The Pharmacist-Patient Relationship

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  • 0:03 The Pharmacist-Patient…
  • 0:25 Building a Relationship
  • 1:42 Patient Communication
  • 3:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ian Lord

Ian is a real estate investor, MBA, former health professions educator, and Air Force veteran.

Let's take a look at how a strong pharmacist-patient relationship can be developed and how this helps patients become more involved with their treatment.

The Pharmacist-Patient Relationship

David is a pharmacist with a strong track record of establishing a positive relationship with his patients and gaining high patient satisfaction. In the lesson ahead we will look at some of the behaviors David demonstrates to foster a strong pharmacist-patient relationship and get patients involved in their treatment plans.

Building a Relationship

Many of David's patients have expressed a general dissatisfaction with pharmacists. The pharmacists are seen as simple pill counters who put whatever the doctor ordered into the patient's bag instead of as a significant part of the health care team. David's done a great job of changing that by taking intentional steps to build relationships with his patients. A strong patient-pharmacist relationship has the pharmacist and the patient working together and can lead to better patient satisfaction and compliance with the treatment plan.

Humanizing efforts such as addressing people by the name they like to be called and asking sincerely if they have any questions or concerns can help establish a rapport. Being friendly and polite - even in times of personal or professional stress - can go a long way toward establishing an atmosphere that invites cooperation from patients. Being a likable person goes a long way toward motivating people to do as they are instructed. Anything that builds a rapport and helps each person see the other as a real human being can build up a relationship; finding common ground on hobbies, sports, schools, or other interests provides a foundation for people to bond over.

Patient Communication

As we've seen, communication is a big deal in both relationship building and helping patients comply with their treatment plans. Effectively communicating critical information is an essential pharmacist skill. David always remembers to ask the patient if he or she has any prior experience with the prescribed medication and double checks if the patient is taking any medications that might not interact well with the medication in question.

David also makes sure to tell his patients of common side effects, and especially to let them know of any black box warnings. A black box warning is a symptom or sign that indicates a potentially deadly or high risk of injury condition. It gets its name from the Food and Drug Administration mandated black border around the warning in the medication literature. David makes sure his patients know that the chance of getting a black box warning symptom is low and the risks have been balanced against the reason for the medication's use, but if a symptom appears, to seek immediate medical attention.

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