Pharmacists’ knowledge, accessibility shine at Pharmer’s Markets

Customers most often interact with their pharmacist in the few minutes it takes to pick up their prescription. Rarely do they engage pharmacists in conversations about chronic health conditions or ask questions about how they can better manage their medications. But they should, since pharmacists are easily accessible and knowledgeable on these issues. A new partnership between LiveWell Johnson County, an initiative of the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, and Balls Foods is trying to change how pharmacists and customers interact.

Since June, LiveWell Johnson County and Balls Foods have hosted six Pharmer’s Markets. During a Pharmer’s Market, pharmacists, pharmacy residents and the dietitian set up stations within the produce department to meet with customers about their health. Customers can have their blood pressure checked,market-2 discuss medication management with the pharmacist, speak with a dietitian about nutrition and sign up for heart healthy cooking classes. By visiting each of the stations customers can earn up to ten dollars in produce bucks to redeem for fresh produce at the store.

The purpose of the events is to meet people where they are, show them the community-based assets their pharmacist and dietitian are and educate them about the significance a healthy diet has on their overall health and the importance of adhering to medications they may already be prescribed.

During a recent Pharmer’s Market, a pharmacy resident, discovered that a participant felt that using a pill box made him feel old since his grandfather had used pill boxes. The pharmacy resident talked through several adherence methods with the man and discovered that he had a smart phone. The pharmacy resident helped him set up a daily medication reminder alarm to help him remember his blood pressure medication.

The Pharmer’s Markets were held at the Price Chopper in Shawnee, the Price Chopper in Roeland Park and the Payless Foods in Olathe. The locations were determined based on health outcome data, demographics and location within the county. The events were free and supported by the LiveWell Johnson County initiative. Additional events will be held next year.

LiveWell Johnson County is funded through a grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The goal of the grant is to prevent chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, through strategies that increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, increase physical activity, encourage positive lifestyle changes and improve the quality of preventative health care services to those who are at highest risk for developing chronic diseases.

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