Patient counseling is not an activity which can in itself generate some revenue. This activity is being proposed as an additional service to be rendered by a clinical pharmacist so as to enhance the success levels of healthcare. At present this activity may be taken up by pharmacy trained professionals who are working in medical shops or hospitals. They can do it only after taking the necessary training and after attaining the necessary knowledge. Hence we cannot demand (especially in our country, where people are already complaining about the high costs of healthcare), that we should be paid some professional fee for carrying out the patient counseling.
But the practice of collecting professional fees, as "so much for each medicine" is there in some places like the USA, by professional pharmacists. But this is not a separate fees for patient counseling, this is a fee for the services of the pharmacist. Coming to the Indian situation, we cannot demand fee for patient counseling. The pharmacist has the satisfaction that, because of his/her services, better healthcare is achieved. That is all. There would be no financial benefit for the pharmacist in patient counseling. One way in which patient counseling could give financial benefit is, more patients are likely to visit places that offer patient counseling and hence the overall sales in the shop may improve.
An Australian based research study proved that pharmacies where patient counseling is done attract better patient patronage and hence secure better financial benefits. In USA, there are trained diabetes counselors who possess a certificate. These counselors, after counseling, get third party reimbursement. (1) So, in conclusion, we must say that patient counseling is not a proposal, where you get immediate monetary benefits. But, indirectly and in the long run, it is beneficial for the patients, to the pharmacists and to the whole society.
Reference: 1. Proceedings of the National seminar on Clinical and Hospital pharmacy, 17th and 18th October, 1999, page 37.
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