Magazine article Drug Topics

Pharmacy Program Targets Counseling Challenges

Magazine article Drug Topics

Pharmacy Program Targets Counseling Challenges

Article excerpt

Frustrated pharmacists who think that counseling patients in difficult situations is almost a "mission impossible' can now get some help from a program offered by Pfizer Inc.

The Pharmacists-Patient Counsultation Program, Unit 2, is an advanced workshop to equip pharmacists with techniques to help them recognize and deal with situations that make effective counseling difficult. For example, a patient's emotional state can lead to outbursts or to the withholding of information, both of which short-circuit communication. A patient's ability to receive and understand information can also be impacted by various other barriers, such as impaired hearing or vision, language differences, functional illiteracy, or alternative health beliefs.

The ultimate goal of the program, subtitled "How to Counsel Patients in Challenging Situations," is improved patient compliance. If more people took their medications properly, tens of millions of dollars could be cut from health-care costs without spending a single tax dollar, said Dick Gourley, dean and professor of clinical pharmacy, University of Tennessee. As one of the architects of the program, he added that with health-care reformers looking for ways to reduce costs without restricting access, "we have a great opportunity to demonstrate pharmacists' professional contribution as we help improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. …

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