Where Do Pharmacists Fit Into Patient Engagement?
While the bulk of patient satisfaction and engagement efforts focus on clinician’s offices and hospitals, some organizations have taken it upon themselves to address patient needs at the pharmacy. Local pharmacies are another important touchpoint in the healthcare process, providing another avenue to promote engagement with the intention of improving medication adherence and patient outcomes at large.
The relationship between pharmacists, care providers, and patients can be difficult to manage, especially considering the sensitive data often passed from one party to another. However, given the role pharmacies can and should play in any value-based care system, more organizations are considering how to optimize this interplay to the benefit of all involved.
Another Point of Contact
The data collected by pharmaceutical organizations can help paint a picture of medication adherence in a way that isn’t always possible for care providers. A lot of the tactics that pharmacies use to improve adherence are similar to tried-and-true patient engagement strategies: better education, better organization, and better patient tools are all viable tactics. Improving informational infrastructure can help with all of these things, and tying any technological developments into those already being pioneered by care providers can create a more integrated patient experience.
From Provider to Pharmacy
In fact, organizations are already taking steps to better manage the transition between carers and pharmacists. This is a necessary step, considering that pharmacies are often more local than doctor’s offices and might require repeat visits to refill prescriptions and the like, compared to less contact with a physician.
While they can’t directly impact lifestyle factors that might contribute to a patient condition, Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization (BIDCO) has been developing programs to screen medication regimens and dynamically improve this critical step in the recovery process. BIDCO’s other focus is on population health, collecting data about common conditions and paring down medication options to those that are the most effective for the patient.
Better Outcomes, Better Satisfaction
Experimental programs have worked on more extensive pharmacy visits that go beyond patients picking up medicine. These visits create a valuable opportunity for pharmacies to connect with patients and reassess their health needs. Conversations about topics like vaccination, disease risk, and the importance of adherence have all been discussed as a part of these programs. They ended up being popular enough that eighty-six percent of participating pharmacies expressed interest in continuing them after the study was over. And with better medication practices and higher vaccination rates, it’s easy to see why.
Benefits For All
Incorporating new pharmaceutical practices into patient care models can go a long way toward advancing the goals of healthcare providers. Both types of organization share similar goals and can help create a seamless transition for the patient throughout the treatment process.