Now imagine if your pharmacist is just one message away on your phone – meaning you can literally CHAT with a pharmacist, just like how you chat with your friends. Introducing Ask Online Pharmacist aka Pharmacy Live Chat for helping patients 24/7.
For years pharmacists are well-known as one of the most accessible healthcare professionals in our community. They provide lots of health advice and answers to our common health and medication questions for free apart from their regular responsibility of filling prescriptions and patient care.
We decided to take our pharmacist online now to connect with patients who are looking for pharmacist advice on how to take manage their health and medications. All this for free as always on patientandpharmacist.com
What is so unique about Ask Online Pharmacist Service:
Before we look into what makes Pharmacy Live Chat different than any other service let us show you why patientandpharmacist.com was born:
Why Online Pharmacist Vs Dr. Google (Online Search):
It is true – according to recent studies done on online health information that on an average someone will spend about 30 minutes to read an article or blog related to their question. And then still read or research few more review websites. What is worse – they still want to go their pharmacists to provide more information on what patients found themselves online. Now this is a complete waste of time and huge inconvenience.
I frequently encountered people coming all the way to my pharmacy to verify a little piece of information they read online, often getting phone calls just to verify/advise on health products someone browsed on internet.
Dr. Google has become a regular health information source for many people. One practical way to prevent patients from getting misinformed was educate patients at every opportunity and make them aware to not make health decisions based on what they read on internet.
Amita Ghenai, a computer scientist from University of Waterloo actually researched the consequences of consulting Dr. Google for health information. Her concern was that if going online to look up every single detail about how your body reacts to something and what symptoms you experience on daily basis have any negative effects?
The results confirmed that reading over many health websites can leave us misinformed and sometimes affect our mental health especially if somewhere it shows up explaining you that symptoms you experience are related to life-threatening disease.
Like doctors, Pharmacists also equally deal with biased information patients bring to them from internet. Most of them begin as a simple symptom search and then patients will read multiple links and in the end get confused on what to do.
They even end up buying over the counter products to treat some minor condition they felt they were suffering from. Only during consultation the pharmacists find out that patient has misdiagnosed based on what he read from internet.
In our clinical terms, we call it as ineffective therapy or needs change in medication. It already cost patients some cost and now again after proper consultation they will have to spend more money to get their symptoms resolved.
Why Pharmacy Live Chat is the Best Online Pharmacist Advice Platform:
We are online pharmacists for anyone, anywhere and anytime. Our service is open to everyone to use and is always free. Pharmacy Live Chat enables anyone to connect with licensed pharmacists right from their phone and get instant personalized answers.
In our opinion if pharmacist are easily accessible then they should be for everyone no matter what. Some websites hosting online pharmacists will answer questions only IF YOU have filled a prescription with them or you are an existing customer or loyalty points member.
This is like turning down a biggest chance of showing how much capable you are of doing patient care.
All other websites and banners out there wanting you to talk to their pharmacists online has one or more of the following disadvantages ( or I’d say frustrating customer experience):
1- first they ask to make an account
2- then ask to make an account on their loyalty program (sometimes)
3- then they sent confirmation emails back and forth
4- then I was able to ask a question and I had to pick a store number and few other information
5- Oh! You must have had filled a prescription with them BEFORE to get answers
6- you repeat the whole thing again if you have a new question…filling forms & wait!!!
This is not what patients deserve. This is not how they want to find answers. And this is not how you acquire new customers by closing doors to everyone else except your current customers.
2. Messaging-app interface:
The uniqueness about this service is that it allows patients to chat with pharmacist just like a normal chat conversation instead of having them to fill out long forms and questionnaire in order to talk to pharmacist.
With this platform – the conversation is ongoing and seamless. No need to fill out forms or post questions and wait for emails back and forth.
Majority of patients now prefer to interact with technology to fulfill their needs and pharmacy need is no exception. With rise of mobile apps, pharmacists are extending their presence online to serve patients.
3. Real-time info Sharing:
Another problem we saw was people forgetting the name of medications, insurance and health cards which we require to fill out information when accepting prescriptions. This feature in itself seems useless because we all have mobile phones and we can save pictures on it.
However the REAL BENEFIT of all these features comes when you are really trying to make your point to your pharmacist during chat by providing information about your medications and medical history.
For example, if you took a picture of your blood pressure vial or you filled out your medical history and now while asking a question you want to share this information to pharmacist then this can be done with just ONE CLICK. Yes, when you click on “share medical history” it shows your medical history in chat screen feed – you do not have to type this info. Pretty COOL right!
Goals of Online Pharmacist Service:
- to keep patients safe from misinformation about health and medications
- to speed up the process of diagnosis by timely consultation online with pharmacists
- to help them find answers to medication and health questions instantly
- to give personalized messaging experience to talk about their health
- to reduce phone calls interrupting workflow of pharmacists in community pharmacy
Final Word to Patients:
Our intention of putting a pharmacist online is to make patients aware that they do not have to waste time in researching medication information. Just Chat with us. We are here to help.
There are so many unreliable sources of information on internet that can make you believe ( yes they do it quite well!) that something is wrong with you even if you are experiencing some minor symptoms. I don’t blame the online information blogs or articles, I blame us all collectively.
I mean those health information niche websites were also started to help patients in the first place but what we forget is that how credible is that person passing information to patients? Is this website peer-reviewed? Is it talking about evidence or just some popular votes around health products?
There are however many reliable source of health information and the websites are usually run by government agencies, regional health association, non-profit health advocacy etc. One quick way to verify that the website you are reading information is to check if the website addresses end in .edu, .org or .gov