PQS Quality Corner Show Host Nick Dorich, PharmD, PQS Senior Manager of Pharmacy Accounts, recaps EQUIPP's appearance at three summer trade shows including McKesson IdeaShare, Cardinal's RBC, and AmerisourceBergen's Thoughtspot in 2023.
PQS Team members that guest on this episode include Pharmacy Account Manager Patti Duda, Quality Programs Manager Stephanie Hale, and Sr. Director, Strategic Initiatives Ian Hubbell. They each share their experiences interacting with pharmacists and share the pharmacists' thoughts about new features and services offered in the EQUIPP® platform.
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The phrases that I heard most often from the pharmacy team members that I had had the pleasure to speak with were, I think, wanting to provide primary care to my patients for years. And I am thrilled to finally have the chance to be paid for the services that I have been providing to my patients for years. And the most exciting answer was “Tell me more.”
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Welcome to the Pharmacy Quality Solutions Quality Corner show where quality measurement leads to better patient outcomes. This show will be your go to source for all things related to quality improvement and medication use and health care. We will hit on trending topics as they relate to performance measurements and find common ground for payers and practitioners. We will discuss how the EQUIPP platform can help you with your performance goals.
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We will also make sure to keep you up to date on pharmacy quality news. Please note that the topics discussed are based on the information available at the date and time of reporting. Information or guidelines are updated periodically and we will always recommend that our listeners research and review any guidelines that are newly published. Buckle up and put your thinking cap on.
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The Quality Corner show starts now.
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Hello Quality Corner Show listeners. Welcome to the PQS Podcast, where we focus on medication, use, quality improvement and how we can utilize pharmacists to improve patient health outcomes. I'm your host, Nick Dorich. This episode of The Quality Corner Show is sort of a special report. We actually did an episode of this nature last year. Once our team completed and attended the Summer 2020 to trade shows for McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen, our team was on the road visiting with these organizations and meeting with many of their independent pharmacies and small chains to discuss the changes with quality measures.
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The changes with EQUIPP and the new version, and some of the ways that now equip is hosting and providing opportunities for pharmacies. And when I say pharmacies, I mean the pharmacist and pharmacy technicians to provide primary care services. So we were able to share some great lessons at those shows. And I I'm going to use this episode to include the voices of three of my teammates to help share some of this information, some of what we provided and what we taught pharmacies, but also what was some of the feedback that from pharmacies.
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Were they ready to face this, these new opportunities and these new challenges where their hesitations or are there pharmacies already offered offering these services? So sit down, get ready for this episode and we're going to hear three interviews that I have conducted with some of my teammates here. Excuse you. Hello, everyone. We are here with our interview with Patty Duda, my teammate here at PQS.
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We're going to be talking about one of the 2023 pharmacy wholesaler trade shows. So, Patty, welcome to the show. How are you doing today?
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I'm great, Nick. How are you doing?
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Well here, thank you. All right. So, Patty, as we get started, a couple of quick questions for our audience. Do you mind giving an introduction, who you are, what your role is at PQS and then can you tell us a little bit about what trade show you attended this summer?
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Sure. I'm Patty Duda and I am a pharmacy account manager here at Peaks, and I get the opportunity to travel to Boston this summer to attend the Cardinal Health Retail Business Conference in July.
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Excellent. All right. We're going to jump right in here. Just a couple of quick questions that we can help explain your experience at the show. Meeting with pharmacy owners, staff, pharmacist and pharmacy technicians, What was the most exciting part of the trade show for you? And we'll keep this question focused on what was the most exciting part of the trade show for you as it related to equip in our conversations with the pharmacies?
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Sure. From the moment I arrived, energy filled the conference center and the attendees were excited to learn about how their pharmacy could engage in enhanced service opportunities to allow them to diversify their revenue stream while providing convenient primary care to their patients. The phrases that I heard most often from the pharmacy team members that I had the pleasure to speak with were, I think, wanting to provide primary care to my patients for years, and I am thrilled to finally have the chance to be paid for the services that I have been providing to my patients for years.
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And the most exciting answer was “Tell me more.” I was then able to spend some time with the attendees demonstrating how to access the opportunities through the equip platform, detailing the documentation requirements for each program, and providing next steps to help the pharmacies towards implementing these opportunities within their practice.
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Excellent. Patti, a quick follow up question for you as well as it relates to these primary care services. We're talking about blood pressure screenings. We're talking about hemoglobin, A1C screenings. What was the response like? Are these services that many pharmacies are already providing to their patients?
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Absolutely. They or services that they're already providing. And the pharmacies believe that they provide a valuable service in a convenient location for their patients. And we're very excited to learn that health plans value the ability of pharmacies to provide these services in a convenient location.
