Achilles Katras

Senior Clinical Pharmacist – OptimiseRx

What do you like best about working for FDB?

What’s not to like?! I love it - it’s challenging but never stressful, I’m always learning new things and I have very supportive colleagues. The company has a huge emphasis on learning and development, and FDB is currently supporting me in my Master of Science in Health Informatics. Everyone is so friendly here and there is a huge pool of expertise across the company – from specialist health informaticists to clinicians, designers, marketing experts, product and IT specialists – we all work together. 

What drew you to FDB?

It’s complicated! I worked as a pharmacist in a variety of sectors in the UK, in a hospital, in a prison and within community pharmacy. When I saw an advert for the role, I was intrigued; I couldn’t quite make sense of what the role was, as it was so different to everything else I had done previously. However, I was very curious, and as I was looking for something different and wanted to try to something new – I arranged for a very quick call with my now line manager. She convinced me it was right role for me! When I applied for the job, I was on a career break travelling around Greece, after finishing my postgraduate studies in clinical pharmacy.

Did you have an induction?

I had a very comprehensive formal induction over two weeks, and it was only after this time that I was slowly given tasks to do which gradually became more challenging. This approach means that as you gain more confidence, the challenge of the task increases. I was also assigned a ‘buddy’ – a senior clinical researcher – who was so helpful during the entire induction period. In fact, everyone was really helpful!

What’s your day-to-day work life like (daily tasks etc.)

In my role with OptimiseRx, we design messages to be used within the solution. The messages we present to primary care users are targeted to try and guide them to a more cost effective or safer prescribing decision. In order to do this, we design messages that will appear for the right conditions and the right patient. As pharmacists, we are involved in all aspects of message design, including the clinical design. We need to ensure the message is clinically accurate, unambiguous, safe and won’t lead to prescribing the wrong thing. The messages must be very clear and well supported with evidence.

I also work on the editorial process to make sure messages are error free, concise, elegant and following our editorial processes. I love designing and coding the logic behind the messages; our solution employs Boolean logic (true/ false) to look at patients’ records for their age, sex, conditions, co-morbidities etc and ensure messages appear only for the right patient, at the right time.. Some messages only pop up when the patient has or has not tried certain drugs in the past. We also work hard to make sure that messages will not randomly annoy users with over alerting.

I am also involved in documentation (Editorial Policies, Work Instructions) creation and maintenance, training and development of new colleagues, and behind-the-scenes health informatics tasks.

What do you find challenging?

My main challenge was that the role was so different to anything I had done in the past, and there was a steep learning curve. However, with the induction programme - plus the help of my colleagues - it has been an excellent learning experience. As a pharmacist, I like to feel that I make a difference. Although I do miss direct patient contact, I then remember that as we have so many customers using the solutions all over the UK, we are making a positive difference to many more patients – which I love!

What would your number one tip for new starters be?

I would advise new starters to be patient and never be afraid to ask colleagues, who are always happy to help.