Pharmacy practice and the business of pharmacy are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the best pharmacists are those who are effective in managing resources and personnel, as well as liaising with other stakeholders in the medication use process.
Pharmacists are confronted routinely with prescriptions or medication orders that are not the optimal therapeutic alternative for the patient. These range from therapy that is too costly for the patient, that which might not provide the most therapeutic benefit, or even those that could result in very substantial harm. Pharmacists thus come into frequent contact with prescribers who must be advised and sometimes “convinced” to alter the original prescription. How the pharmacist communicates with that physician will largely determine the outcome of those interactions and thus have a significant impact on the quality of patient care. Pharmacists who are poor managers and poor communicators will be passive-aggressive or attempt to infringe upon the prescriber’s turf. Instead, they should approach the prescriber with patient-centric solutions to a problem where both pharmacist and prescriber actively participate in optimizing the patient’s therapeutic outcomes.
A study by Lloyd et al found that pharmacist-led feedback on prescribing behavior could be a positive influence. This was especially the case with pharmacists’ tactful deployment of non-technical skills such as empathy and courtesy, coupled with assertiveness in facilitating an engaging dialogue with prescribers that facilitated reflection rather than defensiveness. The findings of this study help to tailor prescriber education to make it a more contextualized process.
A good pharmacist is one who can effectively interact not only with patients, but also prescribers, peers, coworkers, caregivers, insurance companies, and any other entities whose input is meaningful to patient care.
Additional information about The “Management” in Medication Therapy Management and Management Functions can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 4e. If you or your institution subscribes to AccessPharmacy, use or create your MyAccess Profile to sign-in to Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 4e. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.
1Lloyd M, Watmough SD, O’Brien SV, et al. Exploring the impact of pharmacist-led feedback on prescribing behavior: A qualitative study. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2018;14:545-554.