“We Believe in You”
While pharmacological activity can be traced back to as early as the 16th Century BC, today’s retail pharmacies play an even more critical role in the healthcare of our nation’s estimated 330 million citizens. Americans are served by approximately 67,000 pharmacies in the United States, which are located in a variety of retail settings, including standalone pharmacies, grocery, and department stores. With the continued consolidation of services in today’s healthcare industry, it’s not surprising that more than 40% of all pharmacies are owned by only 25 pharmacy chains.
Pharmacies nowadays are very much different than the pharmacies many of us remember as children, where most pharmacies were privately owned by a druggist behind the counter. The druggist and the store’s staff had a personal relationship with all their customers. They were neighbors. They attended the same churches and participated in the same civic activities. Just as importantly, they had a professional relationship with their local family physician. Today most of us select our pharmacy primarily on the basis of convenience. That’s not to say we wouldn’t choose a different pharmacy if they provided a higher level of service – it’s just that most pharmacies today have become “generic.” If the name of the pharmacy wasn’t displayed prominently throughout the store, you likely couldn’t tell one pharmacy from the other.
This was the experience of local pharmacist and entrepreneur, Ellen Phillips, who recently decided to really shake things up in the retail pharmaceutical marketplace right here in Knoxville. Armed with 20 years of firsthand experience as a pharmacist, Ellen and her compassionate and caring team of highly trained associates are preparing to launch believeRX, which is designed to dramatically change the way you view your neighborhood pharmacy. Holistic and interactive, believeRX is committed to helping each of you to “Live Your Best Life.”
In this issue of Everything Knoxville, we’re excited to bring you this interview with Ellen, believeRX co-owner and founder, as well as Gabriella Bowers, believeRX co-owner. We’re confident you’ll be as enthusiastic about believeRX and its potential health benefits for you and your family as we are.
EK: Provide our readers with a brief bio of yourself, including your education and professional experience.
Ellen: I’m from Church Hill, Tennessee. I graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy in 1998 with a Pharm D degree. I have both retail and hospital pharmacy experience, with some clinical pharmacy experience, and have been a pharmacy manager for a large corporate retail chain. I’ve been a Pharmacy Preceptor for several Pharmacy Schools, and in 2016, I was awarded the Pharmacist Excellence Award from my employer. I’m also a Certified Health Coach.
EK: Describe some of your past “what if” moments as a pharmacist employed by a pharmaceutical chain where you identified lost opportunities to better serve your customers.
Ellen: There were “what if” moments and missed opportunities with patients I had when working for a large retail chain, where you are required to do things their way. You follow an established routine that doesn’t encourage creativity or thinking outside the box. While I’m thankful for these real life experiences, I’m also grateful for the many opportunities I had to imagine how the services we provided could be improved upon to better serve the needs of our customers.
One terminally ill patient was having difficulty getting his required medications from his doctor’s office. I told him that his time was the most important thing to me. I helped him get the needed medications. Once placed in a hospice, he could no longer come to the pharmacy anymore, but his mother came to get his medication. After he passed, she came to me and said, “You know why we came here, don’t you? We live in Crossville, and my son refused to allow the hospice to send his prescription anywhere else.”
That was a defining moment for me in my career and the foundation upon which we want to build believeRX upon. I’m grateful for the team I have now that came from them for the most part, as well as the patients I’ve met throughout the years. I have patients who have been with me since the beginning of my career, and they place their trust in me to this day!
EK: You’ve expressed your enthusiasm for the team of professionals you have assembled to launch believeRX. Let’s introduce them to our readers.
Ellen: My experience in retail pharmacy introduced me to many of the area’s best pharmaceutical professionals from which we have assembled our amazing team. Our team includes:
Gabriella Bowers – Gabby is a Knoxville native and Farragut High School graduate. She is also co-owner of believeRX. She received an associate degree in arts and science and is a Certified Pharmacy Technician with more than 12 years of pharmaceutical experience. Gabby is also a Personal Health Coach and teaches group fitness classes at several area gyms. Her certifications include Yoga, Primary Aerobic Instructor, Barre, and Les Mills Body Pump. She believes in keeping a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Gabby is married with four children.
