Pharmacists undeniably play an integral role in healthcare. For decades, the public has relied on pharmacists to dispense medications and provide counsel for proper usage. In the ever-changing healthcare landscape, the role of pharmacists has been slowly evolving to respond to changes in the pharmacist-patient relationship.
The increased access to information, the onset of more sophisticated technology, and the growing demands of patients has modified and expanded the types of services that pharmacists provide. To meet these emerging roles, pharmacists must adapt their approach. Below are some tips for pharmacists to provide better care and serve the expanding expectations that patients have today.
Make Educating and Counseling Patients a Priority
Patients trust pharmacists to answer questions related to medications, such as the proper dosage of a medication and potential side effects. Providing this education helps maintain trust and fosters the pharmacist-patient relationship. Additionally, pharmacists who can provide counsel related to medication management, or identify signs that a medication should be changed, can also have a positive effect on patient satisfaction. Reserving time for additional education or counseling of patients improves the quality of care patients receive.
Streamline Medication Pick-Ups
When patients have multiple prescriptions that need regular refills, having to make extra stops at the pharmacy can be inconvenient. Furthermore, patients with multiple medications may get confused when refills are due, and accidentally forget about an essential medication. These inconveniences or mistakes can result in disruptions in the patient’s treatment and ultimately have a negative effect on overall health.
The pharmacist can divert these potential problems by making an extra effort to remind patients of upcoming refills, and sync pick-ups to occur at the same time to reduce the number of stops. This medication streamlining promotes patient convenience and also ensures compliance with treatment.
Provide Patients with Additional Resources
Some patients may have questions or concerns about the health condition they’re facing, but don’t feel comfortable bringing those private matters up in a busy pharmacy. A pharmacist can help discreetly answer those questions by providing information pamphlets about either the medication itself, or even more broadly about the health conditions those medications are designed to combat. A pharmacist should also be able and willing to provide information about support groups or counseling services. Providing this information can help encourage patients to stick with their medication regimens and avoid derailment from essential treatment.
Have Knowledge of Insurance Coverage and Potential Savings
It’s no secret that healthcare and medications can quickly become a financial burden for individuals and families across the country. As a result, a pharmacist should take the initiative to find cost-effective medication solutions for their patients. With a complete knowledge of the various medications covered by specific insurance companies, pharmacists are able to make recommendations to their patients about potential alternatives that will achieve the same end, but at a lower cost.
Furthermore, pharmacists should take the time to explain to patients that adherence to a medication regimen can help ensure long-term health and avoid future readmission into hospital care, which ultimately will save the patient a significant amount money.
Expand the Health Services Provided
In recent years, we’ve seen a surge in the types of services pharmacists provide to their patients, primarily in terms of preventative care. Most notably, more and more pharmacists have begun to offer patients various immunizations or health screenings to help detect potentially serious ailments or ward off preventable diseases. These preventative care services are not only convenient and cost effective, but also limit risk of exposure to debilitating sicknesses. Offering such services is just another way pharmacists can ensure the health of their patients.
Implementing these practices will undoubtedly help pharmacists provide the best care to their patients.