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The Business of Empathy: How Pharmacists Improve Performance by Improving Human Connections

Covid-19 has highlighted the value pharmacists offer in managing and preventing disease, but it has not been an easy journey. Patients are turning to pharmacies for more service and support than ever before. However, due to the increased demand, many pharmacies are expanding their capacity. When patients don’t get the support they need, medication adherence declines, directly impacting pharmacy performance. It’s a difficult cycle to break at a critical time for the pharmacy business.

Pharmacies can build on the positive momentum gained during the pandemic to improve patient engagement and associated adherence. Familiar faces near home can help ease patients’ anxiety when dealing with a new diagnosis. Empathetic support can also have a positive impact on patient health and medication adherence, a key indicator of pharmacy business success. However, pharmacies need empathetic help to provide this support.

The business of medication adherence

Medication adherence is one of them. Main indicators pharmacy performance. Unfortunately, pharmacies have high barriers to overcome. About half of patients do not take their medication as prescribedThis lack of adherence results in avoidable healthcare costs of approximately $500 billion and causes up to 25% of hospitalizations each year.

Non-adherence is rarely caused by simple forgetfulness. Patients do not stop taking the drug or start it at all for many reasons, including:

  • they can’t afford it.
  • They don’t understand directions.
  • They don’t understand the need for drugs.
  • They fear side effects.
  • They are worried, scared, anxious and confused.

Regardless of the cause, the result is the same. Patient health may be compromised and pharmacy revenue may be lost.

In whose hands is the adherence problem?

Everyone owns compliance issues. We understand that adherence is a complex issue and all healthcare providers need to work together to solve the problem. Addressing adherence requires a fundamental understanding of the human factors behind the problems and solutions.

The care provided by pharmacists requires empathy and genuine relationships. Practicing empathy leads to countless benefits for patients. Better medication adherence, fewer hospital stays, less stress— the latter leads to many health improvements.

Improving patient engagement is key to improving medication adherence and improving pharmacy performance and profitability. Engagement with prescribers to initiate a dialogue about the benefits and risks of prescription drugs, possible side effects, and costs.

The pharmacist must continue this conversation so that the patient can fill out the prescription and take the medicine as prescribed. It’s not an easy question given the manpower shortage. A low-cost, empathetic support program can help fill the gap.

Another important reason to focus on patient engagement is that it is tied to paying for pharmacy services. Pharmacy Quality Alliance pharmacist care As part of healthcare’s transition to value-based payment models. A financially sustainable, pharmacist-provided care-based operational model leads to improved medication adherence, reports her PQA.

To improve business performance, pharmacies must also focus on patient satisfaction. This is a key factor in retaining existing customers and acquiring new ones. Pharmacies can improve both engagement and satisfaction by subtly shifting their philosophy from patient-centered care to empathic care.

What is empathy in pharmacy?

sympathy The ability or ability to understand or feel a patient’s situation, perspective, or feelings. In other words, the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. It is a human connection that instills confidence and builds trust between two individuals.

Improves empathic care patient satisfaction. An example is shown below. A pharmacy customer is fuming due to a late prescription. The pharmacy technician understands that her customers are not mad at her. She is scared because she doesn’t know what will happen if she forgets to take her medicine. Rather than emotionally shutting down and ending the transaction as soon as possible, the pharmacy technician explains the reason for the delay, and she conveys the patient’s concerns to the pharmacist. Pharmacy technicians also put prescriptions into an auto-replenishment plan to prevent future delays.

By practicing empathic care, pharmacies build better patient relationships, create trust and establish loyal customers. Loyalty can come in many forms, from glowing reviews to customer retention, new customer acquisition, higher quality ratings, and increased pay for service. All of these help promote your pharmacy business.

How to deliver a more human experience through technology

While most pharmacies strive to provide attentive and empathetic customer service, they are falling short.Recent National Pharmaceutical Association Research shows that almost all (91.4%) pharmacy technicians experience burnout due to unmanageable workloads. Another survey found that most (80%) pharmacies are having trouble finding pharmacists.

Technology that is easy to implement and does not interfere with workflow can ease the burden on busy pharmacies. Low-code process automation software can take on mundane, repetitive tasks such as measuring medications, filling orders, managing inventory, and notifying patients when their prescriptions are ready for pickup. Automating these tasks frees up staff to focus on higher-value activities, such as authentic communication with patients.

Some pharmacists are using digital tools to provide support services to Medicare providers. Pharmacists can conduct virtual consultations to discuss new prescriptions, manage medications and chronic diseases, and provide other services that are ‘associated’ with healthcare providers.

researchHowever, patients indicate that they want to be seen, heard, and met where they are emotionally. Instead of sending repeated “messages” or “apps”, I actually listened. For example, the very concept of health has evolved over the years, such as the change in terminology from ‘patient’ to ‘person’.

Technology can support more meaningful relationships. Based on the data, should patients receive a follow-up call the day after they receive their prescription? This type of quick check-in may open the door to deeper conversations about costs, management, or side effects. sometimes. Alternatively, it may simply evoke the patient’s memory.

Studies have shown that empathetic and positive communication is associated with improved patient satisfaction and quality of life compared to usual care.Ann Accenture research Of approximately 1,800 patients, the most important factor in creating a positive experience was found to be a provider who “clearly explained the patient’s condition and treatment” (55%). It was followed closely by a provider who listens, understands the patient’s needs, and provides emotional support. ”(52%).

Pharmacies help instill positive behavioral change in the patients they serve. Actions are the result of our motivation, ability, and quickness. Human-level pharmacy involvement in patient support programs can lead to significant health benefits by enabling patients to engage more fully with their care. Human-to-human connectivity frees patients from isolation, gives them confidence in recommended treatments, and ensures that humans remain first in the digital/AI era.

empathy is good business

Building meaningful relationships with patients creates an emotional bond that helps them make lasting changes. This includes taking prescribed medications. Empathy activates the patient and moves him from feeling to action. When that action involves filling and refilling more prescriptions as directed by your doctor, it’s good empathy-based business.

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