Everybody Wins When Compounding Pharmacies Actively Participate in Patient Care
Most doctors know that a good bedside manner is essential to a positive outcome for the patient. Even doctors who don’t generally deal directly with patients cultivate relationships with nurses and other medical professionals because it’s hard to get anything done otherwise. At hospitals there are regular meetings where the team caring for a patient gets together to discuss the course of treatment. These meetings are considered essential.
Hospitalists, however, are not the only ones who play a role in patient care. As pharmacists we can and we must bring to prescribers’ and patients’ attention all of the treatment options which we have to offer. By fostering relationships with both patients and prescribers, we can more easily highlight specialty services, including compounded pharmaceuticals, and together work toward the shared goal of optimized treatment. Let’s examine how compounding pharmacies can work to strengthen the lines of communication.
While advances in technology have improved patient care management, they have also affected interpersonal relationships — many times not for the better. Electronic prescriptions, emails and occasional phone calls are the usual modes of communication today. With a few clicks, prescriptions can be put in and ready in a couple of hours. While these systems prevent drug errors caused by transcription mistakes, there are seemingly less chances for pharmacists to aid with personalization or tailored treatment.
Fostering Relationships with Prescribers
Despite today’s tech-focused world, interpersonal connections remain key to professional relationships. One thing career advisors constantly tell new graduates and job seekers to do is network. Pharmacists can use a similar strategy to build relationships with prescribers in their community. Especially now as the industry rushes towards the accountable care model and healthcare providers are reimbursed partially based on treatment outcomes, there is a growing interest by the healthcare community in high quality, customized pharmaceutical options.
- Determine which prescribers you fill the most prescriptions for.
By learning about a prescriber’s focus areas, us pharmacists can identify the best ways to benefit the prescriber’s practice. A nurse practitioner may have different needs from a doctor specializing in dermatology, after all.
- Be accessible.
Show that you are an available resource to prescribers. Not only does this mean returning phone calls in a timely fashion, it means staying up to date on crucial information. To offer one scenario: if there’s a drug safety recall, or if a patient’s insurance does not cover a particular drug, then a pharmacist should offer the prescriber alternative options.
- Provide information about your specialty services.
Pharmacists should keep prescribers aware of any specialties they may have. For example, your pharmacy may compound specialized creams for pain relief or great tasting medications that children are willing to take. Awareness by prescribers of the availability of these custom pharmaceuticals may lead them to modify the treatment plan for a patient and achieve far better patient compliance and satisfaction.
Establishing a Connection with Patients
For most patients, trips to the pharmacy are the result of specific circumstances: illness, post-surgery, etc. They fill their prescriptions and leave. Any directions needed are on the container and in the case of adverse reactions, patients will usually call their doctor. Sadly, we are oftentimes perceived more as vendors than doctorate-holding experts on pharmaceuticals with a wealth of knowledge to share.
In this day and age of patient empowerment, this perception is ripe for a change.
- Show a willingness to listen.
If a patient needs clarification on her prescription, she should feel encouraged to ask the pharmacist for information and not feel rushed because there are people in line behind her. In cases where the patient’s prescription has changed, it is helpful for you to voluntarily come over and make sure she understands how it will affect her, financially and healthwise. Don’t assume this physician has done this adequately.
- Offer individualized counseling.
Beyond explaining how to take medication, you can tailor your advice to address a patient’s specific background and needs. This means not only listening, but also being able to ask the right questions and avoid medical jargon. Patient counseling has been shown to decrease medication non-adherence, and thereby lessen the number of drug-related hospitalizations every year.
- Provide education.
Just as you should inform prescribers about specialty services that your pharmacy offers, you should also share this information with patients. Many times they will ask their doctor for a prescription for your special compounded medications and report back on the success. The prescriber might become your biggest fan! For example, you should recognize when a patient may benefit from a special formulation to address allergies or other special needs.
The healthcare field is moving towards greater accountability and this means that despite the distanced role of pharmacists in today’s technology-dependent world, there are renewed opportunities to open lines of communication with prescribers and patients. This means a greater need for tailored treatments and compounded medications. By educating both parties about options and specialty services about which they may not be aware, you can significantly help improve patient care and your own revenue.
Compounding medications provide one avenue for customized patient care in today’s changing healthcare marketplace. Here at Pharmaceutica North America, we offer high quality products to help you achieve this goal. Contact us today to learn more.