• The learning objectives for this module are:

    • Outline the steps involved in processing a medicines information enquiry.
    • Identify core questions to ask to assist in answering medicines information enquiries.
    • Outline core components of answering medicines information enquiries.
    • Describe the importance and elements of plain language in answering medicines information enquiries.
    • Outline key components of written and telephone responses to medicines information enquiries.

    Accreditation number for this module: S2019/90

    This activity has been accredited for 1 hour of Group-1 CPD (or 1 CPD credit), suitable for inclusion in an individual pharmacist’s CPD plan.


    The program addresses pharmacist competency standards, including:


    Standard 2.2.3 Promote effective interprofessional practice

    Standard 2.3.1 Use appropriate communication skills

    (National Competency Standards Framework for Pharmacists in Australia, 2016)

  • Most enquiries in MI are received by telephone, email or in person. It is usually necessary to ask further questions of the enquirer so that you can effectively answer the enquiry. You will need to ask:

    • whether the enquiry is for a specific patient or for general information?
    • the name of the enquirer and their job, role or interest in the enquiry
    • the best way to contact the enquirer & the type of response the enquirer wants to receive e.g. phone call, email, letter 
    • the required time frame for an answer.

    You will also usually need to consider what further specific information is required to answer the enquiry. Most enquirers do not specifically request the information that they need to answer the question or solve the problem at hand so one of the important skills to learn in MI is asking the right questions. This will help you understand the context of the question and allow you to answer the enquiry appropriately and efficiently. For enquiries about a specific patient, a unit record number (UR) or medical record number (MRN) will help you obtain further useful information from their medical history.

    As you work your way through the subjects you will gain an understanding of the right questions to ask. Each subject includes a list of questions to ask an enquirer and examples of real enquiries. 

    Tips for receiving an enquiry over the phone:

    • Always identify yourself when you answer the phone.
    • Actively listen and take notes.
    • Summarise what you understand the enquiry to be and confirm this with the enquirer.
    • Consider giving the enquirer the option of a written response. This provides an opportunity to collate your ideas in written form and provide references and it may save time for both parties.
    • Be familiar with the telephone answering procedures and expectations of your workplace.