Poll: which terminology do you use?

Patients, customers, clients or something else? What is the term you most commonly use to describe those who enter your pharmacy? 

There has been a gradual shift of opinion within community pharmacy from calling people customers to referring to them as patients, as part of a push away from retail toward professional services.

AJP wants to find out what’s the current state of play with regard to the in-store terminology you use to describe your clients (or patients, or customers….)

Vote in our poll  

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NOTICE: It can sometimes take awhile for comment submissions to go through, please be patient.


  1. PeterC

    I think pharmacists are much more sophisticated and nuanced when it comes to dealing with the folk who are the recipients of our professional attention than this poll allows for. Keeping it as simple as I can, we encounter people as ‘ consumers’ (for example when comparing prices of goods or evaluating the content of services); as ‘customers’ (when purchasing); as ‘patients’ (especially when participating in a relationship of care with us); as ‘clients’ (especially when acting as patients’ agents but also in certain semi-voluntary care situations such as opioid substitution and Staged Supply); and simply as ‘people’. Cultural and other factors can make it even more complex and subtle than that. Where it gets really subtle is when one individual can seamlessly transition between many of these ‘states of being’ over matter of minutes in a single encounter. This actually happens most of the time and as pharmacists we A. have no cognitive or conceptual difficulty with it and B. don’t find it helpful to choose just one term that would characterise all people in all situations

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