Rapport between pharmacist, patient can lead to better health outcomes

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — When the pharmacist talks, people listen. The real gem to come out of this survey is where that pharmacist is standing when delivering that over-the-counter recommendation. (Here’s a hint: It ain’t behind the pharmacy counter.)

(THE NEWS: Survey: Many pharmacists offer guidance on OTC purchases. For the full story, click here.)

When asked about which allergy remedy to take — or which pain reliever is best for those tension headaches or whether a patient can take one of those newfangled heartburn remedies, such as Prilosec OTC, Prevacid 24HR or Zegerid OTC, with the list of prescriptions they’re currently taking — the pharmacists are walking into the aisle, picking up a product and saying, “Here, you should use this because ...”

That kind of interaction speaks volumes. It underscores the truth that pharmacists historically have been considered a trustworthy source of medicine information. But it also hints to another dynamic: Pharmacists enjoy engaging the consumer, so much so that they will take the time to walk a patient to an aisle and personally identify the product to be recommended.

That kind of engagement is not easily forgotten, at least not by that patient. That’s the kind of engagement that leads to knowing the pharmacist by name. That’s the kind of engagement that has many patients including their pharmacists in their healthcare dialogue. And that’s the kind of engagement that can set the stage for a much more substantial (and reimbursed) intervention, such as medication therapy management or disease-state management.

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