JBM-HH Rader Clinic offers beneficial patient programs
March 8, 2011
By Rhonda Apple
''We want to empower patients to participate in their health care," said Dr. Sharwanda George, a clinical pharmacist at Andrew Rader Army Health Clinic on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.
''We want the patient information to be easy to understand and them to be an active part of the health care team."
George received her doctor of pharmacy degree from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.
She began working as a contractor military pharmacist in January 2000 at Fort Myer prior to the joint base consolidation with Henderson Hall.
In June 2000, she converted to a government service pharmacist. George has been involved in the clinical pharmacy program for about seven years. In addition to helping dispense and fill prescriptions at the clinic pharmacy, George heads the tobacco cessation program.
George said when a person decides they are ready to quit tobacco, they should come in for counseling. George helps patients develop a plan of action for becoming tobacco free. ''I want you to eliminate tobacco from your lifestyle," she said.
''Everyone does well when they're on medications, whether it's tablets, patches or gum - there's great success with the aid of these products for smoking cessation, however the true test is how well will one be able to stay tobacco free once they come off the medication and are faced with the triggers which cause them to want to smoke."
George said Rader Clinic offers one-on-one counseling for smoking cessation. Group sessions are also available upon request.
Patients will return for follow up sessions and counseling to help ensure their success.
''I follow up with the patients three months, six months and one year after they've gone through the smoking cessation program," George said.
Another program George provides is medication management review.
''If someone is taking five or more medications, it's a good idea to have those reviewed to ensure there are no drug to drug interactions, drug-food interactions or drug-disease interactions," said George.
Patients may be seeing more than one medical provider and often they don't tell one what another is prescribing, she said.
''There is a mismatch or possible interaction, so it is a good idea to come to the clinic to have medications reviewed," she said. One of the target diseases George said she strongly feels more focus needs to be given is diabetes.
''We provide education for those patients newly diagnosed with diabetes as well as those who have been diagnosed but never received training or perhaps need a refresher," said George. She said the clinic provides one-on-one sessions and patients have the opportunity to come to classes on diabetes offered at Rader Clinic.
''We help patients develop an individual plan of action for their health care. Perhaps they need to lose weight, increase physical activity or make changes in their eating habits," she said. Once a 30-day plan is implemented, George provides patient follow-up through phone calls or email to check on the patients' progress. She said patients usually are referred to the clinic's nutritionist for help developing a food plan after she sees them.
''Proper health care for diabetes as well as other diagnoses is a team approach," said George.
The reason diabetes is being focused on so strongly is because it's a complex disease, George said.
''Diabetes usually leads to hypertension and high cholesterol. If you can control it, you can probably control other complications that are associated with diabetes," said George.
The clinic is currently working on identifying other top diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and hypertension and cholesterol issues, she said.
''Education is so important because it's one thing for someone to tell you what you need to do and another for someone to help you apply what you should do," she said.
Patient education fliers are available at the clinic through the patient's health care provider.
George said the providers will typically set up a patient consult with her. However, no referrals are needed for any of these services, which are available to any beneficiary of the Department of Defense health care system. To schedule an appointment with George for smoking cessation counseling or medication management review, call the clinic's appointment line at 703-696-7951.
George said if there is an issue booking an appointment, patients can contact her directly at 703-696-7924.