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Building a Patient Care Process: What Does It Mean for Pharmacies?

Building a Patient Care Process: What Does It Mean for Pharmacies? by Elements magazine |

July 21, 2016

Does your independent community pharmacy currently provide patient care services? If not, you may want to consider shifting your focus.

Offering more clinical, patient care services is an emerging trend in pharmacy today, and it’s a smart way to differentiate your business. But what exactly will you need to consider when making the shift?

Here are some of the key factors involved in building a patient care process, adapted from an article published in the May/June 2016 edition of ComputerTalk for the Pharmacist, a magazine dedicated to covering how technology can improve the practice of institutional and hospital pharmacy retail.

Caring for each patient individually

When shifting from the traditional dispensing model to a patient-centered one, it’s all about providing value to every patient.

The patient care process has to focus on a solution that’s tailored to each patient and his or her individual needs.

Putting patients in the center of focus means engaging them about their conditions and the medications they take. Pharmacists need to focus on figuring out how patients can get the best results and provide them with the education and support they need to achieve their treatment goals.

Reevaluating the patient intake process

The patient care process starts with patient intake, which is vital to the success of clinical services. Pharmacists need to understand everything about a patient in order to provide them with the best possible care.

For example, pharmacists need to know the reason for a patient’s visit, information about his condition, current medications he’s taking and what kind of care he has received so far. It’s important to figure out what has and hasn’t worked in the past for a patient, in order to help him make progress.

If this sounds similar to what happens in a physician’s office, it is. But pharmacies can use this model to their advantage as well, to learn more about their patients.

Using technology and other resources

Implementing a patient care model involves a lot of innovation and change, from reorganizing how your staff operates to incorporating technology and other resources. Pharmacies must recognize this, and be willing to make changes in order to reap the benefits.

Every minute of a pharmacist’s time is valuable, especially in the patient care process. In order to free up more of the pharmacist’s time for patient interactions, pharmacies need to recognize any opportunities available to delegate duties to other staff members.

By considering where efficiency is lacking, pharmacists can find ways to utilize technology and other staff members to free up more of their own time.

Educating patients

Health literacy is a huge part of the patient care process, as it helps drive adherence and increases the likelihood of a patient achieving treatment goals.

A common problem that arises with patients is their lack of knowledge about their condition and how the medication they’re taking is helping. When patients are given a piece of literature as their only source of education, often they’ll either not understand, be afraid to ask questions or simply throw it away.

When pharmacists focus on a patient-centered model, they can personally walk a patient through the details of what their condition is, why a particular medication was prescribed and how that medication will work to treat the condition. If patients understand their treatment plan, they’ll be more likely to adhere to it.

Technology can also be useful when looking for more innovative ways to educate patients about their conditions. For example, posting on your pharmacy’s social media pages about the benefits of immunizations can help keep your patients informed and well educated.

Check out the most in-demand patient care services your pharmacy can offer once you decide to make the shift.



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