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George Van Antwerp leads pharmacy strategy as Managing Director at Deloitte, and for him, building the future of pharmacy boils down to a bus ride. Two rides, in fact. Four if we do a full accounting.

It was a regular workday, and Van Antwerp was talking to a patient. Van Antwerp’s client roster at Deloitte includes retail and specialty pharmacies, and he was in information-gathering mode. He wanted to know about the patient’s challenges.

She told him it took two bus rides just to get to the pharmacy to fill her prescription.

“I don’t think most of us understand that transportation challenge,” Van Antwerp says on our podcast, and by “most of us,” he means those who work in healthcare, designing tools and experiences for providers and patients.

What happens when the patient gets to the pharmacy, after two bus rides, and the prescription isn’t ready? One thing is for sure: She will have to take another two buses back home, with or without her medication.

That’s why Van Antwerp is working to ensure that pharmacists have “a complete understanding of the patient standing in front of them,” as he says on this episode of our podcast.

We have some 60,000 pharmacies nationwide, Van Antwerp says, and these are made up of people from the local community. How can we free their time to better serve patients?

Answering that question means asking a few more:

  • How can pharmacists operate at the full scope of their education and training?
  • How can they engage patients differently?
  • What data do they need to do so?

Simply put, how can pharmacists do more?

Van Antwerp doesn’t mean “do more” in terms of adding more to their daily workload. He means taking PhD-level pharmacists and freeing them from pill counting and prior authorizations.

He means giving pharmacists the data they need, prioritizing that data, and personalizing the interaction between the pharmacist and patient, with the pharmacist as care manager, embedded right there in the community.

That way, even if it takes two bus rides to get to the pharmacy, at least you’ll get the service you need, and you’re more likely to have medication in hand on the ride home.

Hear from today’s most inspiring and innovative leaders in healthcare for in-depth and personal conversations. Listen to all podcast episodes here.