We asked Dr. Jovin Panthapattu, PharmD, RPh, BCACP, a pharmacist at our Canby and Oregon City Medical Clinics, to share a bit about what led him to pursue a career in healthcare, what he loves most about his job – and how COVID-19 has changed things:
Q. How did you decide to become a pharmacist?
I was introduced to the healthcare field at a relatively young age as my mother is a nurse. In high school, I volunteered at a local hospital and was given the opportunity to spend time in the pharmacy department.
The work of the cancer pharmacist specialist intrigued me. She knew her patients very well and maintained a good relationship with them; spending a lot of time to provide education about the various treatment options and how to manage the side effects. That immersion showed me that a pharmacist as the “medication expert” had an equally important role in the health care system to help promote the safe and effective use of medications.
As an ambulatory care clinic pharmacist, I got additional training with a residency and received board certification so I can provide direct patient care.
I am thankful for the ample opportunities to work with patients on a daily basis and to provide individualized care; medicine is both an art and a science!
Q. What’s the best part of your job?
As a clinical pharmacist, I enjoy being a bridge between the patient and the provider as a member of the care team. The healthcare system is complex and medication regimens can easily become a burden if a patient is seeing multiple specialists.
As a pharmacist, I assist patients to identify drug therapy problems and tailor it to fit their lifestyle. I enjoy working with patients one-on-one to review medications as well as consult with providers for medication recommendations. The commonality? The time that I have to research each person’s medical history and provide the best evidence-based recommendation that is individualized. I discuss the benefits (effectiveness) versus risks (potential side effects) of each treatment and let the patient make their best-informed decision. Shared decision-making is the cornerstone of patient-centered care.
Q. What is it like to be a pharmacist during this unique time in history? How has COVID-19 changed things?
I definitely miss seeing the smiles!
During the pandemic, preventative healthcare has been put on the backburner, further contributing to widening healthcare disparities. However, preventative measures are equally as important. I hope that my presence as a care team member will help address this gap.
I help manage patients with long-term disease states like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol etc. which means that we need to routinely monitor medications for safety and effectiveness as well as complete health maintenance screenings to track disease progression.
Given the reduced face-to-face interactions and prioritization of other urgent matters, access to primary care providers can become limited. The clinical pharmacist is able to help to reduce that gap.
Q. What inspires you?
The collaborative environment at Neighborhood Health Center inspires me. It really does take a village to manage a patient’s complex healthcare needs. We all bring different skills to the table and I continue to learn something new every day.
Together, we can help the patient get the best care!