June 15, 2018
Inside: Discover how one independent community pharmacist empowers patients—and powers her business—with a unique weight loss program.
If one word could sum up Medicap Pharmacy in Owasso, Okla., it’s empowerment.
Even though Dr. Kathy Campbell, Owner of Medicap Pharmacy, is a Pharm.D. with 26 years of experience, she focuses her pharmacy less on prescriptions and more on prevention.
“I want my pharmacy to be a place where people come to not need medication,” Campbell said. “I use my talents and skill sets and resources to support people having the health they want to live the life they want.”
Campbell’s desire for her patients to not rely on medication guides every patient encounter and every business decision. When wellness requires medication, she’ll maximize outcomes with her pharmacology expertise. But ultimately, she helps her patients live healthy lives through a whole health approach.
“I’ve never been the kind of pharmacist where I felt the pill was the only way,” she said. “To me, pharmaceuticals are a tool in the toolbox. I started using other tools to empower people to take charge of their health and well-being.”
She started offering consultation appointments years ago, where she consults with patients on their health and their medications. “I think that’s very unique in that people hire me to talk about their health and well-being and their medications.”
She charges for this service and she thinks other pharmacists should too. “We’ve relied too much on that single product entity called the prescription for our revenue, for our identity,” she said.
She also earns revenue by selling nutraceuticals and offering educational seminars on health topics, including her most popular seminar on hormone balance.
But her major tool of empowerment—and profit—is her unique weight loss program.
The program spans 12 weeks and includes:
Through the process, Campbell provides health coaching tailored to each patient.
“I actually utilize my unique skillset as a pharmacist to impact the biochemistry. I tell my patients that it isn’t about me figuring it out, it’s about us figuring out your machine,” she said. “My intention is basically empowering people on the basis of lifestyle approach that will support their health and well-being forever.”
The idea sprang from what she was already trying to do in diabetes prevention and reversal, which also focused on a whole health approach. Patients weren’t responding to that, so she created a new program with the same concepts and branded it as a weight loss program.
In the two and a half years she’s offered the program, Campbell has enrolled nearly 200 patients. And from a health perspective, it’s been a success. Many patients have seen dramatic reductions in A1C levels, LDL cholesterol, and weight loss of up to 90 pounds.
“I have a lady who’s been losing weight, about 12 pounds in a month,” Campbell said. “She came in with full body neuropathy, and that’s gone.”
Campbell has also seen a healthy boost in her business. Patients pay for the program out-of-pocket, so she doesn’t have to worry about third party reimbursements. “From a financial standpoint, it’s been a product that’s really helped with cash flow at a time when cash flow has been basically turned off at the spigot by the PBMs,” she said. “This is a way for me to generate a different product to sell.” The program costs patients $499 down and $99 per month.
More importantly to Campbell, the program has enabled her to brand her pharmacy as a partner in health rather than a remedy for disease, which she says is a major problem for pharmacy.
“If you think about it, where do you go to get healthy? Nobody thinks of a pharmacy,” she said. “I want to change that. Getting out from behind that counter, talking to patients, sitting down with patients, having seminars, educating people, getting it on Facebook, whatever we can do to brand ‘pharmacists make a difference in your health,’ I think is key for our profession going forward.”
For independent pharmacies looking to get into the $65 billion weight loss industry, Campbell said the key is marketing. “The weight loss program is not that different from what I would have done for anybody, any time,” she said. “But it was packaged and marketed differently.”
Even if you have to outsource your marketing, as she does, it’s worth the investment. “As independents, we wear way too many hats and we’re not good at half of them,” she said. “We don’t have a lot of resources, so we tend to do a moderately mediocre job at something that really needs to be done well.”
Finally, if you decide to start a weight loss program, expect challenges. “It’s going to be very uncomfortable when you start something new,” she said. “Stay committed, stay engaged with the patient. I think it’s that therapeutic relationship that is ultimately going to keep us valid.”
Learn more about Campbell’s weight loss program.
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