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Baystreet Pharmacy – Catering To an Older Population and Staying Innovative

Baystreet Pharmacy, based in Sebastian, Florida, opened in 1984 with the goal of being a one stop shop for the neighborhood. The owner, Dr. Theresa Tolle, wanted to have a traditional community pharmacy, but also one that specialized in diabetes and home health care.  She calls Baystreet Pharmacy a traditional pharmacy, mostly apothecary in nature, with a smaller front end compared to other pharmacies. Baystreet might seem like many other independent pharmacies, but this isn’t necessarily the case. While they have a strong prescription department, they also have an area for durable medical equipment, and have their number one focus as diabetes - due to the demographics of their area.

The Sebastian area in Florida has a demographic population that is mostly over 65 years old.  With more elderly than other areas, Baystreet Pharmacy works with the community to provide helpful services that might not be offered to patients in other areas.

Much like other pharmacies, they provide mandatory counseling on all new prescriptions, but they also offer vaccinations, compounded prescriptions, and a variety of screenings such as cholesterol, hemoglobin A1C, liver enzyme, and blood pressure. They also have home delivery services, work with medication adherence, and MTM services.

Yet unlike other pharmacies, Baystreet offers an even broader array of services.  These include free classes to manage diabetes and live with diabetes, patient referrals for nutritional consultation, and help with buying and putting together durable medical supplies (as well as delivery). They also offer pharmacogenomic (DNA) testing for side effects, asthma/COPD training, smoking cessation education, and even monthly compliance packs (or bubble packs). 

Diabetes Care

There are many factors that can increase your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, age being one of them. Baystreet Pharmacy offers free monthly classes through Sweetspot Diabetes Care. The program and classes have a curriculum that participants receive and can follow. Additional services include nutritional consultation referrals and diabetic shoe fittings– services that are important to help patients learn how to manage their diabetes and avoid foot complications like ulcers, infections, and blisters.

Durable Medical Equipment

What makes this pharmacy more of a one stop shop than others? Being able to not only provide medications and care, but also offering durable medical equipment. With an elderly population, having this type of equipment around as part of the pharmacy is a natural fit.

“Someone can be discharged from the hospital, and when that happens they need medication as well as medical equipment. Baystreet Pharmacy allows [patients] to do all of those things and get what they need in one place. It makes their lives a little easier,” said Dr. Tolle adding, “Those items are delivered right to the patient’s own home”. They also offer assistance if assembly is required.

Monthly Compliance Packs (Bubble Packs)

While bubble packs are used in many pharmacies to send medication to nursing homes and assisted living establishments, Baystreet Pharmacy makes compliance packages with their patients in mind. If patients need medication in a format that will help them easily remember and know if they took that medication for that day, they are encouraged to request bubble packs.

What does Baystreet Pharmacy see that’s different in patients of advanced age?

“We see more complex drug therapy regimens. We need to be more hands-on to make sure that we’re looking and catching the drug interactions. It’s hard to watch [our patients] age. You see people change as they grow older and need more care,” Dr. Tolle said. The pharmacy sees patients as a part of the family more than just a number. The pharmacists and staff get to know their patients well and Dr. Tolle says “it’s hard to see the changes as time progresses”.

Where do you think Pharmacy is headed?

Dr. Tolle believes the role of community pharmacy will become more clinical in nature. “I’m not sure how fast this will happen, but it will allow pharmacists to be more involved in more clinical aspects.” Already, pharmacists providing MTM, adherence counseling, and able to do various types of screenings and point of care testing. Dr. Tolle sees pharmacies being able to participate in transition of care when a patient is discharged from the hospital. 

“There is a shortage of primary care physicians, such as in rural communities. [In those areas] pharmacies might do more rapid testing and might be able to do follow up monitoring of patients, especially those on specialty medication,” said Dr. Tolle. Pharmacy is well positioned to dive into those areas due to location and access. While some people might not think so, Dr. Tolle said, “It’s much like immunizations. People thought it should not leave a doctor’s office, and look at it now. Pharmacy’s next big wave is being more hands on with patients and being able to fill in the gap areas.” 

There are multiple pharmacies in different communities allowing pharmacists to help patients on certain types of tests. Instead of going to a hospital or a clinic for a strep test, a patient could go just to the local pharmacy to take the test. Dr. Tolle said that pharmacists can do the test, send it to a doctor’s office and then refer patients if need be. But a patient wouldn’t need to go to those [clinics or hospitals] initially.” 

How can a pharmacy become and stay successful?

When talking about being a part of a successful pharmacy, the advice Dr. Tolle gives students and pharmacists is the same: keep up with professional involvement and continue to network. “It allows you to stay in front of what’s coming next. You can learn from others, and from colleagues, on what works, what has allowed them to be successful, etc,” said Dr. Tolle.

“You can’t remain status quo. [Ideas] won’t come to you, you need to go out and survey competition to stay one step ahead. It’s about being a continuous learner … and that lets you find the next big thing.” Baystreet Pharmacy has taken these ideas to heart by implementing new innovative technologies into their services such as pharmacogenomic (DNA) testing for side effects. This new and innovative service was implemented three years ago and has helped many patients overcome obstacles with their medications.

Baystreet Pharmacy’s success comes first and foremost from keeping the patient as the main focus of their business. When this happens, “you do your best for them and it allows benefits for [patients and pharmacists]. We’re successful because we’re out there finding services that [patients] need which keeps our pharmacy successful.”