Efficient and premeditated collaboration between physicians and pharmacists leads to optimization of patient wellness and care. As the function of a pharmacist expands in healthcare, combined training and co-location of the practice can give rise to a certain respect for each other’s profession. Collaboration can also reduce mortality rates and medication related moroseness. One needs to redefine the role of pharmacists which is truly based on improving the patient’s health and furthermore, the quality of life.
Pharmacists and physicians need to have absolute trust, and respect of each other’s capabilities as the end goal of both are patient’s outcome and wellbeing, safe use and adherence towards medication, and imparting of complete and precise information to the patient. Here’s why it is imperative for a physician-pharmacist to collaborate:
Delivery: If the pharmacist/physician has a conflicting view on the medication, directly address it to each other subtly and find a solution mid-way. Pharmacists must consult the physician in case a medication is not understandable in a prescription to clear all doubts.
Teamwork: It is a team effort. Pharmacists should respect the physicians’ time and change their schedules to take time out for communicating with them. Optimism and eagerness for a team effort encourages physicians to respond.
Communication and flexibility: Pharmacists must try and eliminate any underlying issues with the physician. Face-to-face meeting with the physician is a better way to enquire about the issues pharmacists can help with such as assistance for patients with chronic illness, patients requiring information/education or resources. It also builds relationships, aids in clarifying concerns and tackling them together. Also on phone calls, pharmacists must take the cues and find out what works best for physicians and accordingly change.
Professionalism: Both the physician and the pharmacist should not place each other’s errors in front of the patient, lest the patient may demean the physician/pharmacist. Be personable with each other to gain maximum benefits for the patient’s care and outcome. Return each other’s calls.
Judgmental: Pharmacists mustn’t take things personally. The physician could just have had a bad day. Resist giving in to small nuances.
Referral program: Referring patients to each other is an apt way to not only strengthen relationships (between a pharmacist and a physician) but also create better medication management for the patient. It furthers loyalty and trust and the shared responsibility facilitates optimum medication use. Patients can further get their doubts cleared by the pharmacist and consult for diet/lifestyle changes or other long-standing issues wherein they (at times) associate the physician with only examinations and surgeries.
Business: Pharmacists must market their pharmacy and its various services and programs to physicians and make them aware of it. A physician-pharmacist relationship leads to enhanced business for both along with achieving optimum health results.
Cooperation and communication between a physician and pharmacist is extremely important for the safety and well-being of a patient. Making the communication clear and frequent to close any gaps enhances the ability to value each other’s expertise along with treating patient’s well.