Effective Communication in your Pharmacy
Date of publishing: 1st Jul 2018
Effective Communication - Hints and Tips for Consultations in Pharmacy practice
Written by Pfizer staff
As pharmacists and medicines experts, you are at the forefront of patient care. As your roles and responsibilities continue to evolve from product-centred to patient- centred care, you and your teams are expected to talk “with” patients during consultations, rather than talk “to” them. Therefore assessing any gaps in your communication skills can help you to improve your consultations during your day to day practice.
Being able to communicate effectively is an integral part of all aspects of medicines adherence and medicines optimization, where pharmacists have a key role in helping patients get the best outcomes from their medicines.
Below is a summary of key principles; The Four E’s1 that can help you to structure your conversations with your patients in a consultation room setting (see Figure 1 for further details):
What the patient wants to know and follow their agenda, before addressing your agenda
Patients about what they want to know. Cover key points they need to know about their medicines. Use the ‘Teach back’ technique to ensure understanding of what has been discussed
Patients to take responsibility for the medicines they are taking instead of being instructed by a healthcare professional
Patients to achieve their aims by asking them to consider what needs to happen in order for them to achieve their goals when taking their medicines
Structure for short consultations: The Four E’s1
Figure 1: The Four Es —(© Nina Barnett April 2013) (Vol 291) 10/17 August 2013 www.pjonline.com2
Using a structure for consultations such as the Four E’s can also assist you with rapport building with your patients, particularly when you are working in a time pressured environment. This may also allow you to focus on identifying the patient’s individual barriers whilst supporting them to develop solutions to those barriers.
Involving other members of your team such as technicians and assistants should help you to free-up time so you can speak with your patients more effectively in the consultation room.
1. Barnett N L, The new medicines services and beyond: taking concordance to the next level. Pharm J 2011:287.653
2. Adherence: are you asking the right questions and taking the best approach? Barnett NL et al PJ Online 10/17 August 2013 (Vol 291) accessed from: https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/files/rps-pjonline/pdf/CPD_1.pdf on 15/06/18
Date of Preparation: June 2018