“It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” – Charles Darwin
As she scrolls through her slides for an upcoming presentation in her office at Mullins Pharmacy, DeAnn Mullins pauses on one that features this quote. “This Darwin quote is so relevant to my message this year,” she says as she points to the screen. “It’s just so important for pharmacists to embrace change and be adaptive.”
DeAnn recalls buying candy at Mullins Pharmacy as a little girl when it was owned and operated by her father-in-law. Now, she is the pharmacist and co-owns the store with her husband, Ken, in Lynn Haven, Florida. She is also a certified diabetes educator and offers diabetes education at WeCare. She has been a member of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) since she was a pharmacy student, and today, she serves as the 2017 President.
Over the past year, DeAnn has completely immersed herself in her role as NCPA’s President. Meetings, dinners, conventions, pharmacy visits, and conferences are all a part of her new daily life, and she relishes every minute of it with unwavering enthusiasm. “A year isn’t very long,” she says of her presidency. “I’ve got a pretty big microphone, and I’ve been introducing Health 3.0 our members and anybody in pharmacy that will listen.” In her inaugural speech, DeAnn laid the foundation for her focus during her year as president and announced that unity would be her primary focus. “I researched how to unite people, and history has taught us some really valuable lessons about uniting folks,” she explains. “People unite when they share a belief. So I started looking for our shared beliefs and how we could use that to bring pharmacists together, then how we could bring pharmacists together with the greater healthcare community (primarily physicians, nurses, and other healthcare decision makers).” She cites the Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network as one way to “aggregate” pharmacists and other healthcare professionals. By joining CPESN, pharmacists can expand their practice and be rewarded for their outcomes fairly. These networks will encourage relationships amongst patients, prescribers, and pharmacists, an idea that Dr. Zubin Damania promotes in his Health 3.0 movement. Described as “repersonalized and transcendent,” the Health 3.0 movement centers on relationships to change the outlook of healthcare. With a collective that is 600,000-strong and growing, it makes sense for DeAnn to combine her efforts through NCPA with groups that share the same goal. “We’re looking to join with other frontline practitioners that are committed to shining a light on the dysfunction of medicine, and then, having real conversations about the solutions to our dysfunction.” Damania will continue this conversation about solutions during his keynote address at NCPA’s 2017 Annual Convention.
This healthcare “aggregation” is part of DeAnn’s strategy for pharmacists to take back their profession. Rather than stand by idly and allow lawmakers and PBMs to determine the fate of their profession, DeAnn rallies her colleagues to action. “When we say ‘take back pharmacy,’ what we’re really doing is taking back our destiny,” she says. “It’s going to be really important for each pharmacist to raise your head, look around, and start to make the commitment to modify your practice.”
Although she has intensely worked on her profession outside the pharmacy, DeAnn actively works in Mullins Pharmacy when she is home. She recently converted her pharmacy software system to reflect the ideas for innovation she has for the future of her pharmacy. She also plans to revamp the WeCare Wellness center by focusing on technology. “I want to leverage new ways to reach people,” she says. “I think we’re just going to have to get very innovative with the techniques that we use to get people’s attention and to help empower them to take control.” Keeping up with change can be difficult to the leaps and bounds we are making in technology and science, but community pharmacists are positioned to excel in rapid innovation. “We are able to pivot, adapt and move quickly to change our business model,” DeAnn affirms. Much like Darwin’s theories on adaptability and survival, those pharmacists who are adaptable to change will survive. Whether it’s by updating your technology, joining a network, or simply fine-tuning your pharmacy’s processes, DeAnn’s message is to urge community pharmacies to evolve and stay in stride with change. “It’s time to commit and embrace value-based care,” she says. “Get your technology and your processes right, do your evaluation of your business modelling, and get on with it!”
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