Importance of Effective Communication for Patients with IBD and their Pharmacists

In an interview with Specialty Pharmacy Times, former NFL placekicker, Rolf Benirschke, CEO of Legacy Health Strategies, discusses why an effective communication channel is critical to achieving optimal outcomes for patients with IBD.

In an interview with Specialty Pharmacy Times, former NFL placekicker, Rolf Benirschke, CEO of Legacy Health Strategies, discusses why an effective communication channel is critical to achieving optimal outcomes for patients with IBD.

Rolf Benirschke: It’s critical that there’s effective communication with everybody — with the patient, with the physician, with the nurse, with our family, with our friends. And, oftentimes when you’re sick and hurting and worn-out, you just don’t have the courage to do that. You just don’t have the stamina to do that. There’s also the feeling that we can get judged. “Deal with it,” “Figure it out,” “Fight harder.” And the poor patient is fighting as hard as they can. So, empathetically understanding what we’re going through is huge.

And then, the chance to encourage us is powerful. When you get diagnosed, you tend to want to shrink up and go hide in a corner. You’re ashamed, you’re scared, you’re hurt. You don’t want to be social. And great friends don’t allow you to isolate yourself. They come in alongside you. They climb in the pit with you. Renée Brown talks about empathy versus sympathy. Sympathy is saying, “oh, it must be bad!” and they walk away. Empathy is climbing into the pit and saying, “Ah, I’m aching with you. I wish I could do something, but I can’t. I’m just gonna sit here and be with you. Tell me how you’re doing. And we’re gonna get through this together.”

That kind of action is really important and starts with communication. And oftentimes, the patient doesn’t want to be communicative.