The Power of the Patient-Independent Pharmacist Relationship

The Power of the Patient-Independent Pharmacist Relationship
May 5, 2023
RxLocal Team

A lot happens behind an independent pharmacy’s shelves. Whether they’re filling your prescriptions or preparing your annual flu shot, they are hard at work providing exceptional patient care.

Pharmacy work is naturally hard work and requires a healthcare professional’s close attention. You might feel like pharmaceuticals are this foreign, mythical language that only white coats can speak.

However, independent pharmacists do so much more than look at a computer screen. They play an integral role in your health journey and you might not even know it.

Here are the ins and outs of the patient-pharmacist relationship.

What an Independent Pharmacist Does

Let’s get the basics out of the way. The basic idea of the patient-independent pharmacist relationship is they fill your prescriptions according to the doctor’s instructions.

They also administer vaccines, ensuring that the vaccination process is a pain-free (not literally — vaccines can hurt!) one. Independent pharmacists also contact your doctor whenever necessary, whether it’s a refill request or a prior authorization request.

For many patients, independent pharmacies are the middle party between them and their doctors. They also contact your doctor to clarify certain aspects of your prescription. Patient safety is their number one concern — a safe patient is a healthier and happier patient.

Independent pharmacists make sure the pharmacy is working at an optimal level, ensuring you don’t have to stay there longer than you need to. They have your convenience in mind and work to give you the best and most efficient patient care.

Independent pharmacists wear a lot of hats. Some of those hats have nothing to do with medicine but they all work to help you and your needs.

More Than Just Prescriptions

Pharmacy work never begins or ends at the pharmacy counter, nor does it only have to do with medications. The spectrum of patient care is a wide-ranging one, one that can help you be a healthier and more informed patient.

Patient counseling is one of the central tenets of patient care. On the surface, patient counseling seems like a simple formality: you pick up a prescription and the independent pharmacist reads off the prescription instructions.

Granted, a part of that is true. Independent pharmacists are legally required to counsel you on your prescription. A part of the consultation might seem redundant to some, and it can be.

However, patient counseling gives you the opportunity to ask your independent pharmacist any question you may have. If you have any concerns about the medication, now is the time to tell your independent pharmacist.

This lets you see how a certain medication fits into your health journey. Your independent pharmacist can walk you through that by taking a look at your patient profile.

They can hopefully explain complex pharmacy terms in an easy-to-understand way, strengthening your medical literacy.

All in all, patient counseling demystifies the mythical pharmacy world and shows it for what it is: an industry that prioritizes your health and safety.

A Pillar of The Community

As mentioned earlier, a pharmacist wears many different hats. They are part-healthcare extraordinaire, part-business savant. An independent pharmacist, on the other hand, is that and more. Simply put, they are a pillar of the community.

Independent pharmacies walk to the beat of their own drum. They put their own stamp on familiar pharmacy practices to best suit their community.

An independent pharmacy in an elderly community shapes its inventory around maintenance medications, primarily for diabetes and cholesterol. It also provides a greater amount of high-dose flu shots and shingle vaccines.

A pediatric pharmacy orders more liquid antibiotics since children largely struggle to swallow pills. They also have a jar of lollipops to make their day.

Independent pharmacies are a reflection of their community, whereas chain pharmacies prefer a one-size-fits-all approach. That might help their bottom line, but it barely scratches the surface of achieving optimal patient care.

Independents know their community and how to best take care of them. But in order to take care of the community, they need to care for each individual patient.

Lending a Helping Hand

Patient care is all about helping the next patient. Independent pharmacists excel in this because they know that patient care isn’t just treating a momentary ailment: it’s about helping the whole patient from top to bottom.

The patient-pharmacist relationship is rarely stronger than in an independent pharmacy. A Consumer Report article found that half of its members go to independent pharmacies and that half of the independent pharmacists remembered their names.

It’s a small thing but it goes a long way in building a strong patient base. If an independent pharmacy is a pillar of the community, its staff should remember their patients’ names, especially if they’re regulars.

The convenience goes beyond a personalized greeting, however. It gives you personalized care. An exceptional independent pharmacist or technician knows what medications you’re due for and whether it requires a manufacturer’s coupon or refill authorization.

They know if you prefer that other manufacturer for your thyroid medication, making a potential hiccup into a thing of the past.

And with the help of a trustee pharmacy software system — such as PioneerRx — they can make your visit to the pharmacy enjoyable and worthwhile.


An independent pharmacist who knows their patients goes a long way. The independent pharmacy becomes more than just a place where you can pick up your prescriptions. It becomes a certified and personalized healthcare destination.

But at the independent pharmacy’s core, beyond the prescriptions and vaccines, is you, the patient. Independent pharmacists can’t perform at their best without you.

Patient care is a two-way street, and that street will only help you become a healthier and smarter self.

Use our Pharmacy Finder to find an independent pharmacy near you and jumpstart your health journey.