Challenging, ultra-competitive and just plain tough; one could argue that success in pharmacy has never been more difficult — especially for independents.
Although you may not see the numbers you’re used to from filling prescriptions nowadays, the outlook is positive. You are balancing the pressures of the market better than ever, you can adapt to the needs of the community much quicker than the average chain and you — a community pharmacy — provide more value to customers now than ever before. Regulation is changing and reimbursements may be slim, but you can also access reimbursements for services and activities you’ve never been paid for before (even though you’ve been participating in them all along).
How are you growing your business beyond traditional prescription sales? What’s your plan to improve the performance of your pharmacy?
In part one of a two-part series, we look at five different activities, services or solutions you can act on to maximize your pharmacy's potential.
1. Collaborative practice agreements
Let’s face it: pharmacists are an underused resource that can help improve patient outcomes within our healthcare delivery system. That’s where collaborative practices agreements come into play! They are used to create formal relationships between pharmacists and physicians (or providers) that allow for expanded services the pharmacist can provide to patients. Through pharmacy practice agreements, pharmacists can work to improve the quality of medication management and public health outcomes. For example, the pharmacy can set up an immunization program or provide MTM services to eligible Medicaid and Medicare Part D beneficiaries with chronic diseases — both of which can help maximize your pharmacy’s potential.
2. Retail telepharmacy
Have you been thinking about growing or expanding your pharmacy operation? If you’re interested in a cost-effective solution that can help you provide convenient pharmacy access for patients, look no further than telepharmacy. Retail telepharmacy is a safe and secure alternative to traditional pharmacy, plus it’s a great way to maximize your pharmacy’s performance. The collaborative staffing model allows you to make the best use of resources, create new jobs and expand your pharmacy footprint to serve new patients. And best of all: telepharmacy can help prevent independent community pharmacies from closing their doors.
Does one of your locations experience a low monthly prescription volume? Are you interested in expanding your pharmacy operation to better serve patients? Have you experienced financial difficulty in the pharmacy in the past few years? If you answered yes to any of these questions, telepharmacy may be right for you.
3. Point-of-care testing
Independent community pharmacies can earn additional revenue by expanding patient care services and offering point-of-care testing (where allowed by state-law), a convenient way to screen for infectious diseases. This type of test produces a rapid, reliable result to aid in diagnosis and patient monitoring. Point-of-care testing also helps improve access to care, patient education and health outcomes. It can help improve the prevention and treatment of diseases such as Strep A, Influenza, HIV and Hepatitis C. Pharmacists can also use point-of-care testing to screen for high cholesterol, diabetes, and liver disease or damage.
For more information on how to get started with point-of-care testing, visit the NACDS Education Portal.
4. Vaccination programs
“The number of people getting a flu shot at a pharmacy jumped from 3.2 million to 20.9 million between 2007 and 2013” - Vaccine, Volume 34, Issue 30, Kevin W. McConeghy, Coady Win
Newsflash: the flu vaccine is the best protection against influenza, and vaccinations are an easy way to boost revenue and improve population health. We may sound like we’re preaching to the choir, but if you don’t have an immunization program in your independent pharmacy, it’s time you create one. Immunizations and vaccinations are easy and quick for both you and the patient — it’s a win-win situation. You can schedule and promote immunization days early in the season, offer walk-ins anytime or hold on-site clinics at businesses if there’s enough people interested in receiving the vaccination.
For more information on how to make your pharmacy an immunization destination, check out these solutions.
5. Medication therapy management
As a pharmacist, delivering services through an MTM program allows you to showcase your clinical expertise and practice at the top of your degree. Many MTM interventions are things you already do for your patients, but documenting the results of those interventions can earn the pharmacy additional revenue while providing high-quality care. In 2014, MTM vendor, OutcomesMTM, a Cardinal Health company, saw 63% of all CMRs result in identification of a drug therapy problem. A study by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found that CMRs particularly benefited high-risk patients. Those with congestive heart failure (CHF) or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who received a CMR experienced “significant improvements in the quality of their drug regimens,” while those who did not incurred an average of ~$1,034 more in inpatient costs during the study period.”
Get more tips to maximize your pharmacy's potential by reading part two!
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