Traditionally known as pharmaceutical experts, pharmacists can add to their conventional roles to become catalysts of change. Given their deep understanding of medications, patient-centric approach, and easy accessibility, pharmacists are able to create a partnership that empowers patients to make informed decisions about their health. This makes them well-suited for the role of health coach.
Health coaching relies on a unique partnership between coach and client. A partnership of education, support, and accountability. A pharmacist already has a similar, but less personal, partnership with their customers. They educate on medications, supplements, and over-the-counter drugs. They support customers by advising on OTC medicine to fight various ailments. Finally, a pharmacist can discuss accountability by emphasizing the importance of adhering to doctor-prescribed medication and treatment.
Benefits of Pharmacists as Health Coaches
Patients, Clients, and Customers
According to a recent study, 40% of all patients did not adhere to doctor prescription recommendations. Up to 70% of patients did not adhere to doctor recommendations when treatments were complex or required lifestyle changes and modification of habits. Pharmacists as health coaches can help to bridge that gap.
In America, 6 in 10 adults are diagnosed with at least 1 chronic illness, with 4 in 10 having at least 2. This is a large population that can benefit from having easy access to a health coach. Pharmacists are generally one of the most easily accessible healthcare professionals as they tend to have later hours than clinics and are available in more locations. What's more, pharmacists are highly knowledgeable in the screening, prevention, and treatment of chronic diseases.
By adding a certification in health coaching to their credentials, pharmacists can make a big impact on the overall health and wellness of their customers and community. They can help educate on prescribed lifestyle changes and medication treatments while supporting customers in implementing changes. More importantly, they can act as an accountability partner for those struggling to adhere to doctor prescription recommendations and habit changes.
Pharmacists and Pharmacies
Pharmacists as health coaches offer a unique opportunity for pharmacies to enhance customer care while also improving the community as a whole. This added relationship with customers can lead to better satisfaction, strengthen relationships with local doctors, and increase business.
Adding health coaching services to a pharmacy can increase clientele. Coaching services aren't only for those suffering from chronic illness. Health coaching also covers areas such as nutrition, positive psychology, and mind-body medicine. Anyone can benefit from health coaching.
Big pharmacy chains, such as CVS, have already added extra services to their pharmacies. The minute clinic is a great way for clients to access nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and nurses for services such as vaccinations, minor injuries, A1C checks, and more. Recently CVS Chronic Care Program Manager, Anna Sparks spoke with FMCA about how the addition of health coaching at CVS will benefit everyone. Listen to the full episode below:
Roadblocks for Pharmacists
While the potential of pharmacists as health coaches is undeniable, their seamless integration into pharmacy practice has certain challenges. Structured pharmacist health coach training programs are not currently available. This training is important to help pharmacists develop the skills to identify patients who can benefit from health coaching. This leaves pharmacists having to seek out health coaching certification programs outside of their initial studies.
Luckily, courses, such as the FMCA Health Coach Certification Program, are available online. FMCA is committed to excellence in teaching through evidence-based research. Ours is the only health certification program created in collaboration with The Institute for Functional Medicine. What's more, it is a National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching-approved course.
A New Horizon
Pharmacists have the potential to truly make a difference in the lives of their customers. They already play an active role in educating patients about their illnesses, medications, and side effects. They already have an educational and supportive relationship with their customers and community. So why not take the next step and combine the expertise of a pharmacist and the skills of a health coach?
A pharmacist as health coach can make a big impact on the overall health and wellness of their customers and community. They can increase overall pharmacy business by providing new services. They provide accessibility that other healthcare facilities cannot. But most importantly, they can utilize their existing customer relationships to help others along their journey to a healthier lifestyle.
Dr. Sandra Scheinbaum recently joined Lauren Castle, Pharm.D. of Functional Medicine Pharmacists Alliance to discuss how to integrate pharmacy and health coaching to create unique practice models that maximize the strengths of each modality in the functional medicine care team in order to reduce healthcare costs and optimize patient outcomes. Watch the video below:
If you're interested in having a transformational impact on the wellness landscape, consider becoming a health coach today. Learn more about the FMCA Health Coach Certification Program, or schedule a call with our Admissions team who are ready to answer any of your questions.