Knoxville pharmacy expanding its role in health care

Knoxville pharmacy expanding its role in health care

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Mac's is one of 10 pharmacies across the state taking part in a BlueCross BlueShield study. Mac's is one of 10 pharmacies across the state taking part in a BlueCross BlueShield study.
The new consultation rooms are for patients dealing with everything from high blood pressure to diabetes. The new consultation rooms are for patients dealing with everything from high blood pressure to diabetes.
"Pharmacy practice is changing with a lot more emphasis being put on us helping patients to take their medicines correctly," Mac Wilhoit said. "Pharmacy practice is changing with a lot more emphasis being put on us helping patients to take their medicines correctly," Mac Wilhoit said.
"Well, drug interactions for one thing. We worry about that, my wife and I both do, and he's really knowledgeable about that stuff, so he helps us out with a lot of things like that," long-time customer Anthony Pirkle said. "Well, drug interactions for one thing. We worry about that, my wife and I both do, and he's really knowledgeable about that stuff, so he helps us out with a lot of things like that," long-time customer Anthony Pirkle said.

By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A local pharmacy is making some changes as part of an ongoing effort to do more than just fill prescriptions. Mac Wilhoit, owner of Mac's Pharmacy, said making sure his customers understand their medicine and take it correctly will keep them healthy and save them and their insurance companies money.

This is actually a bit of a throwback to when your pharmacist knew you on a more personal level and was an integral part of keeping you well. With the cost of healthcare rising and face time with your doctor diminishing, pharmacists are stepping up to fill in some of the gaps.

Wilhoit said it was almost a blessing in disguise when an SUV crashed through the front of his pharmacy on Washington Pike in March. No one was seriously hurt, and rebuilding gave him the chance to add three patient consultation rooms.

"Pharmacy practice is changing with a lot more emphasis being put on us helping patients to take their medicines correctly," Wilhoit said.

Right now, Mac's is one of 10 pharmacies across the state taking part in a BlueCross BlueShield study.

"It's outcome-based healthcare is what it is, trying to get better results," Wilhoit.

The new rooms are for patients dealing with everything from high blood pressure to diabetes.

"We sit down and go over their medication with them, and let them explain what they're doing, and see if we see obvious errors," he said.

Long-time customers like Anthony Pirkle say it's much easier to walk in and talk to Wilhoit about his medicine than try to schedule a doctor's appointment, spend hours in the waiting room and then only have a few minutes with the physician.

"Well, drug interactions for one thing. We worry about that, my wife and I both do, and he's really knowledgeable about that stuff, so he helps us out with a lot of things like that," Pirkle said.

The pharmacist consultation is free, and Wilhoit says everyone saves when patients learn how their prescriptions can keep them healthy.

"A hospital stay of two or three days and you've spent $6,000 to $8,000 and that more than pays for the medicine for a year," he said.

With more government-funded healthcare, Wilhoit says this is the wave of the future.

"What's coming is healthcare providers that get better results are going to get paid more," he said.

When he talks to his patients about staying healthy, Wilhoit knows how important it is on a personal as well as a professional level. Eight days after that car crashed into his business, he had a heart attack that put him in the hospital for five days. He doesn't want that to happen to any of his customers, if he can help it.

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