-Sensitises them on leveraging technology for clients satisfaction
As Nigeria joins the rest of the global community to commemorate World Pharmacists Day, a global annual health event celebrated on every 25 September, Pharmanews Ltd, organised a virtual symposium to enlighten pharmacists on how to boost clients trust in their services.
The World Pharmacists Day 2021, themed “Pharmacy: Always Trusted for Your Health”, was established by International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) to recognise and celebrate pharmacists role in healthcare.
The webinar featured Pharm. Chima Ogbu, chairman, PSN Rivers State Chapter, who spoke extensively on “Boosting clients’ trust in your pharmacy”, and Pharm.(Miss) Yimika Oguns, national chairman, PSN –YPG, who presented a paper on how pharmacists can leverage technology to improve clients’ satisfaction in their pharmacies.
The Rivers PSN chairman commenced by defining ‘client’ to be a person or organisation using the services of a lawyer or other professional person or company, while ‘boost’ could mean to help or encourage (something) to increase or improve and ‘trust’ means firm belief in the reliability, truth or ability of someone or something.
He added that there is a need for pharmacists to be client-centric as this means that they must know their customers. He said: “It is a strategy and a culture of doing business that focuses on creating the best experience for the customer, and by doing so builds brand loyalty.
“Client-centric businesses ensure that the customer is at the center of a business’s philosophy, operations, or ideas. Client-centric businesses believe that their clients are the primary reason that they exist, and they use every means at their disposal to keep the client satisfied,” Ogbu added.
He further noted the reason for trust, saying that: “Trust is a vital ingredient in the development and sustainance of all human and organisational relationships. Pharmacy has been described as an exact science with zero tolerance for error and mistakes. Lives are saved when pharmacists do the right thing or destroyed when they commit minor errors in compounding, preparation, manufacturing, dispensing, patient counseling, drug therapy management and the administration of medicines”.
Pharm. Ogbu said pharmacist’ level of care and attention to fine details at every level of the pharmacy value chain and service delivery must reflect the highest level of accuracy, integrity and professionalism, adding that products quality assurance from production to administration must be total.
To achieve customers’ trust, satisfaction and increased patronage is not easy, he noted that one must be knowledgeable, highly skilled with adequate social capital communication skills and Interpersonal relationship, IT savvy, knowledgeable in basic business financial administration and ready to learn and relearn continuously.
Advising pharmacists, pharm Ogbu said any pharmacist that aspires to grow and progress must know how to treat their clients/ patients, how to inform, advice and counsel them, how to process and manage clients/patients confidential information, how to easily solve clients/patients problems, how attractive and appealing is the premises.
He further stressed the fact that patients must be able to rely on their pharmacists especially when it involves their health.
In her presentation, Pharm Oguns added the need to leverage on technology in today’s pharmacy world as technology has drastically changed the way we live over the past few decades, including the delivery of healthcare
She noted that 75 per cent of people who visit physicians in the hospital have drug therapy problems, adding that in Nigeria, patients are more likely to call their pharmacists, show up in a pharmacy first, before going to the hospital
“With the advancements in technology, there is an increasing need for an integrated healthcare delivery model to improve patient outcomes.
“Customers demand the same level of comfort and easiness from every service, whether they are shopping, visiting the hospital, picking up refills or buying OTCs
“The future of healthcare is identifying what your clients need and then implementing the right strategies and finding the right technology to help you meet those needs,” she added.
The PSN-YPG national chairman said there is a need for pharmacists to latch onto the inventory management systems (IMS), as it will help in dispensing of drugs, alert for stock outs and also alert for near expiry and expired medicines.
She noted that with the help of IMS, pharmacists can analyse consumption patterns, analyse prescription patterns and as well predict reorder levels for drugs, which will eventually prevent reduction in wastage, reduction in pilferage and improved decision making.
“Pharmacies need to leverage existing technologies to meet the standard needs of their clients. You do not necessarily need the “high tech” before you can take advantage of the many innovations out there.
“The opportunities to add value are numerous and we must not stop evolving to meet the needs of our patients and clients,” she added.