Stationed on the front lines of our nation’s health delivery system, independent pharmacies provide communities with some of the most accessible, comprehensive, and personalized patient-centric care available. In fact, serving communities as healthcare destinations focused on delivering clinical care is the independent pharmacy’s competitive advantage. Further, continuing to enhance patient care, attract new customers and generate new revenue—all while improving outcomes—is exactly what will allow the independent pharmacy industry to not only sustain, but thrive.
Bruce Kneeland, a community pharmacy specialist—with more than four decades working in and around community pharmacies—recently shared with Pharmacy Podcast Network’s RxInfluencer magazine the three trends he is currently seeing that point to a very bright future for the independent pharmacy industry.1
Keep reading for a brief recap of this article!
1. Pharmacists know they are important members of the healthcare team
There is no denying that the menu of enhanced clinical services independent pharmacies offer patients continues to grow year-over-year. From Comprehensive Medication Reviews to pharmacogenomic testing, and in some states, prescribing birth control pills, the role of the community pharmacist has significantly expanded and evolved.
By enhancing pharmacy clinical services offerings, the weight and importance of the pharmacist on the patient’s healthcare team are similarly enhanced. Now equipped with broader and deeper insight and information with respect to the patient’s overall health picture, there is no longer debate as to whether there should be room for the pharmacist on the patient’s healthcare team.
In short, the pharmacist is no longer viewed as an additional care provider, but an essential one—by both patients and fellow care providers.
2. Pharmacies are starting to market more
Long viewed as a luxury in the independent pharmacy world, there is growing consensus among pharmacy owners that marketing is a must. The truth is, many patients remain unaware of the various and wide-ranging clinical services they can expect to receive at their independent pharmacy. Also, with more consumers now going online to get information—especially about their health—implementing a marketing strategy—particularly of the digital variety—is an excellent way to attract new customers and grow your business.
Targeted messaging campaigns— via text, email, and social media—attention grabbing flyers, and point-of-purchase signs, are all great ways to “speak to consumers” and let them know the various ways your practice can help them to live better, healthier lives.
That said, the ability to effectively market is a skill that not everyone possesses, and many pharmacy marketing initiatives can fail to convey a meaningful message. However, the solution can be simple. Some owners may have someone on their staff with the requisite marketing savvy to create messages that appeal to specific demographic segments (e.g., new mothers, senior citizens) and that highlight the impactful services (e.g., delivery, flu shots) while other owners may outsource the job to an expert.
Regardless, if executed correctly, your marketing efforts should pay for themselves and then some.
3. Technology fosters new clinical services that grow revenue
Over the last decade, several technologies have sprung up that are specifically designed to support pharmacies in delivering enhanced clinical services, as well as to help expand the range of customer service provided.
For example, Tabula Rasa HealthCare’s MedWise® Science utilizes cutting-edge technology combined with extensive clinical research to identify adverse drug reactions (ADEs) to help improve medication safety and patient outcomes. By going well beyond drug-to-drug interactions, the software looks at the entire list of a patient’s medications to provide a risk level that allows staff to quickly and easily identify those patients who are at high risk for experiencing an ADE.
Then, equipped with this information, pharmacists can intervene by recruiting these patients for a MedWise Safety Review™, a one-on-one consultation where the patient can receive risk-mitigating recommendations from a medication expert. The MedWise Science not only creates additional revenue opportunities for the pharmacy, but it also quite literally can save patient lives.
By understanding and appreciating the importance of the pharmacist’s role on the care team, marketing that role, and leveraging technology to deliver enhanced patient-care, the future of independent pharmacy will only continue to get brighter.
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- Kneeland, Bruce. “Three Trends That Point to a Bright Future of Independent Pharmacy.” Rx Influencer Magazine, December 2021