Shadrielle Robbins – Shadrielle attended Northwestern State University in Louisiana and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree with a Biomedical Concentration. We began working together 2015, and I was immediately impressed with her ability to handle difficult situations and maintain composure. Shadrielle has a strong work ethic and is currently attending South College of Pharmacy, where she will graduate in May 2021 with a Pharm D degree. We are proud of the fact that Shadrielle is believeRX’s first pharmacy intern.
Carla White – Carla, a Certified Pharmacy Technician, began working with me in 1998. She is also a Certified Nursing Assistant and Certified Dialysis Technician. Carla is definitely a people person. I remain amazed at how many patients ask for her personally. She is also becoming a Certified Health Coach. Carla is the mother of twin girls and a boy.
Megan Dukes Tingen – Megan is a 2012 graduate of the University of Tennessee and has work experience in event coordination and human resources. A few years ago she decided to join the medical field and pursue a career in nursing. She will graduate from South College with her BSN this fall. When she learned that I was going to open my own pharmacy, Megan knew that she wanted to be a part of my team, because we both value preventative healthcare. She is excited to contribute her nursing knowledge to the pharmacy and our patients.
EK: Many on your team are moms. That has to make you more sensitive to the families you serve.
Gabby: Both Ellen and I are moms and are very sensitive to the unique needs of other families. There have been many times in the past where moms just like you have needed something from the pharmacy, especially for little ones, but a trip to the pharmacy was made even more difficult because of a sick child. That’s why believeRX will offer after-hours delivery services. Moms understand moms!
EK: Our readers will be excited to learn about where your first pharmacy will be located and your planned opening date.
Gabby: believeRX will be located at 9627 Countryside Center Lane in Knoxville. Our building is directly across from Food City on Middlebrook. We are scheduled to open in the second half of June 2019, with our grand opening later in the summer.
EK: What differences from the typical generic pharmacy will customers experience at believeRX? Can you provide some examples?
Ellen: believeRX is committed to providing a service level that exceeds your expectations. Clear communication skills, being attentive to customers, and possessing a thorough knowledge of all of our products are just a few of the ways we’ll provide the highest level customer service. But we won’t rely solely on our 33 years of combined pharmacy experience. We’re committed to learning and growing as our industry and the needs of our customers continue to evolve.
Our services include:
» A full-service pharmacy that accepts all prescription insurance plans: If you discover that your medications are too expensive, we’ll work with you to find a lower cost alternative that puts your health first.
» After-hours delivery service: If it’s after hours and you need an urgent medication, we have you covered with our after-hours delivery service. Established patients can use our after-hours drop box for their prescription. Call the after-hours phone number and go home to rest. We’ll take care of the rest, and once your prescription is ready, we’ll personally deliver it directly to your home.
» Specialty medications that are high-cost oral or injectable medications used to treat complex chronic conditions: Personalized pharmacist-patient relationship, handling, and distribution are necessary to ensure appropriate administration. Home delivery is also available.
» Vaccinations (including travel vaccines): We will also notify you when you are due for vaccinations in order to avoid immunization gaps. A series of medical screening tests will also be provided.
» A large selection of Pro-Active Supplements: Not all vitamins are created equal, so innovation and experience matters. We will offer only the latest supplements with multiple health benefits, taking advantage of the newest technologies to deliver cutting-edge formulas.
» Certified Nurse Practitioner: believeRX will also be staffed after hours by a Certified Nurse Practitioner.
EK: What are your hours of operation?
Gabby: We are open 8:30 am to 7 pm Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm Saturday, and 12 to 5 pm Sunday.
EK: How can you help our readers experience your motto, “Live Your Best Life,” firsthand?
Ellen: At believeRX, expect to discover a level of compassionate care focused on you and your family that you might have thought no longer existed in today’s assembly line response to healthcare. Our team will listen carefully to you and provide you with a level of care designed to meet your unique needs. Not just another generic pharmacy, believeRX is a pharmacy with a heart for your family. Our name says it all. “We Believe in You” and your goal for better health and longevity.
EK: How can our readers learn more about believeRX?
Gabby: Visit our website at www.mybelieveRX.com or visit us during our normally scheduled business hours.
9627 Countryside Center Lane
Knoxville, TN 37931