Magdalena Stępień, Małgorzata Chmielewska, Anna Kostrzewa Itrych, Tomasz Hermanowski
Demand for Pharmaceutical Counseling in Pharmacies in Poland, the Specific Role of Patient-Pharmacist Communication
The aim of this paper was to assess the demand for pharmaceutical counseling in pharmacies in Poland, with a focus on the impact of patient-pharmacist communication on the efficacy and safety of pharmacotherapy. Additionally, the importance of and barriers to pharmacist involvement in health-related counseling were considered on an individual and systemic basis. The new Act of December 10, 2020, on the profession of the pharmacist was also discussed in the context of introducing real-term pharmaceutical care in Poland.
Pharmacists can significantly influence the health behavior of patients, and therefore the essential professional competencies of pharmacists include adequate social and communication skills. Patient management, including the continuation of prescribed therapy and follow-up of health problems and patient needs, as well as effective health education can only be implemented through individual interaction with patients.
The World Health Organization (WHO) identifies the lack of communication with healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, as one of the reasons for non-compliance with therapeutic recommendations, which is relatively common among patients. According to the WHO report, approximately half of all patients with chronic illnesses do not take medications as prescribed, which is why non-compliance is considered a global healthcare concern. Patients may fail to understand the information conveyed to them by healthcare professionals due to communication barriers in patient-doctor or patient-pharmacist interactions. In the relevant literature, it is generally accepted that pharmacists need to be continuously trained in order to broaden their professional knowledge, develop an appropriate attitude towards patients, and learn to communicate with them.
Pharmacists can increase patient compliance through personalized counseling and pharmaceutical care. The new Polish healthcare legislation, i.e. the Act of December 10, 2020, on the profession of pharmacist, opens a new chapter of pharmaceutical care in Poland. By using the potential of pharmacists and pharmacies as health care institutions, it increases patient’s access to healthcare services not previously practiced on a larger scale in pharmacies, such as drug check-ups, individual pharmaceutical care plans, and diagnostic tests. Implementing the specific stages of pharmaceutical care while maintaining its regularity, continuity and record-keeping provide for the best outcomes. Developing an individual pharmaceutical care plan, taking into account the patient’s problems with pharmaceuticals, helps define therapeutic goals and indicate ways of solving the identified issues, with a focus on health education, promoting health and healthy lifestyle, and health prophylaxis. Pharmacy counseling and patient care according to the new Act provide an opportunity for wider cooperation with patients and medical doctors in terms of pharmacotherapy and change the professional role of pharmacists.
Keywords: pharmaceutical counseling, communication with patients, pharmacy, pharmaceutical care, compliance.
© Farm Pol, 2021, 77(4): 262–268