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Excellent. All right, Patti. Well, I've got just really one last or final question for you as it relates to the show. I think I know the answer already, but based upon the experience at that conference and then your day to day experiencing with pharmacies here at peak, how are you feeling about the opportunities for community pharmacy as we close out 2023 and as we look ahead to the changes that are going to occur in 2024.
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I'm very excited about what pharmacy looks like in the future. In the recent past pharmacy organizations have been frustrated with changes in the practice of pharmacy which have negatively impacted their business. At the conference this summer, it was invigorating to have these conversations and see firsthand the new excitement in the eyes of the pharmacy community for the future of pharmacy.
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These organizations will now be able to practice as they have wanted to for years, provide convenient care to their patients and be paid for their efforts. So truly, Nick, I believe that the future of retail pharmacy is bright.
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Well, I certainly love to hear that answer. And that's really a testament to what you are hearing, what you are seeing from the pharmacist. Patti, So thank you for sharing that message. Thanks for sharing the excitement and the passion that you heard from pharmacy owners, from pharmacists and from pharmacy technicians at the Cardinal RBC. This this summer.
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We hope you had for those who had a chance to meet with Patti and the team, we share that same excitement. Patti shares that same excitement about these enhanced service opportunities for pharmacies. So we've got a lot more work to go. But that is up for this interview for listeners. Stay tuned. We'll be right back with our next member from the city.
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Hello, listeners. We are back with my interview with my teammate here at PQS. So today I've got Stephanie Hale, quality programs manager. Stephanie, welcome to the show. And how are you doing today?
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Good, thank you. How are you?
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Fantastic. Thank you very much. Now, Stephanie, we're going to jump into this conversation today. But first, we need an introduction. So who are you? What is your role at PQS.? And then what trade show did you attend this summer that we're going to be talking about?
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So I work with both payers and pharmacy customers to increase, increase engagement among the pharmacies and our different programs that we have, such as our enhanced services offerings. And I attended both Idea Share and RBC over the summer.
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Excellent. Well, we're going to get into your conversations from both of those conferences. And you know, from this standpoint, let's talk about what was the most exciting thing for you about the meetings with pharmacy teams when you were talking with pharmacy owners? Maybe it was frontline staff, pharmacists, maybe it was pharmacy technicians. You spent a lot of time introducing them to enhance services and EQUIPP, you know, what were the responses like and how are people feeling about this new opportunity to provide patient care services via EQUIPP?
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So I was excited personally by all of the pharmacy's excitement. So I talked to both technicians and pharmacists at Idea Share. I actually met some technicians at one of the lunch and learns because I was one. I used to be a technician, so I kind of went in there to see that's my idea. So we would share. So a demo of the Enhanced Services site and everyone would be like, This is great.
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This is awesome. Let me grab my brother or Let me grab my friend and have you show them. It was awesome to see the community that independents have with each other. It's not a competition. It's more like, Hey, let me help you too. And as a former technician, like I said, it's also really exciting to see how these programs are bringing in technicians to the mix, allowing them to collect the blood pressure and A1C readings.
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And I think the pharmacists were excited about that too, because they're like, I don't have time to do this. I'm already doing so much. And we're like, No, you're technicians can do this too. And they're like, Oh, okay, that's great. So that was really exciting for me.
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That is excellent. Stephanie As you mention here, you are a pharmacy technician by background. You've been a part of different organizations. We have picked us, have have worked with. And it's one of the things that I think is really key about our vision at peak us is that we've been in those shoes. We know what it's like, whether it be from a pharmacy technician role or from a pharmacist perspective, and that really allows us to position pharmacy as the industry, as a community pharmacies for success with these programs that we know pharmacists can do.
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And that leads me to my quick follow up question. When you talked about these enhanced services, were most pharmacies already doing these services or were they already thinking about this, or was this something that was kind of a new concept to them?
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And it's kind of a mix of both. I think there are some that are already are doing blood pressure readings, are agency and so or, you know, doing different types of programs that they have available. So it's really going to be just, you know, getting that documentation in for them. But I think the health care industry really saw what we already knew about pharmacy and what we can do in pharmacy.
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The pharmacy industry and during COVID. So with that, with the testing and the immunizations, pharmacies really stepped up and helped out. And so I think if we can engage in these opportunities that we have for 2023, that there's going to be more opportunities available in 2024 in this clinical aspect. And, you know, it's exciting from being in pharmacy for so long.
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We know how how much the community pharmacy does for their patients and the connection they have. And I think it's super exciting that the rest of the health care industry is also recognizing that as well.
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Absolutely. And Stephanie, I've got one final question for you. And based on that latest response, I, I think I know where you're where you're heading or where you will head in the response to this. But as we look ahead to 2024, what's your gut feeling about pharmacy practice? Are things heading in the right direction? You know, is there light at the end of the tunnel here?
