Increased sunshine during summer months usually encourages outdoor activity, inspires summer vacations and brings on a potential decrease in regular patient visits at your pharmacy location. Yet seeing your patients less in-store shouldn’t mean a decrease in communications.
If anything, it means it is time to ramp up text messaging reminders and physically make phone calls to your patients. This is a chance to be proactive: remind patients of the importance of refilling their medications and review medication instructions.
Let’s shed some light on summertime medication adherence and take a closer look at what to review with would-be travelers:
- Medication Supplies- Whether it is a 3-day or 3-month trip, your patients will need to take their medicine on time, following their regular routine. Make sure they have their supply before they leave and have a reminder mechanism in place.
- Packing Medication- How a patient stores their medication is also important. It’s one thing to pack medication for a trip, and then it’s another thing to forget it at a hotel, misplace it somewhere inside of luggage or sometimes lose medication inside of a vehicle. For that reason, you as a pharmacist can recommend distinguishable travel medication containers and bags that stand out more than standard clear sealable sandwich bags.
- The Temperature’s Effect on Medication- Imagine a customer finding that lost medication inside the glove compartment of the car after it’s been roasting in over 90-degree heat for five hours, and then debating whether to take it. Pharmacists, review temperature ranges of medications with your patients, and especially highlight those meds that require refrigeration.
- Drug Interactions- It’s important to also review drug interactions with your patients. Not only drug-drug interactions, but how drugs react to supplements, food and drink (as eating out and alcohol consumption can increase on vacation).
- Several medications may also predispose your patients to sensitivity to sunlight. Be sure to point out this consideration to your patients. Do not let your patients find out the hard way and risk having your patient not take the medication correctly or not at all! Recommend sunscreens, hydration and other physical interventions to keep them on track.
How was your summer break?
Finally, if you notice that some of your patients’ medication adherence wanes during summer and they re-emerge late August and early September, remember to welcome them back with a smile. Getting them back on track should always be a top priority. Ask your patients how they are doing, how was their summer vacation and “How can we help you stay healthy?” Transitioning from casual talk to continued care is customer service with heart and could make an overall positive impact in their medication adherence.