5 Important Steps to Improve Patient Communication for Community Pharmacy
A pharmacy business has many aspects that lead to its success, but communication is a key factor that contributes to its success. A long-lasting patient communication for community pharmacy is nothing different from any other business relationship as it requires open communication. For communication that needs to be patient-centric, you will require to build a friendly environment where healthcare workers encourage distinct learnings and a deep understanding of health terms. Implementing a good communication technique can encourage the patients to use the medications aptly and bring out better outcomes.
What is Pharmacy Communication?
The world has become digital, and the medical world has expanded its horizons in the digital world. For effective patient communication, pharmacists have offered several communication techniques where the patients can get in touch with them online and offline. With the rising trends in patient communication for community pharmacy businesses are focusing on developing strong and long-term relationships and personalized care for patients.
There are two most popular patient communication used presently:
- Verbal communication:
This involves resolving queries over a phone call, or when a patient walks in the pharmacy for picking up a prescription, or through a drive-thru.
- Written Communication:
Communicating with the patients via email or messaging services or equip them with pamphlets, flyers, and educational health material is all that comes under written recommendation.
How to Start Effective Patient Communication for Pharmacy?
The first step to lay a strong foundation for long-lasting patient communication for community pharmacy is to assess a patient’s health literacy quickly. Health literacy enables you to know the patients’ capacity of processing health information and make mature and informed decisions. For example, it would help if you considered health literacy when offering one-on-one medication counseling or guiding a wellness class.
Here are some necessary health literacy skills to consider:
- Reading prescriptions and educational material.
- Comprehending treatment instructions.
- Abiding to diagnosis and test directions.
- Filling out health-related applications and forms.
A lot of patients lack the understanding and skills to acquire basic health information. Therefore, it is necessary to make sure that a patient has a clear understanding of the directions and instructions given to them to form a strong patient communication for community pharmacy.
5 Easy Steps to Improve Patient Communication for Pharmacy
Developing and acquiring effective communication skills is the first step to keep your patients involved, engaged and loyal to your pharmacy.
- Keep it Simple and Clear:
Effective communication depends on how the patient acquires your given information and processes it to make an informed decision. No matter how you offer the information, over a phone call or in-person, make sure you break down the information into small portions rather than putting out a lot of information at once. This might make it harder for the patient to process the information in a short amount of time.
- Use simple and layman terms over medical jargon to make it easier for the patient to understand the given information.
- Use long forms instead of abbreviations for a better understanding of medication and health conditions.
- Give out specific and precise instructions to avoid any confusion for medication intake.
- Make your information interactive with charts, graphs and figures for better grasping and recall.
- Emphasize on Key Messages:
Keep your conversations short and try to inform the patients about the essential points at first. If you want to give out detailed information, provide written notes and pamphlets that the patient can use as a reference later. Identifying key messages can be done by asking patients their top concerns and including them in additional instructions you need to share. If you plan on having a longer conversation, you can find ways to Emphasize and recall important pointers and ensure to make a summary at the end.
- Evaluate their Understanding:
The “teach-back method” is very popular in the medical industry, and it evaluates a patient’s acquired knowledge. Ask them repeatedly by using questions terms that don’t offend them. Ask them things like:
- Demonstrate how you would explain this to someone else.
- How would you handle things if …
- Tell me what happens after….
This technique will help your patients revise the instructions and help you to know how much information they processed. Appreciate them when they explain something correctly and use their answers to evaluate their understanding.
- Appreciate Questions:
Your patients will always have questions regardless of how well you have instructed them. Be patient with their questions and give them a chance to get clarity. Discourage yes/no questions as they are unlikely to strike up a conversation. Instead, emphasize questions that will encourage a dialogue like “What are the questions you need clarity on?” If your patients are unable to present their concerns, point them to the resources that will help them develop questions related to their healthcare.
- Offer Understandable Reading Material:
A lot of patients might not have a high health literacy. So, remember always to hand out easy to read material with simple language. Your reading material should explain, define and discuss any complex treatment or condition is a layman’s language and terms for a better understanding. Your reading material should include:
- Simple language with easy terms rather than medical jargon.
- Legible and large fonts that include ample white space.
- Use interactive figures, graphs and illustrations.
- Contact details, including phone number, email and address.
Pharmacists can benefit from articulating simplified information and enhancing engagement for leading successful patient communication for community pharmacy in this digital world. There are plenty of messaging services that offer a bulk feature that will reach multiple patients at once and reinforce the patient-pharmacy relationship. In addition, pharmacists can target patients for personal conversations through a searchable database.
To learn in detail about patient communication for community pharmacy, get in touch with us today and get a free demo.