The role of pharmacists as reliable health care practitioners is a perception that is still evolving today. A pilot study done at the University of of Minnesota evaluated patient perceptions on the care pharmacists can provide to patients, mainly through student pharmacist-led interactions with patients. By allowing student pharmacists to use the AIDET communication technique learned in pharmacy courses, perceptions on both student pharmacists and registered pharmacists were discussed. The AIDET communication technique stands for acknowledge, introduce, duration, explanation, and thank you. The acronym allows student pharmacists and providers to create a patient focused interaction eloquently and to allow students to develop a culture of service. The University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy incorporates this framework early in their curriculum with the hope to make future patients of pharmacists feel comfortable with their health care interactions.
This study used an IRB-approved survey that assessed current perceptions of pharmacists and patient awareness of pharmacist involvement in point of care (POC) services. It also gauged how patients felt about pharmacy students performing health screenings. All survey participants provided information on their normal pharmacy experiences, education and income level, demographics. At the health fair, patients blood glucose, blood pressure, and bone density were screened. Responses were recorded before and after student assessments using AIDET communication. Results from this pilot study indicated that only 94.8% of patients surveyed prior to AIDET implantation said they would consider seeing a pharmacist to provide the selected health screenings, and 100% of patients responded that they would after AIDET implantation. Overall, a majority of those respondents 65 and older said they knew before the health fair that pharmacist was able to provide POC screening. 50% of participants indicated that they were trusting of the student pharmacists performing their screenings before the interaction, and 70% indicated that they were trusting post-AIDET implementation.
I think that it’s extremely relevant for pharmacy students to try and understand the perceptions their patients have of pharmacists in general – because this will almost always influence their interactions with us as student pharmacists. It can be scary as a student to interact with patients and provide accurate health information. It often crosses your mind if your patient even think that their community pharmacist is a trusted and reliable professional. The AIDET mnemonic sited in this study seems to be a good way to introduce the basics of patient communication to students, however, I think that students should be careful in getting stuck using a rigid framework in their practice. This may make it more difficult in the future to adapt to some of the harder or difficult patient interactions they are sure to experience as a practicing pharmacist and professional.
J Am Pharm Assoc. 2015;55:626–633. Link to Article: http://www.japha.org/article/S1544-3191(16)30007-3/pdf