How pharmacists can add value to patients through providing great clinic services

South African healthcare is a dynamic, multi-faceted environment and our pharmacies are amongst the service providers best qualified and best positioned to provide quality medical care.  Long-time UCS TS client and PCDT pharmacist, Medichem Pellisier’s Wim Grobbelaar runs one of South Africa’s most comprehensive and innovative community pharmacies. He uses clinical services as a practical and effective way to add value for his pharmacy patients and business: “Adding value takes skill and finesse, but it gives a competitive advantage that is hard to emulate.”

How pharmacists can add value to patients through providing great clinic services

1. Open communication is key: Ensuring accurate capture of information as well as medical history and “main complaint”, and obtaining consent for information-sharing amongst medical professionals are important to addressing the complete needs of patients and establishing trust - “it’s helping one another,” says Wim.

2. Engage with your patients and talk to them: “Servicing the chronic patient is about adding value”. Add value by showing your patients the processes, their numbers (e.g., blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, BMI etc.), explaining the medical reasoning, and deriving a pharmaceutical and clinical plan together that addresses their overall health goals.

3. “The objective of all clinics is to improve the health of patients.” Broadening the scope of testing and looking holistically at the patient helps positions the pharmacy as the primary healthcare services provider.  Providing the information, and the medicines/supplements that can complement chronic conditions’ treatment, as well as treating additional or auxiliary conditions arising out of chronic or acute conditions, all help drive add-on services that benefit both the patient as well as the pharmacy.

4. “Opportunities we are not using” are residential visits and planned screenings at companies, schools, community centres etc. Not only can these provide “the opportunity to reach much wider into the patient’s life”, they also save elderly, frail, and mobility-impaired patients time and money.  

3. Offer affordable and accessible healthcare using technology: use your pharmacy inventory, business information and point of sales systems information to help you staff correctly, buy correctly, and be able to provide clinical testing together with treatment package or basket deals that save your patients time and money.  Analysing the data will also show who your patients are, what their medical needs are, what services you can provide, and which relevant additional service providers that can be included in the healthcare situation (like psychologists, GPs, physiotherapists etc.) to provide great clinical services.

UCS TS have developed HELIXClinic, a mobile application helps community pharmacies deliver on these clinical services goals in the following ways:

  • It supports accurate information capture through an intuitive and easy-to-use screen interface
  • The app generates a standalone health record for patients that’s easily accessed for viewing patient history and reporting
  • Touchscreen checklists facilitates simple and quick capture of basics: clinicians can spend more time communicating with the patient to improve the patient experience, and address all healthcare concerns
  • HELIXClinic aids continuity in healthcare: simple information sharing  between medical service providers (e.g. integration between the pharmacy clinic and dispensary) helps to support the full  patient journey
  • Mobile and cloud-based means the application provides anytime, anywhere services and availability

In Wim’s words, “Adding value for patients will add value for the pharmacy”. HELIXClinic is a practical tool pharmacies can use to create a productive patient/practitioner relationship, to improve their patient’s clinic experience, and also generate reliable clinical data.