Abby is one of ARTARx’s two Pharmacy Technicians, and she has been getting to know many pharmacy patients over the last few months and helping them manage their prescription needs. We asked Abby a few questions about her work, and what she thinks ARTARx is doing differently to help serve members.

What drew you to start working at ARTARx?

When I first heard about it, the ARTARx pharmacy model really spoke to me. The idea of focusing on patients over business, the way ARTARx embraces technology, and the support we get as staff, those aren’t things that you find at every pharmacy. And if your model doesn’t embrace those things, it can create a lot of burnout among the staff, leading to a lower quality of care. Our population in Alberta is getting older and their prescription needs are just going to get larger and larger. Having robust, adaptive pharmacies is more important than ever.

What have your first few months with patients been like?

When we first opened our doors, we had a huge influx of people to help out with prescription transfers, all at once. Plus, there were a lot of general questions about the pharmacy and its services. But now, things are beginning to level out and we’re falling into a regular rhythm. It’s been a lot of fun to be able to meet with patients in a more relaxed context and help them out with their health needs.

What does that regular rhythm look like for a Pharmacy Technician?

Answering calls, entering patient information preparing medications for pickup and delivery. Also, technicians are empowered to help with patient education. For instance, device teaching is a really big part of that: teaching people to use inhalers, glucose metres, continuous glucose monitoring devices, or self-administered injectable medications. We can ease a lot of anxiety by walking patients through the processes, step by step, and answering any questions they might have. Even if the device isn’t for you — say you have a grandchild who carries an epi pen or an aging parent who needs to test their blood sugar — we can teach you about it so you’ll feel more comfortable if you ever need to assist them.

How to pharmacy patients set up device education sessions?

You just have to ask, and we’re happy to share that kind of information. ARTARx has two Pharmacy Technicians, plus our team of pharmacists, so there will always be someone around who can take the time to answer whatever questions you might have, or even give you a demonstration. It can be intimidating to use a personal medical device for the first time, or to get used to self-administered injections; having someone there with you the first time, giving you encouragement or directions can really ease the mind and build confidence in using your device or technique.