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Communication Problems: 3 Solutions to Better Communicate with Patients

Communication Problems: 3 Solutions to Better Communicate with Patients by Elements magazine |

March 15, 2016

You face communication challenges with patients every day in your pharmacy.

Patients may be uninformed, hostile or reluctant to listen to your expert advice. And you know that miscommunication can result in non-adherence, patient confusion or a loss of profit for your business.

Here are three common communication problems and solutions for how to handle them.


Problem: Using technical jargon, which leads to a confused patient

Technical jargon and difficult-to-pronounce prescription medication names are second nature to you. It may be difficult at times to remember that not everyone is as comfortable with this language as you are. Some patients might not even know that there are brand and generic drugs, for example.

If you don’t speak to your patients in a way that they can understand, you risk confusing them, which can potentially lead to non-adherence or can leave patients with a bad impression of your business.

Solution: Speak in simple terms

While technical jargon may be familiar to you, (you may not even realize you’re using it,) it’s imperative to speak in terms that your patients will understand.

Adjust your vocabulary for patients. Avoid acronyms and explain specialized language in terms that anyone could comprehend.

Your patients will appreciate that you took the time to explain in easy-to-understand terms.


Problem: Miscommunication between the patient, the physician and you

You’ve probably had many instances of patients being confused or uncertain about why they’re being prescribed a medication. Although the initial miscommunication is between the physician and the patient, if you take the initiative to dispel a patient’s confusion, you’ll build your relationship with her and encourage her to return to your pharmacy.

Solution: Keep an open dialogue between all parties

It’s important to have open communication with your patients and their physicians. When you have good relationships with your patients and local physicians, you’ll make patients’ lives easier.

Maintaining a consistent conversation between all parties will ensure that your patients receive the best care possible.


Problem: Angry or reluctant patients

You’re probably used to talking with agitated patients. Maybe a patient is angry that her prescription isn’t covered by her insurance, or maybe you’ve worked with a patient who’s reluctant to take a new medication.

Without proper communication, speaking to these patients could result in a real dilemma.

Solution: Show them you care

As an independent community pharmacist you know how important it is to provide top-notch customer service, even in difficult situations. When dealing with a hostile or reluctant patient, it’s important to listen, speak calmly and know when and how to offer your help.

If a patient becomes flustered or irate, remember to empathize and be patient. Acknowledge the patient’s concerns and offer to personally contact his physician if needed. Or, offer a discount or coupon, if a patient has to wait for a long period or in other similar situations. Putting your patients’ needs first will let them know that you care, even when they may not be pleased.

Learn how to deliver an even better in-store experience for your patients.




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