Sharing the Workload: Questions You Can Ask Your Pharmacist Instead of Your Doctor

May 24, 2021 •

With an incredible amount of health-related information at our fingertips today, patients can take a great deal of healthcare into their own hands. As conditions get more serious, there are also more doctors and specialists available to provide better diagnoses and more specific treatment plans. However, it can be challenging to schedule timely appointments or even reach busy physician’s offices with questions.

If you are a pharmacist, however, you can help fill in that gap. With extended hours and some pharmacies even opened around the clock, you may be more easily reachable for certain healthcare related questions. Obviously, if a patient’s question is outside the scope of your expertise, you’ll refer them to a doctor. However, there are many questions you can easily answer quickly and more efficiently that physician offices.

Do you have recommendations for minor ailments?

Any minor ailment that can be treated with an over-the-counter medication can be discussed with your customers. For example, if customers are suffering from a common cold, an athlete’s foot fungal infection, seasonal allergies, or a minor burn, you have a wealth of expertise about the over-the-counter medications and treatments available at your store.

Simply explaining the different treatment options available as well as the pros and cons of each can help your patients take care of their own healthcare needs or at least buy some temporary symptom relief until they can see their doctor.

Can you tell me about my prescription medication?

If patients are picking up prescriptions, they will hopefully understand what they are taking and for what medical condition. However, as a pharmacist, you can provide a great deal of important information in this area.

You can explain the difference between generic and brand name medications, including price differentials. You can clarify the dosage requirements, whether medications may be taken as needed or whether the prescription should be finished completely, and what to do if patients miss a dose or take too much.

By answering these types of questions, you will help your patients build confidence in taking care of their medical condition and using their prescriptions effectively and responsibly.

What are potential drug interactions?

As a pharmacist, you have the best arsenal of information when it comes to drug interactions. If your patients have all of their prescriptions with your pharmacy, you have a complete record of current and past medications they are taking to help explain any potentially dangerous combinations.

In addition, you may want to talk with your customers about potential interactions with nutritional supplements, herbal remedies or even food. By serving as a resource for potential drug interactions, you can help prevent unwanted side effects or even dangerous situations.

How should I store medication?

Different medications may require different storage accommodations. Some drugs may need to be refrigerated, others should not. Some may lose potency with exposure to light or heat. Others may have a longer shelf life while some should be disposed of after a certain period of time.

Pharmacists can help patients keep their medications working effectively as well as provide advice on when certain drugs should be thrown away.

How long should I take my medication?

Certain medications are prescribed for a short period of time and should not be taken longer than that. Other medications may be maintenance medications that must be taken for the rest of a patient’s life. Some drugs can be taken as needed, and other dosages should be adjusted depending on the changing health conditions or lifestyle changes that are being made at the same time.

As a pharmacist, you can help your patients navigate these sometimes confusing requirements and provide advice on when a follow-up appointment may be needed or how frequently dosages should be re-checked by a doctor.


Liability Insurance For Pharmacists

Pharmacists, just like doctors, nurses and allied health workers, need to be protected from the occasional errors and mistakes that inevitably happen. Pharmacists who are self-employed or perform contract work should carry professional liability insurance. Those employed by a pharmacy should check to see what employer-sponsored coverage is provided; supplemental insurance is advised. Pharmacists with their own professional liability insurance policy know they’ll be covered if a lawsuit were to arise. The employer policy typically responds to the interests of the employer first and may not provide enough coverage for employees depending on the incident.

Healthcare related errors may occur due to medical misinformation, treatment issues, legal compliance failures, or regulatory problems. NOW Insurance offers comprehensive coverage for pharmacists, pharmacy techs, and many others working in the healthcare field. Access affordable and simple insurance quickly and easily. Get an immediate quote from our online application today.