Building Strong Partnerships with Providers

As an independent pharmacist, did you know you can be an important business partner? If you know how to promote yourself to healthcare providers and are willing and able to grow the relationships, you’re on your way. Here are some ideas to help build the strong partnerships you covet.

Start by identifying the providers who can benefit the most from your pharmacy’s services. Remember that some physicians may be unaware of the full scope of your capabilities.

Promote the value your pharmacy offers, and implement a marketing plan that you can share with a provider. If you’re unsure how to find providers who could benefit from your services, start by identifying those who would make great partners. Remember that providers don’t have to be physicians. They can be dentists, nurse practitioners, and any other licensed clinicians able to prescribe medications under the law in each state.

List potential candidates and categorize them by distance from your pharmacy; their medical specialty; and the number of prescriptions written each month. Find out the pharmacy’s current share and potential share of those prescriptions.

Tailor your pitch to the specific needs of each provider, and align your pharmacy’s solutions with their challenges. Learn what is most valuable to them (i.e. services, knowledge, experience, etc.). You may have a provider who cares for patients with complicated medical needs. Their priorities may solely focus on high-risk management, medication adherence and synchronization, or home delivery. Showing that you’re focused on their needs can jumpstart a mutually beneficial relationship.

Keeping a collaborative pharmacist-doctor relationship increases patient satisfaction with their care. So, stay on top of improving the doctor-pharmacist partnership by following these four steps:

Keep the Communication Lines Open

After a doctor’s appointment, patients often head straight to your pharmacy to pick up their prescriptions. It’s during this time that you may find discrepancies in treatment, whether it’s potential drug interactions or possible issues with the medication itself. It’s not always easy reaching the prescribing physician, so it all falls on you to figure out how to dispense the questionable drug. Try to come up with a system with the doctor ahead of time to promptly discuss any issues that may pop up.

Clarify Specific Roles and Updates in Care

Misunderstandings sometimes arise because physicians don’t understand what pharmacists can do. This is why it’s so important to interact regularly with providers. Educate providers by holding a discussion or seminar on medication therapy management. Attending a seminar hosted by physicians on disease management and other patient-care issues will provide you education as well as a chance to interact with physicians on a regular basis.

Stay Level-Headed and Logical

When dealing with a resistant or upset doctor, don’t take it personally. If a doctor thinks you’re overstepping your role as a pharmacist, stay level-headed in the argument. Simply present the basis of your argument clearly with supporting evidence as needed. You may encounter a doctor who won’t budge, and that’s okay. Just use your clinical judgment and refuse to fill a prescription that you’re uncomfortable with. In most cases, doctors will listen and are happy that you found an issue with a treatment they might’ve overlooked.

Patients Come First

All healthcare professionals have a goal of providing the best patient care possible, including you. Patients always come first, no matter what issues arise. Is a physician acting immoral or negligent? You’re not obligated to approve or dispense a prescription. Report the prescribing physician to the medical board if the patient’s safety may be at risk.

Pharmacists are already being integrated into healthcare teams in clinics and hospitals, so you are in an ideal position to treat patients. With a more collaborative care model, you can reduce the patient burden on doctors through increased communication. With the ease of access to pharmacists, patients may prefer discussing their health issues with you instead.

A Member-Owned Company Serving Independent Pharmacies

PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy-side of their business. Founded and owned by pharmacists, PBA Health serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, wholesaler contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, and more.

An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited secondary wholesaler with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products — offering the lowest prices in the secondary market.

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

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