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You know, what do you expect for pharmacy in 2024?
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So, yeah, kind of honestly, along the same lines, I think the first few months might be a little bit tough because the drug hangover, but if we engage, like I said in the 2023 opportunities that will give you some extra revenue for for that 2024 coming up. And then if and then I think really there's going to be a lot of opportunities for pharmacies in terms of clinical opportunities and kind of diversifying their business and getting some extra revenue.
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Excellent. Well, before we let you go, Stephanie, in your role as Quality programs manager, you are very familiar with many of these new opportunities and services that are to be available for pharmacies via EQUIPP. So do you have any last minute tips, recommendations or maybe minimum requirements as to how frequently pharmacies should be reviewing their equipped dashboards?
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Well, with these new opportunities, they're updated weekly. So if you're not at least going in there monthly, you should be doing that. But weekly is even better because there's going to be a lot of things coming through. So I would say definitely just make it a part of your routine. I know pharmacies that I've worked with in the past, if they made it a part of their daily tasks like filling up vials or, you know, finishing the rest of your refills and all that stuff, just make it a part of your your weekly checklist of things to do.
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And then you can incorporate it into your workflow and have those already done.
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Fantastic. Well, Stephanie, thank you for your time here today on the show. Thank you for spending your time or some of your time this summer meeting with the pharmacies and getting them to become informed, engaged and educated about these enhanced service programs. We know that the pharmacy teams can step up and provide a number of patient care services beyond what is currently permitted or what has been permitted or what has been paid for by different payers.
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So we're really excited for this feature. Appreciate your time. Thanks for joining today. Now audience, stay tuned. We've got one final interview before we wrap up Today's episode, All our Quality Corner show listeners. We are back with our final interview from the peak U.S. summer trade show season. And I have with me today Ian Hubbell, my teammate here at PQS..
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Ian, how are you today?
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Doing pretty well. How about you?
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Excellent. I am I am fine. Excited to wrap up this series because it's very exciting for me and I can't wait to share these messages with our listeners. But Ian, before we begin, let's get to know or let's make sure our audience knows who you are. So who are you? We already covered your name, but who are you?
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What's your role? I peek us and then as part of the PQS team, What trade show did you attend this summer?
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Yeah, sure. So my name is Ian Hubbell. I'm the senior director of Strategic Initiatives here at PQS.. My role here is really to help to one look at our current software, look at our current offerings, see where we have opportunities to be able to help our partners, whether that's pharmacy or health plan and really work with them to help to ensure that we're we're providing the best service possible and providing, you know, the overall goals that that our pharmacy and health plan partners have.
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So that's really it in a nutshell. Very high level.
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Excellent. All right. And then you and I were at a trade show together this summer. So what show was that for our audience?
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We were at ABC, so we were at Thoughtspot and it was a really great conference, really great turnout at the trade show. You know, I can't tell you how many it was. It was first trade show that I went to as a representative of PQS, and it was just very welcoming and just very strong showing by by the pharmacies that were there.
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So it was it was wonderful to see.
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Excellent. Yeah, I certainly share that sentiment myself. But Ian, let's go ahead. We'll jump into our questions, our questions for today. Just a couple. We had a lot of conversations with pharmacies and with pharmacy staff members who may have been pharmacy owners. It may have been frontline pharmacist, it may have been pharmacy technicians. We saw a lot of those at the show as well.
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So there were a lot of folks asking about how they're going to use, equip and how we are helping them as we move the move into a new year, that being 2024. So what were some of the lessons? What were some of the items that you shared and what were some of the responses that you got from pharmacy team members as we discussed how they can utilize equip to make a successful 2024?
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Yeah. So first and foremost, there was a lot of excitement around EQUIPP and the new version of it, the release of it. There was a lot of intense interest, I would say, both on, on how the how the functionality is a lot of, you know, compliments really. So kudos to the team for for the design and the overall display of it.
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And then really there was a lot of excitement towards our enhanced services and the offerings that we're providing now. So whether that's anyone see CBP soon to be a year end adherence monitoring program, we've got a couple others that are actually coming out in the near future as well that we were able to talk to and talk to folks in person and to maybe not talk through that through the podcast, but really some really neat and interesting items that are coming out that, you know, pharmacies haven't traditionally had the opportunity to be able to to do these types of clinical outreaches and approaches.
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So it's been really just a lot of excitement from from the pharmacists, from the from the text that we spoke with from the owners around. These not only are the clinical opportunities, but they're revenue generating opportunities for them as well. And so these are these are elements that that are helping our health plans. These are elements that are helping the pharmacies, you know, to achieve higher measures to achieve these higher goals.
