to a new technician-centric module within the Avant Institute, a new addition Amina anticipates for 2019.
As the Avant Institute enters its third year of educating providers on how to be part of value based care delivery model, Amina has observed how the online courses’ success goes even further with one-on-one training through their small group Advanced Learning Immersion Experience (ALIE) . Each pharmacy has its own unique scenarios that may not be covered in a large group setting. “This has been a huge push for us, to unclog the thoughts people had of ‘I can’t do this because my pharmacy doesn’t have this or that,’” Amina says. During their 3 day onsite ALIE attendees receive one-on-one training training on pitching to providers, an area where she saw many pharmacists struggle. “As pharmacists, we’re not comfortable selling things to people,” she observes. “So we gave them feedback centered around going in with the natural desire to want to be part of a care team and solve issues, which is much better than trying to ‘sell’ something to doctors who are being sold to everyday.”
Appealing to providers will be easier than ever, according to Amina. The 2017 Medicare data was analyzed throughout 2018, which means doctors received their penalties or bonuses earlier in 2019. Since these providers have seen that value-based care is here to stay, she knows that, more than ever, pharmacists will be seen as vital members of the healthcare team. Amina hopes to convey insights like these to the Connect 2019 attendees who will sit in on her classes and join her at her post-conference Avant Institute clinical services workshop. “What we want them to take away is, there are no roadblocks. Only detours,” she asserts. “If someone comes to us with something that seems like a roadblock, there is a way around it.”
Amina already knows her 2019 is off to a great start and well on its way to being her best year yet. “When I was in Kenya, I was 8 hours ahead, and I spent the New Year there. So I’ve already seen 2019, and it’s very bright!”