“If you just focus on learning one thing per day, in a year you will learn 364 new things,” Ryan Chan, Pharmacy Director for The Exchange District Pharmacy, shares his philosophy with us. It’s the same philosophy he shares time and time again with the pharmacy students whom he mentors.
A passionate pharmacist and entrepreneur who has been involved in multiple acquisitions and pharmacy start-ups, Ryan has undoubtedly learned a lot in his 15 year (and counting) career. One of the key things he has learned is that patient experience is the most important factor of the pharmacy business. In fact, Ryan’s pharmacy at 286 McDermot Avenue strives to treat every single patient like family. “Our interactions with them is the best part of the business.”
On the topic of patient interactions, there was an overwhelming uptick in phone calls and visits during the height of the pandemic – particularly during the roll-out of vaccinations.
“We were significantly busier during 2020 and 2021 because walk-ins and physicians’ offices were closed,” recalls Ryan. “So if people needed advice, they came to us. We would get about 200-300 extra phone calls a day.”
While the pandemic resulted in serious pharmacist fatigue (and that’s probably an understatement), Ryan believes that it highlighted just how important the role of a pharmacist is. “There has historically been many misconceptions about what a pharmacist does. We aren’t pill counters – that’s just the dispensary part that only makes up a small part of our job.”
“Our expertise lies in therapeutics,” explains Ryan. “We are trained to give you the best treatment for a diagnosis while ensuring that it is affordable for you.”
Some might not even know that pharmacists have the ability to prescribe for bladder infections, birth control, acne, and a wide array of other conditions. And, of course, they can administer vaccinations.
While the job can be taxing – particularly during pandemics – Ryan feels extremely fulfilled in his role as a Pharmacy Director. “The best part about pharmacy is being told by patients that the treatment or advice you offered made a difference with their condition and overall wellbeing. That is something that money cannot buy.”