Steve Leuck ’87, PharmD describes himself as a health literacy zealot. In 2011, he had the idea to create AudibleRx, a digital library of medication information in laymen’s terms that is available in written and audio form.
Through his research, he discovered that while the Food and Drug Administration requires documentation be provided to a patient when they are prescribed a new medication, the content of the document is not regulated and is often created by a third-party company. In addition, 21 percent of adults in the United States have low literacy skills, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. AudibleRx is a valuable resource for individuals with visual impairments and literacy challenges, such as dyslexia. Dr. Leuck has shared his vision for AudibleRx nationwide; including a presentation at an American Council of the Blind convention in Las Vegas and an interview on The Business of Pharmacy Podcast.
Dr. Leuck emphasizes AudibleRx is meant to supplement, not replace, counseling with a doctor or pharmacist. The resource is free for individual users and can be licensed for free by health care practitioners to use as an educational tool.
AudibleRx is a grassroots company with a path for growth. “I have every confidence it will be the drug information source individuals will use to get their consumer medication information,” he said. The library currently encompasses 300 commonly prescribed medications. AudibleRx currently has audio recordings and written descriptions in English and Spanish, and written description in Vietnamese. Dr. Leuck’s goal is to add more medications and offer translations in at least two additional languages.
Dr. Leuck has been a practicing pharmacist for 33 years. Since 1997, he has served as an outpatient pharmacist at Dignity Health in Santa Cruz. “We are acutely involved in the discharge planning process,” he said. “We coordinate with nurses, social workers and case managers to ensure that patients have the medications they need in their hands when they leave the hospital.”
The AudibleRx library currently encompasses 300 commonly prescribed medications, with audio recordings and written descriptions in English and Spanish, and written description in Vietnamese.
Over the years, he has helped spearhead initiatives to improve medication therapy management (MTM) and address barriers to medication adherence. Dr. Leuck also offers his services as a medication consultant private practitioner, meeting one-on-one with patients to perform a thorough MTM review.
Dr. Leuck’s professional accomplishments are a result of focus and determination. “Opportunities are not going to come looking for you, you have to go looking for them,” he said. “You need to take that under your own wing. Find what you are passionate about and take the steps towards that end point.”
His advice for pharmacy students and alumni is to curate one’s digital presence. “Create a LinkedIn profile and become part of the conversation,” he said. Dr. Leuck encourages students to connect with professionals in their field of interest. A good place to start is by contacting members of the Pacific Pharmacy Alumni Association board. He also recommends blogging as he believes having the discipline to connect with others is a powerful tool for shaping and focusing one’s interests. He follows his own advice and his thoughts on the profession can be found at ViewpointRx.
By Anne Marie H. Bergthold