As a pharmacist, it can't be overstated how important it is to have a good relationship with your providers. You will be interacting with these providers (AKA physicians) every day, so in order to give your patients the best service possible, you should practice effective communication with them.
This article is here to share some tips on maintaining good pharmacy communication with providers along with finding ways to improve it.
Let’s get started.
1. Don’t hesitate to call your provider.
We recommend calling the doctor when your patient is still at the pharmacy if situations should arise that include the patient’s medication being out of stock or not present in your inventory. This works better than telling the patient that you don’t have the medication and instructing them to go back to the doctor - it streamlines communication between all parties and lets the patient know that you’re taking care of them. Following through with the phone call then and there also diminishes the back and forth between you and the physician, and increases the platform for provider engagement.
2. Discuss prescription questions with your provider.
If you have a question about a certain drug or think that it might not be safe for a specific patient, check with the physician before you tell the patient what you think is best. Each case is unique, and in many cases, a provider will know something about the patient’s medical history that you don’t.
If you only communicate with the patient and not the physician, you could tarnish your relationship with the physician by not extending your trust to them.
3. Notify providers about less expensive alternatives.
A lot of the time, physicians aren’t as up-to-date as pharmacists are about the latest prices for all the different drugs that they prescribe. Many of them would see the benefit in being notified when there are less expensive alternatives available to common drugs that they prescribe, as this can help them help their patients.
4. Communicate with the provider when you think a patient is trying to get drugs for the wrong reasons.
If you think that a patient is faking an illness in order to get drugs to fuel an addiction, you should notify their physician right away. You should also let a physician know if you think a prescription for a controlled drug is inappropriate or if it violates DEA regulations.
Instead of turning the patient away, refusing to refill the prescription, or reporting the physician to the medical board, this is a good first step to take. The provider might just have a good reason for prescribing that specific medication, as in some cases, the need for a certain medication exceeds the typical doses. It could also be true that a physician is unaware of a certain regulation. And over anything, mistakes do happen - even with providers.
5. Talk to the provider about errors in medication.
You should always discuss it with the physician if they make an error, but it’s possible to do this politely and professionally. If you explain the situation and what you’re concerned about, then the two of you can move forward and fix things.
Keep in mind that you should also listen to what a physician has to say about the error that you brought up. Sometimes, it might not be an error at all and the misunderstanding is due to the physician having medical records that pharmacists don’t have. Because they have a patient’s records, they are informed of the patient’s medical history, diagnosis, and other important information related to what kind of drugs they take - and this is information that a pharmacist is not privy to, therefore they can’t take it into consideration.
Your Provider and You
The relationship between a pharmacist and a provider is one of the most important ones that you can cultivate as an independent pharmacist. By implementing these tips on beneficial communication, you and your provider will have a working relationship that allows both of your businesses to thrive.
Looking to connect with more providers in your regional area? Zillscript offers Provider Engagement Services. The most tried and true way to increase a pharmacy’s script volume. Schedule a discovery call with a member of our sales team to get started.