As flu season rapidly approaches, pharmacies are beginning to administer the flu shot to their patients. Whether you only offer the flu shot or another immunizations, it’s important to inform, educate and support patients in that process. Here are some tips on how you can become the immunization hot spot:
Utilize signage to advertise your immunization services and post them a few times throughout your pharmacy at eye-level. Your signage can be simple, but needs to be eye catching.
You should also make sure that your pharmacy technicians are offering additional services at drop-of and pick-up times. Make a point to discuss with your team the best ways to recommend immunizations to patients. Doing a role playing activity will help technicians feel more comfortable making these recommendations.
Instead of saying “most insurance covers immunizations,” offer to check with a patient’s insurance company to identify their out-of-pocket cost! This will help the patient make an informed decision and will gain their trust.
Be sure to explain to patients how different conditions such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes and COPD can be risk factors for complications related to the flu and pneumonia.
The most important part of educating your patients is to identify and listen to any fears they have. They may be reluctant to get a flu shot because they are afraid of the needle stick, the potential of a sore arm afterwards or the possibility of getting mildly ill. Be open, honest and supportive before you administer the vaccine and make sure your patient feels as comfortable and educated as possible.
You should be a source of support during their decision-making process of whether to get an immunization or not. You should never coerce or pressure a patient into getting a vaccination. The role of a pharmacist is to ensure that the patient is confident in their decision and to counsel them on the vaccines they will receive.
Another great way to show support is to encourage your patients to take control of their health by letting them know that vaccinations are tools they an use to help their body defend illness.
By informing, educating and supporting your patients, you can increase the amount of immunizations your pharmacy administers. Not only will this lead to more income, but you will gain the trust and relationship with patients and help keep unwanted illnesses from spreading! It’s a win-win for everyone!