10 Prescriptions for a Successful Independent Pharmacy

10 Prescriptions for a Successful Independent Pharmacy by Elements magazine | pbahealth.com

Just like a patient who has high blood pressure despite his efforts to exercise and eat healthy can benefit from a prescription drug, your pharmacy business could likely benefit from a little help.

The right business “prescriptions” can improve the success of your pharmacy. But to make them work, you have to commit to them, just like your patients have to commit to adhering to their medications.

Here are 10 prescriptions to follow to benefit your pharmacy.

1. Post on social media, at least once a day

Commit to posting fresh, relevant content on your pharmacy’s social media pages daily.

Share statistics, conduct polls among your followers, or write and share blog posts about upcoming events, new service offerings or other pharmacy news. New content will give your patients a reason to regularly check back in with your pharmacy’s Facebook or Twitter pages.

Not sure what to post on your social media pages? Never run out of content for your pharmacy’s social media pages with these ideas.

2. Get a marketing checkup, once a year

To operate at peak effectiveness, your pharmacy’s marketing plan needs a yearly review.

And, just like you would turn to a professional for your annual health checkup, you should hire an outside professional to conduct a yearly marketing review and evaluation of your pharmacy. During the marketing consultation, ask the professional to help you identify strengths and weaknesses.

For help with pharmacy marketing services, check out the variety of professional marketing services offered by PBA Health, a pharmacy services organization dedicated to independent community pharmacies.

3. Introduce yourself to a physician, once a month

Reaching out to physicians new to the area, or taking the time to reintroduce yourself to health care providers that you’ve lost touch with, can boost your referral business.

Reach out to these important partners at least once a month to keep a healthy stream of new patients coming to your pharmacy. You can let them know about an upcoming event that their patients might want to attend, and share information about any new services your pharmacy offers.

Take these opportunities to ask them about services, products or brands they would recommend to their patients, so you can stock those in your pharmacy. For example, a physician might have patients who are interested in learning how their genes interact with their prescriptions, but might be unable to offer genetic testing in their office. Attract those patients by offering pharmacogenetic testing in your pharmacy.

4. Read an article about industry news, once a week

It’s important to keep up-to-date with the latest industry news and events, so make sure you take time to catch up on the news at least once a week.

Find outlets that you trust and commit to reading the lasts news updates and articles about the industry and business of independent community pharmacy. You’ll learn about new challenges, such as direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees, and solutions for common pharmacy issues, like a way to turn expired drugs into credit for your pharmacy.

To have the latest industry news sent directly to you inbox, sign up to receive the free Elements e-newsletter.

5. Advocate for your profession, once a year

Pick an issue that matters to the success of your industry and your business and take time to promote the cause at least once a year.

Write a letter to a senator about Maximum Allowable Cost (MAC) transparency, or visit your state capitol to encourage your representative to expand Medicaid in your state.

You can learn more about the issues affecting independent community pharmacy, and find ways to advocate for your profession, by visiting the advocacy section of the National Community Pharmacists Association’s (NCPA) website.

6. Get to know patients personally, as often as possible

You pharmacy might already be well known for outstanding customer service, but going a step further and trying to cultivate a personal connection with each patient can create a deeper sense of loyalty to your pharmacy.

For example, make an effort to remember patients’ names and greet them with their name. Taking a moment to pause and greet them with a friendly “hello” when they pick up a prescription can create a more personal connection. It’s even better if you can remember a detail about their life and ask a question, such as asking about how their dog is doing or how their recent vacation was.

Cultivating these personal relationships should be a daily exercise for you and your staff, and the more you do it, the easier it will become.

7. Attend a conference, at least once a year

Attending a pharmacy conference has multiple benefits for you professionally and for your business.

At a conference, you can learn about the latest tools, resources and business solutions that industry vendors offer. Plus, you’ll get to network with other pharmacists, pharmacy owners and pharmacy mangers and hear from industry experts.

Find out what’s next for independent community pharmacy at the Next! PBA Health Conference & Business Seminar June 24-26, 2016 in Kansas City, Mo. The annual event sponsored by PBA Health, a pharmacy services organization dedicated to independent community pharmacy, is bringing in the experts, products and resources to help you move your business forward.

8. Reevaluate your buying contract and supplier relationships, at least once a year

You need to regularly check and evaluate your pharmacy’s buying contracts to ensure that you’re getting the best possible deal from your wholesalers.

Remember, your wholesaler contact is a relationship, so it should be mutually beneficial, and if your pharmacy’s needs aren’t being met, be ready to switch to a wholesaler or buying group that will help your pharmacy buy better.

If you want to ensure that you get the best deal possible when you renegotiate your wholesaler contracts, consider hiring the experts with ProfitGuard®. ProfitGuard helps get you the best overall cost of inventory by managing primary wholesaler negotiations.

ProfitGuard also provides proprietary purchasing tools that maximize wholesaler rebates and item-by-item savings automatically. ProfitGuard members have averaged between $70,800 and $212,400 in annual savings on their cost of goods.

“It’s the industry game changer for the independent pharmacy owner or operator,” says Huy Duong, owner of Dale’s Pharmacy in Colorado. “There’s nothing out there like it on the market.”

In the case that your primary wholesaler doesn’t have what you need, you’ll need a reliable secondary supplier waiting in the wings.

BuyLine®,  an NABP-accredited secondary supplier, offers a full line of brands, generics, OTCs, and controls at the lowest prices in the secondary market. In addition to having low list prices, BuyLine also rewards purchases with cash rebates and significant discounts on brands. Earn up to an additional 10% cash rebate on generics and up to WAC -4% on brand.

With online ordering and next-day shipping options, shopping with BuyLine is quick and convenient. There are absolutely no commitments with BuyLine — no fees, no contracts.

9. Work on front-end sales, at least once a month

Diversify your pharmacy’s revenue by focusing on expanding front-end sales.

In 2014, 92 percent of profit in independent community pharmacies came from prescription drugs, according to the 2015 edition of NCPA Digest. Due to shrinking reimbursement rates, pharmacies need to transition their revenue streams to rely more on other revenue streams, such as front-end sales.

Refresh your front end with local and natural products to attract new patients, or focus on making over-the-counter (OTC) recommendations to boost front-end sales. We have tons of ideas to keep your front end fresh and interesting year-round. Change up your displays and make adjustments to improve sales monthly.

10. Invest in value-added services to meet patients’ needs

Expand your pharmacy’s service offerings to help patients improve their health, while also billing for your services.

For example, offering a smoking cessation program can help patients quit smoking and improve their health, while also boosting your bottom line. And, offering diabetes management classes, can help newly diagnosed patients with diabetes understand and better manage their disease, while also increasing sales of supplementary diabetes products for your pharmacy.

If you need helping starting billable services in your pharmacy, check out the courses, support materials and services offered by Creative Pharmacist, a company that provides clinical pharmacy solutions designed to help pharmacies improve patient outcomes and find new revenue streams.

Implement the best practices of other independent community pharmacies to help make your business more successful.

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Elements is written and produced by PBA Health, a buy-side solutions company.

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