Student Profile: Alex Van Zuiden '15
Vision of a Pharmacy
I could see my pharmacy in the future being in either a rural setting or an urban setting, but it would have a different focus to it depending on where it is. In a rural setting, I want to create a more traditional pharmacy. It would be a community center and have a soda fountain feel, but serve coffee instead of ice cream. I could see myself building up a compounding lab in such a setting. Depending on the market for it and of course if I could build the space. I would hope to be near the center of town on a busy street. I would love to be able to display and sell local products and bring pride to the community.
In a more urban setting, I imagine I would not be able to get as much space, so I would work in a more combined setting with doctors and specialize in medications. In that setting, I would also look into implementing 340B. I could see myself serving many of the LTC facilities in the city. In either situation, I'd like to provide as many clinical services to my patients as possible, including provider status, have available MTM services, as well as do immunizations.
I expect that my team in the pharmacy participate in generating new ideas on how to best run the pharmacy, giving feedback without having to worry about what someone was to think of them. The number one thing that would differentiate myself from my competitors would be the customer service that I can provide.
An Innovative Pain Management Program
If I am to give a new pain management recommendation, I first must know what the pain is classified as, since there are different treatment options for physical versus psychological pain. Since there are "numerous" conditions, the problem may be quite complex and may need an equally thorough treatment plan. I would want to know the reasoning behind why the doctor said that the patient's life was threatened without continued use of marijuana, whether in this statement the doctor was considering the possibility of addiction or a lack of appetite which could both be associated with the use of marijuana. I would also like to know what options the doctor has tried previously in the past and why they didn't work. Likely, the reason that the other medications didn't work would be due to their side effects.
Knowing that the patient appreciates natural medicines and natural approaches, I would recommend non-pharmacological approaches to the pain depending on the severity the patient truly has. Although there is no scientific evidence for them, a homeopathic medicine may act as a placebo and help the patient feel less pain. If it is a physical pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, he may try capsaicin cream on the areas that are causing pain. If it is a problem that could be added by anti-inflammatory medications, there are several diets that may help (which emphasize eating foods that are naturally anti-inflammatory while avoiding foods that may cause inflammation) in addition to a small dose of NSAID or other natural anti-inflammatory medication, such as tumeric. In addition to these medicines, lifestyle changes like taking up restorative yoga, meditation, or regular massages may help. The patient may also look into such procedures as chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture which may help to alleviate some pain.
Ultimately, the patient will likely use a unique combination of above therapies and a traditional pain relief medication, such as an NSAID. The goal would be to improve the patient's quality of life while acknowledging a desire to stay away from traditional medications. Although other patients may find the same treatment helpful for their pain, it would probably not be something that could be used among a large group of patients since there are often more effective, cheaper products out there for those seeking pain relief.
Alex's view on Innovation and Health Care
If something already exists in the market, it is no longer innovative by another company unless the new company does something to improve the service/item. For example, medication deliveries is not an innovative activity, but if a large retail store were to implement a personal delivery service, I imagine it would be called innovative for the simple fact that medication deliveries were not done to that scale before. Many consumers do not know what smaller scale health care organizations are doing, but if a large scale health care organization did them, they would make sure that everyone knew- likely through advertisements and press conferences. In that case, others would perceive the company as being innovative, when in fact they are not. As a potential small business owner, I see nothing wrong with this kind of implementation, in most cases, programs must be adjusted to work in a different situation so there is a level of innovation needed, although not as extensive as creating something from nothing.