Health Care

Six Tips to Improve Communication With Your Pharmacist

This year, an estimated 4.5 billion prescriptions filled will be in the U.S., and with about half of consumers taking at least one prescription medication within the next 30-days. In fact, according to a recent JD Power study only 10% of people talk to their pharmacist when picking up their medications.

To help improve communication with our pharmacists, I share six questions patients should ask their pharmacists, but don’t. These insights underscore the importance of having an open and educational conversation with your pharmacist about your medications and demonstrates the vital role pharmacists play especially as health care becomes more virtual.

  1. Could this medication interact with my vitamins and supplements? Talk to a pharmacist about all the medications you take, especially when you are prescribed any new medication to confirm that non-prescription medications or supplements will interfere with your medications.
  2. I’m taking multiple meds. What do I need to know? If you are on multiple medications for a chronic condition(s) you should speak with a pharmacist any time there is a change to your medication regime to check for potential drug-drug interactions, medication overlap or gaps in care.
  3. What should I do if I forget to take my medication? Having access to your pharmacist 24/7 is particularly important when you forget to take a dosage at the scheduled time because he/she can help you get back on track. Talking with your pharmacist from the privacy of your home is another great reason to look for this 24/7 convenience.
  4. Could this prescription make me unsteady on my feet? Some medications can make you dizzy or drowsy, and there are other hazards in the home that can cause a fall, especially as one ages and needs to get up frequently during the night. A pharmacist can provide home safety tips to avoid an accident.
  5. I sometimes forget to take my meds. What’s a reminder that works? If you’re having trouble remembering to take your medications, your pharmacist can suggest digital tools, such as a reminder app to prevent you from forgetting to take your medications.
  6. Is there a more affordable option for my prescription? If you are having trouble affording your medication, your pharmacists can help with more affordable options and recommendations, such as generics or less expensive formulary options.

Susan Peppers RPh is Vice President of Express Scripts Pharmacy with responsibility for Pharmacy Practice and Communication Experience Delivery. In this role, Susan is dedicated to quality and patient safety. Susan began her career at Express Scripts as a staff pharmacist more than 18 years ago and has served in a number of leadership positions, most recently as Sr. Director, Pharmacy Practice (Front End). During her tenure, she has had responsibilities for both Pharmacy Practice and Operations, including her role as a Director of Pharmacy Practice during integration and various site Operations leadership roles as a front-line leader and manager. Susan holds a bachelor of science degree in pharmacy from Ohio Northern University.

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