During an annual MedsCheck there is typically enough time to prepare a medication list, and review each medication’s indication, safety and appropriate-use. In a diabetes MedsCheck, I also teach the patient a few important concepts in diabetes (e.g. hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, and diet). When the patient leaves, I often feel the patient has benefited. But am I justified? Did I have an impact?
Recently, I met with two patients for a Diabetes MedsCheck follow-up. For patient #1, she didn’t have her updated list from the previous MedsCheck. For patient #2, she brought the list. Considering the medication list is an integral component of the MedsCheck service, what does this mean? Perhaps I didn’t teach patient #1 properly, or patient #1 didn’t value the importance of our discussion during the annual Diabetes MedsCheck. Focusing on the latter, this questions the patient’s appreciation of a pharmacist-patient relationship. I suspect this is a new concept to many patients. As a result, the MedsCheck follow-up is a valuable tool that can be used to assess the relationship and strengthen it. After meeting with patient #1 for a Diabetes MedsCheck follow-up and reviewing the importance of the list (and other issues), I suspect patient #1 now understands the importance of the MedsCheck med list.
More and more, patients are recognizing pharmacists as a health care professional. However, this takes time. Some patients are faster to accept the pharmacist (e.g. patient #2), while others will require more time (e.g. patient #1). There is nothing wrong with either patient; instead, we should recognize that follow-ups are important to the MedsCheck service. It strengthens the patient-pharmacist relationship, which may translate into: (1)improved medication adherence, (2)improved understanding of medications, (3) identification of drug therapy problems, etc.
Consider arranging a follow-up with your patient after the MedsCheck, even if the patient appears to be healthy. You can agree that it will take place when they return in the next (1,2, or 3) month(s) when they return for their refills. Also, consider the criteria surrounding MedsCheck follow-ups, diabetes MedsCheck follow-ups, and other types of MedsCheck follow-ups.
A MedsCheck provides the pharmacist with insight into the patient’s health during ONE point in time. A follow-up provides a second time point. Overtime, when numerous time points are collected, the value of the patient-pharmacist relationship will become more apparent to the patient, yourself, and other health care professionals.
Do you have any experiences to share?
Mike (Twitter name: @M_TRITTer)