The next time your student visits Student Health Service (SHS), a new pharmacy will be there to provide one-stop shopping for all health care needs.
With its opening in early April, Westlawn Pharmacy at Student Health Service began to meet the needs and desires of students and health care staff alike.
“A pharmacy was requested by the students, and it’s even been on the platform of student government candidates,” says Mary Khowassah, SHS director, who has worked with the student members of the Student Health Advisory Committee to ensure that SHS is providing needed services. “Creating the pharmacy is a response to what students need and want.”
Located just steps away from the SHS waiting area and open whenever SHS is open, the new pharmacy will provide the same services as other retail pharmacies and at comparable prices. In addition to providing prescription drugs, the pharmacy will stock over-the-counter medications and other sundries.
The pharmacy will accept most major prescription insurance plans. Students can pay for medication using major credit cards, or they can have charges posted to their U-bills. Students can also fill prescriptions written by non-SHS physicians (such as their hometown physicians) at the Westlawn Pharmacy. SHS staff hope these many conveniences will result in an even healthier student body.
“We believe it will improve compliance,” Khowassah says. “If patients have a convenient place to go, they’re more likely to actually fill prescriptions.”
The benefits of an on-site pharmacy go beyond convenience. A licensed pharmacist and an advanced pharmacy student will staff the pharmacy, and they will augment the services available to students.
“Through the years, pharmacists have become an integral part of the health care team,” Khowassah says. “Medications have become so complex and so numerous—pharmacists are the specialists.”
“Because the pharmacy will be so integrated with the medical staff, the pharmacist can provide input on what medicine to prescribe and help make the best decisions about drug therapy,” says Mike Kelly, the associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Pharmacy who has helped prepare the new pharmacy to be a clerkship site for training pharmacy students. Adding this clerkship site will provide Iowa pharmacy students with another opportunity to train in a “best practices” setting.
“Pharmacists are uniquely prepared to work with physicians to decide which medications are available, which will work best for the patient, and which will provide the most effective—and cost-effective—solutions,” says Robert Avakian, assistant director of pharmaceutical care at UI Hospitals and Clinics who has collaborated with SHS and the College of Pharmacy to develop the Westlawn Pharmacy. “Many of these decisions are made at the point of prescribing. The closer the pharmacist is, the better the outcome.”
For more information about the new pharmacy at SHS, visit www.uiowa.edu/~shs.
by Anne Remington