The next time you visit your primary care provider, you might be offered a consultation with a registered pharmacist. RXVIP Concierge, a Long Island-based company, is on a mission to shift the role of pharmacists away from that of a medication dispenser in a retail environment, to a trusted member of the healthcare team.
“My father was a pharmacist 70 years ago,” says Ken Sternfeld, founder of RXVIP Concierge. “In those days, people would often consult with the pharmacist if they had questions about medications.”
That personal connection began to deteriorate with the rise of big-box pharmacy chains, diminishing the prominence of pharmacists in the healthcare continuum. Yet pharmacists are highly trained professionals, completing undergraduate degrees and doctoral studies before passing state licensing examinations. They have a deep understanding of drugs and medical treatments and are trained to work with patients and physicians to ensure that medications are used safely and accurately.
After helping to care for his father-in-law at the end of life, Sternfeld, a registered pharmacist himself, longed to continue to have meaningful connections with patients. He was inspired to launch “Pharmacy Fridays” in the office of Michael Goodman, MD, a concierge physician practicing in Bellmore. Enthused by the response of patients and the value that he perceived he was able to bring to medical practice, Sternfeld began to share his vision through weekly podcasts on the Pharmacy Podcast Network. On that platform, his idea began to gain traction, attracting the attention of pharmacists and pharmacy students around the country, as well as major corporations in the healthcare space.
RXVIP Concierge is now partnered with WellTrackONE, a risk management company, and will be embedding pharmacists into two additional Long Island practices in the coming weeks.
As members of the healthcare team practicing at the height of their training and licensure, pharmacists may work with patients to provide:
- Brief evaluation
- Annual Wellness Visit
- Medication Review/Reconciliation
- Advanced Care Plan
- Fall Risk Assessment
- Cognitive Impairment Screening
- Pain Assessment
- Interpretation of PGx testing, a genetic test to help ensure that prescribed medications are appropriate for the patient based on his or her genetic profile
- Additional screens based upon medical necessity
“Pharmacists are uniquely qualified to serve as a valued resource in the doctor’s office, and can help improve the level of communication between the office and the patient, ensure that the patient is compliant with treatment recommendations, and advocate for the patient with insurance companies and drug companies,” Sternfeld said.
With this early success, RXVIP Concierge is poised to expand its model in medical practices throughout the nation. Next month, company representatives will attend their first conference, the Concierge Medicine Forum in Atlanta, Georgia, where they will share their vision with doctors from around the United States.