By Michael Rule, Manager of Public Affairs and Grassroots Advocacy
Independent pharmacists know firsthand how patients feel about their service as receiving a heartfelt thank you from a patron is a typical daily occurrence. Whether it’s taking steps to avoid adverse medication interactions, working with their doctor to switch their prescription to an appropriate lower cost generic alternative, counseling them on the proper use of their medications, or even providing free same day home delivery to a patient, those services are appreciated.
This patient satisfaction is consistently reflected in consumer surveys, but individual patient stories are often lacking. On www.Fight4RX.org, a consumer portal to grassroots activism, NCPA has posted a sampling of patient testimonials of the services they received from their independent community pharmacist.
In one instance, a patient provided an example in which their pharmacist identified a physician’s dosage error when transmitting the prescription to the pharmacy, saving the patient’s life. In the patient’s words, “he has literally saved my life by questioning a doctor’s prescription that had been entered in incorrectly. The prescription that was sent to be filled was in his words ‘enough to kill a horse’. Thank goodness for his wisdom.”
Checking for harmful medication interactions is also crucial to patient safety. Another patient noted that their pharmacist is “great about advising me on which medications to avoid because of certain drug interactions and which over the counter medications are safe to take along with my prescriptions. My kidney transplant saved my life, and I trust [pharmacists] to help me maintain a certain quality of life on this wonderful second chance.”
Here’s yet another patient care aspect that cannot be overlooked: prescription medications do not work if patients do not take them. To that end, independent pharmacists spot missed doses and offer counseling on proper use and adherence, but also take additional steps. One commenter spoke of the services provided to her mother when other healthcare providers could not help, “Simplifying her medication was one of [the challenges] as the [nurse's] aide service that we contracted with was not able to assist with this due to liability issues. The pharmacy offered to have their assistant place my mother’s medications in pill boxes (the four- time-a-day, seven-day-a-week type) which allowed her to easily take the prescribed medication at the correct time and quantity.”
For independent pharmacists, these services are routine, but for the patients who rely on them, they are invaluable. While opinion polls offer an insight into patient attitudes, examples such as these illustrate pharmacist-provided patient care.
Please feel free to provide your own examples in the comments section below.