I was asked this question the other day. How would you begin to develop clinical pharmacy services? No matter what brand of pharmacy you practice, there are a lot of good answers to that question. Quality services, a good business model or plan, expansive clinical expertise, and years of experience are all a few things that came to my mind when I was asked this question.
As I continue to ponder this question, I keep coming back to one of the most important things in life; relationships. No matter your pharmacy setting, relationships are incredibly important, but I want to dig a little deeper on that issue with something that I think we as pharmacists have had a hard time developing. You can’t just have “relationships” with people and anticipate to grow a service. You need to have solid relationships that are built on a foundation of trust. Trust is the #1 key to unleashing clinical pharmacy services.
Trust means solving the patient’s problems first, before you worry about clinical practice guidelines. Trust means not throwing their primary provider who’ve they have seen for 10 years under the bus. Trust means creating an environment where a patient is comfortable telling you about their medications and why they are taking them incorrectly. The ugly truth is that trust is not something that is easily obtained. It takes time and effort. Trust is earned from a position of solving problems and service.
Not only do patients need to trust you, but we have to earn the trust of our fellow colleagues. Primary care providers, nurses, social workers etc. who do not have faith in your ability to solve their medication related problems will not refer patients to you, period.
If I had to pick one thing, earning a patient’s (or fellow clinician’s) trust is the most important thing you can do as a pharmacist to expand clinical pharmacy services.
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