A great pharmacist can be mindful of the future, but Joe Moose’s perspective has the added benefit of a generational legacy of pharmacy experience.
Moose Pharmacy began in 1882 by Joe’s great-grandfather, A.W. Moose, in Mount Pleasant, a town of limited medical resources. Moose Pharmacy spans four generations, and today, it has expanded to five locations throughout North Carolina. “So, you can see how pharmacy has evolved over the years,” he reminisces, “but the one thing that stayed constant through the generations that I’ve known and worked with was that we took care of the people in the community.”
The Moose family business allows Joe a special insight into the history of pharmacy, and he notes one of the mistakes pharmacy has made in the past. “As pharmacists, we’ve done a fantastic job of telling each other about how valuable we are and how good we are in the health space,” he observes. “We’ve done a really bad job of telling the rest of the world of all the great things that the community pharmacy can do for people out there.”
Part of his solution for this problem is to make connections through social media, which Joe calls a “beautiful marriage” with independent pharmacy. He has amassed a following of over 1,000 Twitter followers, and he regularly connects with colleagues through tweets. Moose Pharmacy has a Facebook page, and daily posts educate patients on medical news and trends. Joe uses this influence to share wisdom and enlighten others. “I don’t think I’ve got any super great insight on something that probably everybody in their community doesn’t have,” he clarifies. “I’m probably not doing anything anybody else in their community is, but I’m trying to tell a story.” And that story is how pharmacy is changing.
Five-star ratings and MTMs are recent changes that aren’t going away any time soon, and pharmacy as a whole is an industry that constantly evolves. Joe stresses the importance of independent pharmacists keeping up with these changes. “You can’t keep your head buried in your own shop,” he warns his colleagues. “You’ve got to get out, go to meetings. You’ve got to network with individuals, you’ve got to do continuing education.” Star ratings are not an obstacle, but a “stepping stone” in Joe’s eyes. “Star ratings are our starting point to get us moving down the path of really true care management,” he explains.
“We – my father, my grandfather, my great-grandfather – never looked at the business as something we’re trying to build up to sell. We’ve always looked at the business as something for us and the family members and the employees to have a great place to work, but also to have something the community and the people can count on over time.”
Independent pharmacy seems to be heading in the direction of a fully-capable healthcare provider, and technology is stepping up to help ease pharmacists into this exciting role. Joe warns his fellow pharmacists not to select the first technology or service they happen upon. “Technology is all about, in my mind, finding a partner.” He goes on to list some of his partners, including Parata, Vow, and PioneerRx, and how they have established a partnership with him. He continues, “If I were someone looking at buying a pharmacy or updating my technology, one, find a partner. Don’t buy the gadget or widget they’re selling, but buy the relationship. And two, have a company that really listens to you and will hear your voice.”
His future-driven mindset paves the way for generations to proceed him, and Joe acknowledges that this has always been the Moose standard.
This vision is effectively carried out in the residency program, where Joe and his team mentor students who are fresh out of school and go on to flourish as great leaders in the pharmacy community. Joe instills a fresh vision of leadership in these students that emphasizes the importance of a team mindset. “The days of of saying ‘Here’s what I want you to do, it’s my way or the highway’ are over,” he clarifies. “I think the true mark of a good leader is somebody who sacrifices themselves and shows their team they would do anything. They put the team first so that the team wants to follow. You’ve got the explain to them why you’re doing it, why you have this vision, and if they adopt that vision, they can move the needle for pharmacy.”
And the driving force behind everything – his purpose, his standards, and his goals – is passion. “Passion can be viral,” Joe says. “If you’re working around a bunch of vibrant people who are really passionate about something, it’s hard not to get caught up in that.”
Passion. That’s what has kept Moose Pharmacy going for over a century.
It’s what defines the leaders in any industry, and passion paves the way for future pharmacy leaders to carry out their fundamental purpose: caring for people.