Collaboration between pharmacies and doctors is a truly undervalued resource in the world of pharmacy. In my opinion, I see it as one of the greatest opportunities.
Am I right to say that both professions exist for the same purpose and that is to improve the health of the local community? They see the same patients and both businesses have premises in the same local communities. It seems like a logical commercial advantage for both businesses to interact more closely together.
Yet often this does not happen.
Also, it doesn’t make sense to me why there is a turf war going on in the political sphere. There are so many opportunities to improve community health services. I think in the future both professions will collaborate more closely together to provide a higher level of service and health care to patients. But as a business owner, I have learnt long ago that you cannot sit back and wait for higher powers to sort themselves out.
You must take control and make it work for yourself now.
As a pharmacy owner don’t wait, there are prospects that exist now that you should be taking advantage of. The clever pharmacist will be looking for these opportunities and working to establish relationships with other local health professionals.
So, what strategies could you implement to improve the relationship between doctors and pharmacists?
Here are some ideas:
Run a regular program of community health workshops.
Work together with doctors and other medical professionals in coordinating health workshops relevant to your local community. This helps achieves the goal of improving community health.
Secondly it will help to attract people to attend the workshops. Both doctors and pharmacists are highly trusted within the community. Imagine when there are both professions in the room working together to achieve the same outcome?
Create a health destination.
There are huge branding and marketing opportunities, especially for medical centres and pharmacies that exist side by side, to position themselves as a community health destination.
It is a great concept to create a fully streamlined approach for patients for health services across all sectors. Convenient for the patient as well as reassuring. Patients will feel confident in knowing that their pharmacist has a working relationship with the doctor that prescribed their meds. It creates a sense of unity.
As you’re all aware, the strategy on how to attract patients to your pharmacy has shifted in recent times. This is due to big box discounters and their emphasis on price. One key strategy discussed is a greater focus on, and promotion of health services.
Doctors and pharmacists should work together to create services that are streamlined and synchronised for patient referral opportunities. For example, pharmacies running screening programs to capture patients with certain conditions. From there the pharmacists and doctors then work together on how to treat and manage that condition.
Strong Communication Strategy.
This is to better communication and dialogue between doctors and pharmacists to achieve a higher level of treatment.
There is a lot that happens in both the medical and pharmacy industries. Almost daily each industry provides new information on how to treat patients. Without the flow of communication to each other this information may get lost.
Ensure you allocate time to catch up or liaise with your local doctors and other medical specialists in your area, merely just to touch base. See if there is anything you could be doing better to help patients and share any updates about new medication etc. These conversations could impact how you treat your patients in the future. One clever strategy is to run networking nights once a quarter with local health professionals. That way you can look for feedback and any information relevant to your local community.
These are just some examples. I have no doubt that with further thought and strategy more opportunities can be found. Ultimately both pharmacists and medical professionals are there to do achieve the same goal. That is improving community health. It is time to end the turf war and start working collectively. The impact of that partnership would be so rewarding for the community. It could make a true difference to people’s lives.