How Pharmacists Stay Connected to Members During COVID-19
Getting care when and where it’s needed during a pandemic can prove challenging due to limitations around in-person visits and access issues. For people who are navigating a healthcare diagnosis, managing a chronic condition, or requiring medication, having support from a trusted healthcare provider is critical.
Recognizing the importance of checking in with patients during a time where people are more isolated than ever, our pharmacists are going above and beyond by taking a high-tech, high-touch approach to ensure minimal disruption during the coronavirus outbreak. They play a key role on provider teams and in our virtual-first approach to care during COVID-19.
A Proactive Approach
In a community pharmacy setting, interactions are often transactional. Your visit entails picking up a prescription from a pharmacist who you have little history or interaction with and you’re on your way. At Premise, we believe pharmacists are a critical member of the care team, delivering significantly more value than simply dispensing medication. By building personal relationships with members, onsite and nearsite pharmacists serve as expert resources that help members make smarter healthcare decisions that go beyond the pill.
During a global pandemic, a pharmacist can serve as a trusted provider for your employee population, even if your onsite or nearsite health center has temporarily closed its doors. Premise clinical pharmacists leverage virtual video visits for medication and vaccination reconciliation, in addition to adherence counseling. They have also been reaching out to members with chronic conditions during this time to drive medication adherence and help members stick to their healthy living routines.
By going beyond the prescription refill, Premise pharmacists can ensure their patients have the appropriate amount of medication on hand, answer questions regarding side effects, and offer guidance on how to properly take the medication, especially if it requires a unique dosage or injection. This member-centric approach leads to improved adherence and better outcomes, while fostering relationships that support the overall wellbeing of a member – even when in-person care is limited.
A Personal Touch
At an onsite or nearsite pharmacy, pharmacists are in a unique position to develop relationships that build trust with members over time. They get to know members on a deeper level, asking questions about family, personal hobbies, and career. By building this level of trust with a patient, the pharmacist has a better understanding of when stress at home or work may impact a health condition allowing them to deliver a targeted care plan that gets to the root of the issue. As a result, pharmacists can have a direct impact on a member’s overall health and wellbeing.
During a public health crisis, personal interaction and outreach goes a long way, especially for someone navigating a health condition. Our pharmacists are personally and proactively reaching out to patients and offering support beyond the pill. With nutrition, social connectedness, and sleep, among other factors impacting wellbeing, Premise pharmacists ask questions to gain an understanding of challenges members are facing in their daily lives.
When checking in, pharmacists make it a point to learn what a member’s new day-to-day routine looks like and the challenges they might be facing. Below are a few questions to help get the conversation started:
- How is working from home?
- What new routines have you come up with during this unique time?
- What effect is your new routine having on how you’re able to manage your condition or stick to a medication adherence routine?
Movement and Activity
Fitness plays a major role in overall wellbeing. While being stuck at home can make regular exercise more challenging, there are ways members can stay active. During personal outreach, pharmacists ask questions about their current movement levels and offer tips when necessary.
- What are you doing to stay active?
- Do you feel you have limitations when it comes to exercise?
- Are you open to different movement ideas? Here are a few simple tips:
- Walk or stand while on a phone call
- Take a 20-minute walk before your day begins
- 20:8:2 rule – For every 30 minutes, spend 20 minutes sitting, 8 minutes standing, 2 minutes moving
Healthy eating habits are a key piece of a healthy lifestyle. To keep nutrition top of mind, pharmacists ask questions related to eating habits, established routines and offer simple tips to encourage change if needed.
- Do you find yourself overwhelmed at mealtime?
- What are some food routines you’ve put in place during this time?
- Do you need help with healthy food choices? Here are a few tips:
- Make the healthy choice easy by preparing in advance, especially when it comes to snacking
- Make freezer meals in advance for convenience at mealtime
- Put a bowl of fruit on your counter or push fruits and veggies toward the front of the refrigerator where they are easily visible
Connection to Community
When members feel distant, they tend to become isolated, making connection to community critical. Asking questions related to their connectedness can give pharmacists an idea of how isolated one feels, which could impact if the member follows a care plan or adheres to their medication regime.
- Who do you consider to be members of your community?
- How are you staying connected with loved ones?
- Do you find yourself feeling isolated? To help, here are a few tips:
- Try phone calls or handwritten notes to loved ones
- Connect with others through creative activities or hobbies
These check-ins help the pharmacist assess the wellbeing of the member and determine if there is a larger need – ensuring no members miss out on the care they need, even when sheltering at home.
A Trusted Partner
During a global pandemic, pharmacists can serve as valuable partners to members as they navigate unfamiliar territory. These providers are helping members stay connected to their care by leveraging a proactive approach with a personal touch, whether that be during face-to-face interactions or through virtual care. By maintaining personal relationships with, pharmacists help people get, stay, and be well – even if from a distance.
From pandemic preparation and screening to response and return to work, Premise can help your organization strategically navigate this unprecedented and challenging time. If you’re in charge of health at your organization and navigating through this challenging time, get in touch.