Katie Westgerdes, ONU Healthwise Pharmacy

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Katie Westgerdes, PharmD, pharmacist at the ONU Healthwise Pharmacy, discusses the value of community pharmacy during the Cardinal Health Retail Business Conference on July 19, 2019.

Katie Westgerdes, PharmD: So, I’ve known for a very long time when I was a pharmacy student that I wanted to be an independent community pharmacist. I think that they are the best equipped to help their patients, and they care a lot. And I think it shows in the way they take care of their patients. It’s something that I’m obviously very passionate about, and I think it’s an important part of a community, especially with the primary care provider desert in some areas. Personally, our county is medically underserved, so we serve not only as a pharmacist, but as a reference point. Somebody who might not be able to get in with their doctor, but they might be able to go see their pharmacist, and they can give them further instruction on, you know, “this is really serious, you need to be able to get in. There’s an urgent care here. Can you get there? Do you have transportation?” Stuff like that. We’re connecting people to primary care, and that’s part of what we do with the mobile clinic, too. It’s kind of a branch or a way to reach out from where a community pharmacist can help their community. We’re just taking it to those small communities in our area, and we’re doing those preventative screenings that any pharmacists can do: blood pressure, we do some point-of-care testing, and say, you know, “you might have diabetes. It looks like from your results that you need to see a primary care provider. Do you have one? Can we help you find one?”

I really think that that’s a big role that we’re gonna play as the health care system evolves, and who’s providing care to who[m] changes. Community pharmacists are going to play a really big role in that.”

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