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How Influencers Influence: From Bob Barker to Amb Care

At the end of every episode of The Price Is Right, Bob Barker would hold that weird microphone, look at the camera, and say, “This is Bob Barker reminding you to help control the pet population — have your pets spayed or neutered."

Millions tuned in every day to watch this show and therefore, millions heard his message. He had an audience, a platform, and most of all: trust.

Many celebrities use their status to advocate for causes they are passionate about: Ashton Kutcher defending children from sexual abuse, Matt Damon co-founded, and Shonda Rhimes creating racially diverse story lines.

These are some examples of how influencers influence, but what does this have to do with pharmacy?

I’ve practiced in ambulatory care for my entire career. What I’ve learned is that this niche is very hard to describe. What do you do during your visits? How do you help patients? What is the best way to get trained? These are all questions I have fielded over the years and recently I found myself saying this:

· Ambulatory care is listening.

· It’s patience.

· It’s building trust over time.

· Sometimes we meet with patients several times before any interventions are implemented.

· It’s motivational interviewing.

· It’s meeting the patient where they’re at.

· It’s patient-centered care before it was a buzz word.

· It’s building relationships, one conversation at a time.

It's allowing the patient to feel heard. However long that takes.

Ambulatory care pharmacists know that all of the clinical knowledge and evidence-based medicine that supports our recommendations mean nothing if we don’t have influence. And we've seen first-hand that building trust builds bridges to optimizing therapy and improved outcomes.

I love how Amy Cuddy describes it (paraphrasing): In order to have influence, you must first have presence. In Amy Cuddy’s book Presence, she states, “…the only way to establish real trust is by being present. If someone you’re trying to influence doesn’t trust you, you’re not going to get very far…Presence gives you the power to help others in their most challenging moments.”

We are all influencers. We may have a microphone, an established platform upon which we stand, and a great message. But first we must be present.

Until next week,



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