Revolutionizing Patient Care
Diana Smith, owner and CEO of Medical-Dental Pharmacy, has been a pharmacist for 24 years, and her family has been in the pharmacy business for 48 years, with over 600,000 patients on file. Smith’s focus is genetics and personalized medicine.
“(My focus is) drilling down into the health of people, understanding how they’re going to metabolize medications … appropriate dosing, making sure it’s right for them, their disease. It’s all personalized medicine. Whether it’s hormones, neurochemistry, genetics, gut function, it’s all about getting people healthy.”
Medical-Dental Pharmacy differs from big corporation pharmacies because it’s compounding only. This means that everything is made in-pharmacy. Smith makes her medicines from scratch using bulk active pharmaceutical ingredients, or APIs, in a very clinical setting. Everything is custom. Smith also reviews her patients’ prescriptions and works closely with physicians. She is a patient advocate.“I jump in when I think the dose is too high or too low, the dosage form. Maybe they need a different route, they’re not absorbing it. (I) really drill down into what’s going to work for the patients.”
Self-Care versus Healthcare
People, especially baby boomers, have an increased awareness of what they put into their bodies, and dislike taking medicines with chemicals, preservatives, or dyes. “We do carry supplements that are pharmaceutical grade, that are hypo-allergenic, veggie caps. Most everything we compound is dye-free, really taking into account allergens … for people.”
Google and other educational devices have allowed people to take increased responsibility for their health. “Sometimes you go into the doctor and you know more than the physician … because you’ve been researching it. They’ve been looking at a big picture and you’re drilled down into one thing.” It’s encouraging that people are more interested in treating the cause of their problems than the symptoms.
“I encourage people to be responsible and take care of yourself and stay out of the system. It’s a mess right now. Patient care is not the priority. It’s all about revenue. Our providers are frustrated. They’re angry. They’re changing their form of practice … so they can survive and have a practice and a staff. It’s a mess. Obamacare really needs to be reformed.” Patients aren’t getting care. Physicians and their staff aren’t getting reimbursed. As a result, some of them are consolidating into groups, and the patient then becomes just a number.
Medical-Dental Pharmacy isn’t your typical big corporation pharmacy. “We’re all about patient care.” Medical-Dental Pharmacy offers quarterly educational seminars and testing. Urine tests checking for proper metabolization, blood tests checking for nutrient deficiencies, hair analyses checking for metals, and saliva tests are all offered.
Diana Smith was born into a pharmaceutical family. “It’s always been a part of my life. I was actually born at UCSF when my dad was in pharmacy school. So I’ve lived it and I’ve breathed it my entire life. We opened our first store when I was five. We’ve had (about) twelve different locations. So I’ve worked all the way from being a delivery driver to being a pharmacy tech, to doing accounting, running … errands, restocking, ordering… I actually kind of fought it. When I was eighteen, my dad took me to UCSF and said ‘hey, here, this is my alma mater.’ (He was) so proud of UCSF, and he was probably one of the youngest graduates they had, in their original … program back in the 60’s.”
Smith wanted to try other things. “It didn’t catch me.” She moved to Cal Poly to continue her education, then dabbled in selling insurance and being a flight attendant before deciding to go back to school for pharmacy. She took 40 units in one year, spent 37 hours in class a week with labs, and held down a couple of jobs to earn her degree.
Advice to Her Younger Self
Although she might tell her younger self to start earlier, Smith has no regrets about her ten years in college. “I don’t regret a minute of it. I traveled extensively, I studied abroad and don’t regret any of that.”
When her children tell her their dreams, she encourages them to have no regrets as well. “Do it! Now’s the time. No regrets. Don’t hold back. Certainly be directed in what you’re going to do. That would have saved me a couple years … but I wouldn’t have any of those experiences.”
At the same time, Smith advises being true to yourself. “Just be really diligent in your values and your integrity.”
On What Brings Her Joy
“Definitely my family. My husband, my children, all my pets, my friends, Bible studies … and great music,” says Smith, fondly recalling her job as a DJ during college. She’s also influenced by books. “More currently, it’s the Bible. I’m an avid reader. I read journals.” She enjoys motivational speakers, conferences, and learning from other people.
Her parents’ owning their own pharmacy may have had an entrepreneurial influence on Smith. “I’ve always been … outside of the box. (For example) Bioidentical hormones. I brought those into the community in 1996. Doctors told me I was crazy. Absolutely nuts. ‘Why would you do this? It’s dangerous. There’s no information. There’s no studies.’ And now everyone’s doing it. In 1999, I asked a physician to open up a med spa with me. ‘Why would anybody want (that)?’ How many are in town now?”
Contact Diana Smith
“You can definitely visit our website, which is RXCompounders.com or call us at 559-439-1190 or just stop in to introduce yourself. We’re located at the South East corner of First and Nees. We want to see you. We want to meet you. Come in. Check us out. We have a lot to offer. Don’t be afraid. I’m here to help ease your mind and understand what’s going on.”