Pharmacist interview: Alyssa Fusillo

Pharmacist interview: Alyssa Fusillo

Alyssa Fusillo is a qualified Pharmacist and one of our Medicine Review Specialists. Learn more about her role within Claims Pharmacy in our spotlight interview.

Tell us about your background in pharmacy

I have worked in Community Pharmacy since registering as a Pharmacist in 2014. Soon after registering, I was offered a Pharmacist Manager position at the Community Pharmacy I was working in which granted me wonderful learning experiences early on in my career. I have always been interested in offering more than just a Dispensing Service, and so was involved in running programs such as Women’s Health Checks & Diabetes Checks in the Pharmacy. I was one of the first Pharmacists within the banner group I was working for to undertake the Pharmacist Immuniser program and so was responsible for running the vaccination program at our pharmacy from 2017.

What is your role at Claims Pharmacy and what drew you to it?

My role at Claims Pharmacy is to perform reviews of the worker’s medications by speaking to the various prescribers involved in the worker’s care. These discussions often involve speaking to General Practitioners, Psychiatrists and Pain Specialists about the ongoing management of the worker. The idea of being involved in improving a worker’s care by reviewing their current medications and liasing with prescribers to ensure the quality use of medication was something of interest to me. As a pharmacist, our knowledge of medications plays a vital role in ensuring the patient is being managed appropriately and that prescribing is based on current best practice guidelines.

How has your background in pharmacy informed your role at Claim Pharmacy? How does it compare to your past work as a Pharmacist?

As a Community Pharmacist, my day-to-day job involves reviewing patient’s medications, checking doses and the appropriateness of prescribing. This knowledge helps to guide the way in which I approach the medication reviews with Claims Pharmacy. My almost 10 years’ experience as a Community Pharmacist has helped build my strong collaborative skills and has helped me have some fantastic conversations with other care providers.

What has surprised or intrigued you the most in your role as a Medication Review Specialist?

I am really enjoying the clinical side to my role as a Medication Review Specialist, and I have loved developing my skills of problem solving and learning more about pain management in chronic pain conditions. I have really enjoyed seeing the difference we can make as Pharmacists by making suggestions to prescribers which results in improved management of the worker and the quality use of medications.

Why do you feel medication reviews are valuable in helping injured people on their road to recovery?

I think it is so important that regular medication reviews are conducted so that opportunities to improve the worker’s management, regarding the medications they are taking, are identified. Polypharmacy can contribute to significantly more adverse effects and medication errors and so the role of the Pharmacist in identifying where certain medications can be rationalized or deprescribed is invaluable. As Pharmacists, we can help encourage prescribers to consider reducing doses of medications, ceasing medications that may not be offering a clear benefit and suggesting alternative medications based on best practice guidelines.

What are some of the things injured people and insurers should be most aware of that you have come across in your work?

It is so important that for any medication that is prescribed that the prescriber can identify the benefit it is providing to the injured worker. We need to ensure that for each medication prescribed, there is a clear indication within the claim and that the medication prescribed is providing a clear benefit to the patient that outweighs any risks associated with that medication. Having a discussion with the prescriber about how they plan to determine the effectiveness of a medication allows us to develop a clear and specific management plan for the injured person, with clear treatment goals in place that can be worked towards in a collaborative manner.

As a Pharmacist, how do you see medication management helping injured people in the current landscape?

I believe that as a Pharmacist, offering a medication management service helps to ensure the injured person is only taking medications that are offering a benefit to them, and that there is a clear rationale behind prescribing. Ensuring that there is a clear rationale behind prescribing and ensuring that the injured person has clear and realistic expectations for their treatment is so important for their recovery.