Chains Explore Patients' Expectations of Pharmacists

By Snyder, Karyn | Drug Topics, September 18, 1995 | Go to article overview

Chains Explore Patients' Expectations of Pharmacists


Snyder, Karyn, Drug Topics


What do patients really expect from their pharmacists? A panel of consumers recently answered that question during a videotaped discussion about their past experiences with pharmacy and their hopes for the future. Excerpts from this video were shown at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores' Pharmacy Conference held recently in Chicago.

The consumers offered their views on counseling and screening services, as well as privacy and confidentiality issues. They also commented on the speed of the service they receive and the amount of concern their pharmacist demonstrates to them. The patients were also questioned about mail-order pharmacy, automated phone systems, and refill-reminder programs.

Patients' opinions on issues varied widely. For instance, some older participants were suspicious of new technology and unwilling to use it, while some younger consumers liked the convenience of such items as "smart cards," which store all their vital health and drug information.

Though younger people involved in the discussion were more interested in the technological options available, none wanted to completely lose the personal touch that pharmacists offer. Some participants were enthusiastic about the screening services R.Ph.s can provide, but many were not yet comfortable with the pharmacist playing that role. They were also concerned that additional services, such as refill-reminders, would raise the cost of their prescriptions.

Overall, the patients seemed to be pleased with the information pharmacists provided them. Many believed that pharmacists explained the medications and dosing schedules more clearly than doctors. Some consumers in the group mentioned that computer print-outs generated with prescriptions are handy reference materials that they often use at home if they have additional questions.

The patients liked being approached by pharmacists to discuss their prescriptions. Such concern meant a great deal to them, especially when they received a new prescription from the doctor and had many questions about it. They also liked the idea that pharmacists could double-check the doctor's prescription and interface with the physician if there were questions or concerns that needed to be addressed. …

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