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Kirk A. Calhoun, MD
President
University of Texas Health Center at Tyler
Tyler, TX


The University of Texas Health Center at Tyler encourages patients and community members to bring their medications for a free consultation with staff during Pharmacy Brown Bag Day. Calhoun describes the annual daylong event, which attracts about 50 participants, and explains how it increases patients’ involvement in their care, reduces medication errors and cuts costs.

Calhoun: I have two elderly parents, both of whom take handfuls of medications. Even though I’m a physician, I find it a challenge to manage their medications properly. Giving patients an opportunity to bring in their medications, sit down in an unhurried environment with a professional and go through the “whys” and “what fors” is a valuable service to the community.

The Pharmacy Brown Bag Day was held in the lobby of our ambulatory building, which is a setting where patients come and go regularly. Staffing it was a pharmacist, a clinical pharmacologist, a pharmacy resident and a pharmacy student. Patients were able to sit there for as long as they like and ask their questions and have a pharmacist look over their medications.

We made people aware of the event through fliers and a newspaper ad, and we gave postcards to patients who had clinic appointments. We were surprised at how valuable the event was. We identified patients who were taking medications that interfered with each other, and in a number of cases we were able to help patients by altering the dosage or the type of pharmaceutical therapy that they were taking. We were able to save them money.

—Molly Rowe