January 7, 2016
As your pharmacy transitions its revenue streams to rely more on providing new patient care services and less on dispensing, it will be more important than ever to cultivate a persona of trust and reliability.
Pharmacists already routinely rank well in Gallup’s Honesty and Integrity survey, an annual survey measuring the public’s trust of various professions. The 2015 survey marked the thirteenth consecutive year that pharmacists have ranked in the top three most-trusted professions.
Maintaining and strengthening this reputation will make introducing new clinical services and solutions in your pharmacy smoother. When patients already trust your profession, they’ll be more likely to trust you to meet all of their health care needs.
Here are five ways to build your credibility as a health care provider (and boost your business.)
When patients juggle multiple or complex conditions, managing their medications can get complicated fast. Being a source for help and advice can build your credibility.
Don’t be afraid to admit that a patient’s situation is complicated. When you show empathy for patients and acknowledge their struggles, they’ll appreciate your honesty and be more inclined to trust your advice in the future.
Once you identify the problem, you can help patients find solutions. For example, patients with complex regimens might benefit from customized pill packaging. This can help keep doses and schedules synchronized.
Also, help simplify seemingly complicated problems for patients. For example, a patient taking several medications and experiencing negative side effects might have difficulty identifying which medication is causing the issues. Consider suggesting pharmacogenetic testing to identify prescriptions that won’t work with their genetics, and help them find a suitable substitute.
Being an advocate for your patients to their physicians, insurance companies and to legislators will build your credibility with patients.
By being a voice for their concerns, you’ll establish yourself as someone who has their best interests at heart. Contact their physician when they report side effects to find a new medication, or work with their insurance company if they won’t cover one of their prescriptions to find a solution. Also, advocate for a patient’s right to choose their pharmacy by reaching out to your legislators.
Going the extra mile on a patient’s behalf can earn you their loyalty and improve your credibility. Patients will be more likely to turn to your pharmacy for other health care services when they see you working to protect their interests.
Build your credibility by making your pharmacy a go-to source for reliable health care information and advice.
Start by creating a health information center in your waiting area or near your pharmacy counter. Stock the center with brochures about vaccinations, heart health, diabetes and any other specialty products or programs your pharmacy provides.
Working with health care professionals who patients already trust can bolster your status as a health care provider and solidify your credibility.
You likely already work with area physicians to coordinate care for current patients, but consider going one step further. Host an event with a local health care professional as your guest speaker, or simply ask a local physician to write a review of your pharmacy for your website.
Also, be sure to network with health care professionals who patients perceive to be trustworthy, such as nurses. In the Gallup’s 2015 Honesty and Integrity survey, nurses were the only health care professionals to score better than pharmacists, with 85 percent of respondents reporting that nurses had high or very high honesty and ethical standards.
Acquiring more education, and honing a specialty, can boost your credibility with patients.
Attend conferences, join professional associations and search for continuing education seminars to attend. (The Next! 2016 PBA Health Conference & Business Seminar offers up to 10 continuing education credits, for example.) The more you learn, the better prepared you will be to provide top-notch care to your patients, improve outcomes and grow your business.
Continuing education also helps you stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends, so you can be the first to adopt new technology, best practices or innovations.
When you make a mistake, your credibility can take a hit, but you can bounce back from those mistakes by knowing how to say sorry.