Patient Engagement Involves a Knowledge Exchange

Knowledge exchange occurs when a clinical pharmacist uses best evidence to inform a patient on which direction to take to create a good health care outcome.
Knowledge exchange is about sharing knowledge freely to make a difference in health outcomes for patients.
During the knowledge exchange the pharmacist uses mentoring processes to act firstly as a translator (deciphering medical terms into lay language or illustrating all options), then assisting the patient to implement a plan of action by suggesting a product or strategy to alleviate a patient’s condition and then disseminating that knowledge so that it is in a readable and permanent format for the patient e.g. printed CMI.

Because you are mentoring, the process does not end there because you should have taken some basic contact details (email address and phone number) and undertake a follow-up to see how the patient is progressing.

If you use an iPad, or similar, the details of your transaction can be easily recorded into a simple freeware system.
I use as a useful cloud system for storing OTC transactions.
You can also use Evernote if you set up suitable templates in advance.
It is free, secure software that can expand with future input and you can set it up so that the patient can access their information privately, but you also retain a separate password for your own access when updating.
The system advises any drug interactions and gives basic information on medical conditions, so it is a very useful tool.
It is also a marketing strategy to anchor your patient to yourself and your pharmacy.

Following your initial interview, more information may need to follow by email, if necessary.
The process of mentoring is also an expansion of care – something which patients prize.
And with care, patient progress to good health is always faster.

As much of the knowledge detail you are transferring should be in an easy to read format and presented in an attractive type folder.
Visual formats and diagrams can save large volumes of text for a patient to wade through.
Slideshows are a very useful and attractive format.
This illustrates to a patient that you value the knowledge that you are transferring and if patient engagement is successfully performed, they will also value the information.
Encourage them to form their own library for future reference and to freely share the knowledge among their family.
This is very easy in the Evernote system where you can “web clip”.

This process may occur as part of a front of pharmacy engagement with the only return being a profit from the sale of the recommended product, or as part of a consultation where a patient pays for the time involvement of the pharmacist.
Knowledge must be seen to have a value and be acquired by the patient and paid for in product sale or a fee for service consultation.

There is also a little bit of psychology involved at the point of transaction where the pharmacist should be seen to be separate from the handling of money.
That part of the process is handled by assistants and you do not bind yourself down unnecessarily in terms of time, enabling you to spread yourself around more efficiently.
The patient only remembers you for the knowledge transfer and not the money transfer.

Encourage patient contact freely and without reservation, because every contact represents an additional opportunity to transfer knowledge that will always end up a profitable experience for yourself and the patient.

Encourage them to also exchange knowledge with you that they may have researched separately for some other situation.
This is a building block that anchors patients to you as an individual and generates goodwill that you cannot easily put a price on.
Much of this work takes time and research on your part, but is a very satisfying experience.

As you build your relationship you also build trust which has to be in place before you can offer any advanced service.
Patients currently do not have a trust level for an advanced service, simply because they have not seen examples or experienced it before.

So, to start off the process of a clinical service for a fee you just have to perform appropriately in the front of the pharmacy, with a home base near the front door that is represented as a work bench that has multiple iPads, a laptop computer, a printer, storage space for printed information, stationery such as folders and large envelopes. Also space to securely store S3 items and some functional medicines that is secure and removes the need for ever stepping back into the dispensary.
Full Wi-Fi connectivity between equipment and the dispensary database completes the set up.

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