Be more proactive to convince medics, pharmacists urged

Pharmacists should be proactive and start conversations about patient concerns with medical colleagues if they want their recommendations to be taken seriously, an Australian academic told delegates at the 2018 International Pharmaceutical Federation Congress in Glasgow.

Pharmacist selecting medicine box

Pharmacists need to communicate more positively and proactively, as half of their recommendations are ignored, says a prominent Australian academic.

Speaking at the 2018 International Pharmaceutical Federation Congress in Glasgow, Carl Schneider, a lecturer in pharmacy practice at the University of Sydney, Australia, said there was a perception that pharmacists were not “even physically present” and often their only interactions with other professionals were about errors.

In the session designed to look at the communications skills pharmacists needed to be listened to by their medical and other healthcare colleagues, Schneider recommended that the profession must be more “proactive and start conversations”.

He said: “We are very good at identifying issues, we are not good at giving recommendations. We need to change what we talk about; we need to start with a positive proactive message.”

Schneider cited evidence that more than 50% of therapeutic recommendations from pharmacists were not actioned by prescribers, saying: “Frame the conversation as a mutual patient concern. You are both there for the patient.”

He recommended that pharmacists used the ‘Identify, Situation, Background, Assessment and Recommendation’ (ISBAR) method to communicate with colleagues and tried “motivational interviewing” to speak with patients more effectively.

Although, answering a question from the floor about how to deal with a high-handed consultant colleague, Schneider said: “Additional evidence is not going to persuade them. So you may find that it is another colleague or even patients who do.”

The 2018 FIP congress in Glasgow, Scotland, brings together pharmacy practitioners and pharmaceutical scientists from around the world to consider ways of extending the role of pharmacists so that they play a full part in ensuring patients, and health systems, achieve full benefit from the medicines people take.

The theme of the 78th FIP World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is ‘Pharmacy: Transforming outcomes!’.

This is the first time that the FIP World Congress has been held in the UK for nearly 40 years. The last time was in 1979, making this a truly unique learning opportunity for pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists in Great Britain.

UK healthcare company RB is Gold Sponsor of this year’s congress.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, Be more proactive to convince medics, pharmacists urged;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20205419

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