Purdue Profiles: Nicole Noel

January 16, 2013  


Nicole Noel

Nicole Noel, medication therapy management pharmacist at the Center for Healthy Living. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)
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Nothing is more important to Nicole Noel than helping her patients manage their medications' safety, price and effectiveness, among other concerns.

Noel is a medication therapy management pharmacist who will be based in the Center for Healthy Living when it opens in late February. Some of the center's services will be offered exclusively to those covered on the Purdue Choice Fund, Purdue Incentive and Purdue Copay medical plans. Other services, such as those provided by Noel, will be available to all benefits-eligible employees, regardless of medical plan participation.

The center will be located in the Purdue West shopping center. Noel currently works out of the State Street Office Facility. She started her position at Purdue in October and is taking appointments from patients now.

What is your role as a medication therapy management pharmacist?

I meet with individuals who are covered on Purdue's health plans on a regular basis.

During these meetings, I talk with patients about the medications they're taking. My role is to complement the care their physicians are giving them. After they're prescribed medication, I help increase their understanding of each drug, assess their medication regimens and, by doing so, improve their overall health. Right now, because the Center for Healthy Living isn't open yet, I'm meeting with patients on campus, in their offices or in other private areas.

Patients can request appointments by emailing me at nlnoel@purdue.edu or by calling me at 49-66833.

What do you focus on during your sessions with patients?

There are five areas I typically cover during sessions. They are the safety, tolerability, effectiveness, price and simplicity of medication regimens.

For example, to improve medication safety I screen each medication patients are taking to check for potential drug interactions and allergy concerns. I also check patients' tolerability to their medications -- meaning I find out whether patients are having side effects and, if they are, how to minimize them.

I also give patients general information about their prescriptions' expected effectiveness, about how to find appropriate lower-cost alternatives, and about how to decrease the complexity of their medication regimen.

Who is eligible to schedule a medication therapy management session?

Anyone who is covered by a Purdue health plan -- including employees, spouses/same-sex domestic partners and dependents -- can request an appointment. In general, we meet with individuals who are taking four or more chronic medications, but that number isn't set in stone. I'll meet with anyone who is taking a medication and wants help or has questions.

Before our first session, I send patients a welcome packet that explains more about medication therapy management practices. I also ask them about their personal health care priority -- whether they want to focus on managing side effects, lowering their costs, or  simplifying their daily medication regimen. I use that information to guide our appointments. Basically, my job is for patients to see the value in medication therapy management and for them to get the most out of their Purdue health care plan.

What are the overall benefits of medication therapy management?

For employees, the benefits are tremendous. It provides them with a confidential, supportive opportunity to ask questions about their medications. My goal is for  patients to have a true understanding of their medication regimens and to be confident that their health care management is sound.

Medication therapy management also increases the effectiveness of employees' health care, and it helps them feel more at ease with the medications they take.

How did you become interested in medication therapy management?

Originally, I wanted to be a doctor -- but after attending a forum on medicine while in high school, and seeing firsthand how stressful practicing medicine can be, I decided to pursue pharmacy. It's still in the medical field, but I'm dealing with patients who I know I'm helping to feel better. That's important to me.

After graduating from Purdue in 2008 with a doctorate in pharmacy, I worked in community pharmacy as a pharmacy manager. Then, when this job opened, I jumped at the opportunity to help establish Purdue's medication therapy management program.

I was also excited to return to Purdue, because I'm a Lafayette native. This has always been home for me, and I'm excited to return to the Purdue family.

Writer: Amanda Hamon, 49-61325, ahamon@purdue.edu

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