Dr Milena Murray on Ensuring Ongoing Patient Interactions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Partnering with pharmacists ensures prescription availability for patients with HIV during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), noted Milena Murray, PharmD, MSc, BCIDP, AAHIVP, of Midwestern University College of Pharmacy.


Partnering with community pharmacists helps to ensure patients can pick up their prescriptions, especially if there are fill issues at our specialty pharmacy, noted Milena Murray, PharmD, MSc, BCIDP, AAHIVP, associate professor at Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy, who practices at the Northwestern Medicine Infectious Disease Center in Chicago.


How have your patient interactions changed now that the HIV epidemic overlaps with the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic?

There’s so much more phone interaction. So, a lot of the times the patients aren’t coming into the clinic and we’re calling them on the phone, whether it’s for an adherence check or counseling, or whatever it may be. And that’s really helpful, because then we can touch base serially with the patient and we’re not waiting for them to come to us.

How do your responsibilities differ from those of a more generalized community pharmacist?

As an ambulatory care pharmacist, partnering with community pharmacies and pharmacists is so important, because that’s the point of dispense if the patients aren’t able to fill at our specialty pharmacy, so I really get involved before the prescription goes out. So, are there drug interactions? Patient preferences? Is the tablet too large for them to swallow? And any other criteria. And then on the community side, they’re more involved after the prescription has been sent.

And so, we try to partner with them then to make sure, what was the co-pay? Did it go through the insurance? Is there a prior authorization need? And then, at that point, the patient would be able to pick up the prescription.