The opportunities to provide additional services to patients and enhance our value to them have never been greater.
By Ben Gunter BSc. Phm.
#1 Be efficient and effective. Reinventing the wheel or starting from scratch takes unnecessary time, effort, and finances. Building on existing offerings and taking advantage of expanded scope of practice, on the other hand, is smart business.
#2 Collaborate effectively with physicians. At our pharmacy in Ottawa, we are trying to up our game by taking some of the demand off the doctor. Expanded scope of practice enables us to do this – and it’s appreciated by patients and physicians alike. In some cases, we’re adapting prescriptions and making formulation changes. In other cases, it’s about taking full advantage of providing related services like flu shots.
#3 Take the time to explain services to patients. Explaining what we’ve done and why to patients increases their trust in us and it educates them about the growing role of the pharmacist in their healthcare. We’re not just counting pills, and many patients are discovering that for the first time.
#4 Follow up with other healthcare professionals. We will follow up with physicians when something is clinically important. The doctors welcome this, and patients are grateful we are making their overall healthcare needs a priority. We reinforce that message whenever we do a MedsCheck, for example. This is a way to showcase the range of services we offer. For patients, a medication review is often a new service, but over time they become used to it, and they come to rely on us for insight and information.
#5 Optimize your time. Time is clearly an issue, but it’s about optimizing the minutes you spend with a patient and delegating to staff where possible and appropriate. The best service comes when we step out from behind the counter.
More opportunities lie ahead. We’re eagerly waiting, for example, for minor ailment prescribing. It’s an ideal way to build business by building greater trust and loyalty with our patients.
Ben Gunter BSc. Phm. is an associate-owner at Shoppers Drug Mart in Ottawa.