Meet Your Pharmacist: Kavita Mali
Kavita is one of ARTARx’s new Pharmacists, and she has been meeting many ARTA members as they have been getting their prescription needs set up through ARTARx during the last few weeks. We asked Kavita a few questions about what inspires her as a pharmacist, and about what members can expect from their first visit to the ARTARx pharmacy, whether in-person or virtual.
What drew you towards pursuing pharmacy as a career?
I love to help people, and I’ve also always loved chemistry. Pharmacy represented a great opportunity to have that person-to-person interaction while helping patients with their health needs and teaching them how different medications interact with the body.
I also love the continuing education aspect of being a pharmacist. Every year there are hundreds of new medicines on the market, and I have to be constantly improving my knowledge to understand how they work, and how they differ from what’s come before. Patients rely on that kind of expertise to help them make informed decisions about their health.
What kind of pharmacy experience have you had before coming to ARTARx?
I’ve been a pharmacist for twenty years, and much of that was spent working at a long-term care pharmacy, serving seniors in assisted living arrangements. I enjoyed working with that clientele, helping them maintain their quality of life and their dignity during those final years, and keeping them as healthy as possible so they could enjoy as much time with their loved ones as they were able.
It was a collaborative environment where I was able to work directly with patients over many years — as well as working with their doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, and families — to find the best care options that fit their needs. I’m looking forward to developing those same kinds of close relationships with ARTA members, to get to know them on a personal level and to work closely together to find solutions for their health needs.
What can members expect from their first appointment at ARTARx?
Whether a member comes in-person or meets with us virtually, one of the first things we do during an initial consultation is set up what’s called a Comprehensive Annual Care Plan. This document details the medical history of the patient, past and present medication listings, allergies, and any drug related problems that have been experienced. We use it to ensure the medications patients are taking match with their conditions, and if we find that there is a disconnect between the two, we can collaborate with their other healthcare providers to make changes. This document is beneficial to have as a baseline and gets updated annually (or sooner, depending on the issues at hand) – leading to better health outcomes in the long run.
What is the Medication Synchronization service, and why might members be interested in it?
It’s a common occurrence for a patient to come to the pharmacy to refill their medication only to find there are no refills remaining. At that point, we have to send the patient back home and wait until the refill gets approved. It can be hard for patients to keep track of these things, especially if they are on multiple medications.
Medication Synchronization allows pharmacists to plan the number of pills a patient is getting to ensure they run out of each medication at the same time. ARTARx gets an alert about 7-10 days in advance of a prescription running out, so we can contact the patient and their healthcare provider to see if a refill has been approved, or our prescribing pharmacist can renew them to ensure continuity of care. We can manage all that on behalf of the patient to take away any uncertainty or stress from the process. It makes managing prescriptions so much easier on the patient.