March 9, 2017
As baby boomers age, they’re looking to home health care as a way to continue living comfortably at home.
This presents an opportunity for independent community pharmacies to enter a new, increasingly profitable market.
By 2040, the number of adults age 65 and over is projected to reach more than 82 million, making up more than 21 percent of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Administration on Aging (AOA).
An aging population means more Americans will require products and services to meet a complex set of health demands. But the needs of older adults today differ from what health care providers are used to seeing.
Not only are adults living longer, they also have an increasing desire to stay in their homes longer. This means they’ll require a larger variety of products and equipment to meet their daily living needs.
Independent community pharmacies can help meet the needs of these individuals and boost their businesses’ bottom lines by expanding their product offerings.
Take a look at how your pharmacy can become a one-stop shop for aging adults who require assistance at home.
Because patients are living longer and are staying at home more, they need the appropriate products to help them live functional lives.
Additionally, older adults discharged from the hospital need assistance in transitioning from the hospital to the home setting. Many may need help with the basic activities of daily living (ADL), such as mobility, bathing, dressing and eating.
Independent community pharmacies can carry the products and equipment these patients will need, and pharmacists can also counsel patients on how to use those products and ensure they receive the best care possible.
Products and equipment pharmacies can consider carrying include:
The market for home health care items is growing rapidly.
It’s estimated that about 70 percent of older adults will need some form of long-term care, the majority of which is provided in the home, according to a 2014 report by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.
And, individuals are looking for easy ways to access the items they need to facilitate this care.
By offering DME and other home care products at your pharmacy, patients can avoid the hassle of making multiple stops to obtain all of their home health care needs.
Examples of how your pharmacy can be a one-stop shop:
Being a one-stop shop puts your independent community pharmacy in a unique—and profitable—position, allowing you to attract new patients, sell additional products and increase your bottom line.
But you can’t just add additional home health care products to your pharmacy without overcoming some challenges.
The most common challenges pharmacies can expect include:
Stocking home health care products can take up a lot of space in your front end, especially if space in your pharmacy’s retail area is already limited. It can be difficult to devote valuable shelf space to these items when they only apply to certain patients, and are sometimes slow-turning.
Solution: Stock fast-moving items that take up less space, and offer additional products online.
Pharmacies face heavy competition for home health care products from other retail pharmacies, big box stores, home improvement stores and e-commerce websites.
Solution: Create a strategy that makes sense for your pharmacy—and your community. Choose the right assortment of products to meet the needs of the patients’ and caregivers’ who are already using your pharmacy.
Carry a few products from each category, such as mobility, bath safety and daily living aids. Make sure pharmacists are available to discuss the different products with patients and to help them choose the right product for their particular situation.
3. Getting the word out
If current and potential patients don’t know that you stock home health care products or that your pharmacists are available to assist them, then they won’t frequent your business.
Solution: Develop a successful marketing strategy to spread the word about your pharmacy’s selection of home health care equipment. Access older adults in your area through flyers, postcards, email campaigns or social media channels.
While independent community pharmacies need to be wary of the obstacles that exist, overcoming them can lead to successfully helping aging patients and an increase in revenue that’s much needed in today’s market.
More patients need help transitioning from the hospital to the home. Learn how transitions of care provide an untapped retail market for your pharmacy.