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But as a direct reimbursement to direct payment, I should say, for for these these activities. So it's it's a brand new service. And overall exercise. So a lot of that that conversation really was going through our our our new interface and going through the enhanced services portion of it and really going through with most the folks that we talked with just general excitement about that, that new tab that's there.
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I was going to say there was also, interestingly enough, because of the fees going away and I don't know, we're not really truly going, but but I don't know if there were maybe some kind of additional conversations that seem to be going around. One of the really interesting aspects for folks thought that the adherence measures themselves were going away where, you know, there was a lot of conversation around that.
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And first and foremost, those I don't see going away anytime soon, you know, for a couple of different reasons. But but ultimately, you know, adherence will still matter for the patients, for the health plans and for the pharmacies. They will still be something that are heavily focused on and measured both by commerce, by by health plans and really ultimately the the the pharmacies to still focus on those for a couple of different reasons.
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One is certainly that that has to do with with how payment is being made in pharmacies but also to and really importantly, obviously is the overall benefit and the welfare and health of the patients. And so those measures, I don't I don't see going away. So hopefully we can put that that item to rest as well. But there were a number of folks that that came that that seemed to be talking through that.
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And really it's such an important measure or measures that I don't I don't really see that going away any time soon.
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Yeah, absolutely agree that that question has come up or did come up a few times during the show. And, you know, folks, our pharmacies are still ready to face the challenges ahead. I think the best way is that they were on that fact finding mission where hey to with changes that are coming. Is adherence still a focus or does it still need to be an.
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Our answer was unequivocally yes. Actually, it might matter more, you know, to the pharmacies than it did before. So we're definitely going to keep that as a topic that is front and center. But also talking about blood pressure screenings, hemoglobin A1C and the other items that we have that are not yet announced, but coming down the pipeline.
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Aside from that, Ian, final question for you here. Before we before we do wrap up, you know, from from the show, we spoke with a lot of pharmacies. You have spent a number of years working with different pharmacy organizations. Do you have a pretty good understanding of this industry and those that are in it? How are you feeling about the opportunities for community pharmacy?
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You know, as we head to 2024, I think there's some some folks may have a little bit of anxiety or heartburn, but I think some people are really, you know, ready to embrace the future. Where do you stand?
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I stand ready to embrace the future. Honestly, I think that there's more opportunities that will be coming out for community pharmacies than there ever have been before. And so, you know, I mentioned a couple of the enhanced services. Right. There's more that'll be coming out as well. I think that there's there's certainly a right to to speculate and have some concern over what what it all means now that there's the regulation changes and overall changes in the air.
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But ultimately, I think that there's a continued march down the path of having pharmacies and pharmacies be able to do more. And that's something that I'm really excited about, being able to provide those types of opportunities, being able to to, you know, help to to measure and monitor and provide ultimately those those clinical services and other services that pharmacists are trained to do have the ability to do.
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And it's it's just making sure that they actually have something that they can do in a manner that is efficient. And, you know, again, that's that's an area that I think most pharmacists will say is, hey, I want to help. How are we able to do this in the time that we have? And so it's really being able to to free up some of their time and their ability to do that.
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And I think that's what EQUIPP does, is it allows them to see it in the snapshot and then be able to to work with those patients quickly.
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Well, that is a great note for us to end on. Right. There's there's so much opportunity for the pharmacy team and there's so much opportunity for pharmacist and pharmacy technicians to do more, to be recognized for more and to be paid for these services that they that they are providing. And we, of course, are happy to continue that push forward.
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And we look forward to the engagement with the pharmacy teams. And Ian and I, while we were at Thoughtspot last year, we hope to see many of you listeners at some of the trade shows next year or other events coming up. So Ian, thank you for your time today. Thanks for your work at the Thoughtspot Trade show and for our audience.
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Stay tuned. We'll have one final wrap up before we close out this episode.
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Thanks so much.
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To. All right, everyone. Well, that concludes this episode of The Quality Corner Show. I really want to thank my teammates, Patti, Stephanie, Ian, for jumping on to record these sections with me. They were all fantastic and did a great job sharing some of the messages, some of the inspiration, some of the questions, but really sharing the perspective of us at us.
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But also the pharmacies that we spoke with at the trade shows this summer. We had a number of other teammates that picked us, too many for me to name right here in this audio format. So I really appreciate the efforts for those that we did not get to use for this recording. But our team at us is really excited for what the road ahead looks like as we continue to utilize equipped for the increased functionality and the ability for pharmacists to document and be recognized and paid for providing primary care services, especially focusing on those opportunities for blood pressure screenings and hemoglobin a onesie.
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So we'll be back soon with another episode of the Quality Corner Show. But until then, we have one final message from the team at Pharmacy Quality Solutions.
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