“Anything you can do to make the customer feel special, that they’re being taken care of and looked at individually” is how Sandra How describes her pharmacy practice at Triumph Pharmacy, where the experience truly is cultivated around tailored health care.
Sandra always knew she wanted a career centered around medicine. After working in a clinical setting for several years, she finally found what she loved in community pharmacy. The beauty of community pharmacy is practicing the way you see fit, not how a corporation mandates you should. Empowered by this independence, Sandra can take her practice beyond the counter… literally. Of course, “beyond-the-counter” pharmacy practice has become a cliché Sandra is willing to acknowledge. “But we’ve been doing that for years!” she exclaims as she describes a chain pharmacy commercial that boasted of the same beyond-the-counter practice she has always offered.
But the real “secret sauce” of Sandra’s pharmacy isn’t where she cares for her patients. Rather, it’s in the how. Sandra’s practice begins before her patients even receive their medications with a method that has gained a lot of attention lately: pharmacogenetics. “The system we use is Rxight. We take a cheek swab to test the DNA of the individual, and it comes up with a profile of these 200 medications to see if you are a rapid metabolizer or a slow metabolizer.” Sandra has seen a lot of success and positive reactions from her patients, including one who suffered from swelling in her feet until she was tested with Rxight. “In my opinion, every infant born should have this done so the parents can immediately know what they’ll react well to and what they won’t react well to,” Sandra says.
Sandra is mindful of her community’s unique qualities and centers her practice around its needs. The Hispanic community is a major part of the Woodlands population, and Sandra and her team tailor their services for them with Spanish-speaking staff and labels in Spanish. “Medical care is different with different cultures,” Sandra explains. “With the Hispanic community, there’s a lot of one-on-one attention, and they’re very devoted. They expect you to know their family and remember their names. It’s a bit of a culture difference that we have been trying to institute anyway, so it comes a little bit easier for us to market to this community.”
We point out the obvious attention to detail and the tailored health care she provides for her patients. “It all depends on where you are when it comes to how to tailor your business,” she begins. “This is a very smart, well-educated community. They’re up on the latest, so we really have to stay ahead of the game to know, for example, what Dr. Oz said about garcinia cambogia and losing weight. This is a very health-oriented community, so we have to provide products for them that will keep them healthy, not just treat illness.” Sandra is even going back to school to earn a master’s degree in nutrition. “I want to provide that extra bit of information to my patients. Yes, I can talk to them about nutrition, but only at the level at which I’ve been educated. I want this education to be an additional service to my patients.”
We are entering an era where the “one size fits all” concept is being debunked, whether it’s clothing or patient health. Few businesses take the time and effort to adjust their services according to each individual circumstance or need. So when we do find a business that’s willing to go the extra mile not just for the sake of sales, but for the wellbeing of its patrons, that’s a business worth supporting.