January 7, 2020
At the turn of the new year, your patients are probably tackling classic New Year’s resolutions like getting healthy, building better relationships, and staying on top of their finances.
You can do the same thing for your pharmacy. Take some time this week to reflect on the last year and then look ahead to what you want to accomplish in 2020. A good New Year’s resolution is in your control, has concrete steps associated with it, and is something you actually want to accomplish (not just something you think you should accomplish).
For ideas about how to apply New Year’s resolutions to your independent pharmacy, read on.
By targeting specific metrics as your New Year’s resolution, you’ll be able to see exactly how much you improve (and where you need to improve) throughout the year. Pay attention to these metrics to a better sense of your pharmacy’s financial health.
Prescriptions per Day
The 2019 NCPA Digest found that in 2018, the average independent pharmacy dispensed 161 prescriptions per day. How does your pharmacy stack up?
Set a goal for 2020 to increase the number of prescriptions you dispense per day. A moderate increase can have a big effect. If you aim to increase your prescriptions per day by 10, that can lead to as many as 3,650 more prescriptions in a year.
The key to filling more prescriptions is getting more people into your pharmacy. Try out some of these suggestions to get started.
If you noticed bottles gathering dust on shelves in 2019, you might want to aim to increase your inventory turnover in 2020.
You calculate inventory turnover by dividing the total amount of inventory on your balance sheet by the annualized cost of goods for inventory. If the number you come up with is less than 10, you have a problem.
In order to improve your inventory turnover in 2020, you may need to change your product offerings or do more to push upsells and impulse buys. You should also reassess your inventory management system so that you can keep the minimum inventory possible on hand.
Do you want to have more money to invest back into your business at the end of 2020? Start with these 15 surefire ways to increase independent pharmacy profit.
The main obstacle to profitability at the moment is that PBMs have taken pharmacies captive. Because dispensing medication reaps lower reimbursements than ever before, pharmacies should expand into services that provide lucrative margins.
The other way to boost profit in 2020 is to focus on improving your business on the buy side. Your inventory makes up your largest expense, which means savings on inventory can make up your largest improvement in profitability. This year, look to make more intentional and strategic purchasing decisions to maximize your wholesaler rebates, which could be the difference of $17,509 in profit every month for the average pharmacy.
The new year is also a good time re-evaluate your current wholesaler contract. If you’ve been using the same wholesaler for years, you’re most certainly not getting the best deal. If you aren’t receiving bids from multiple wholesalers, you’ve taken competition out the equation, which is essential to drive down prices. If your buying group is tied to one wholesaler, you’re significantly limiting your profit opportunity. Do yourself a service by exploring other options rather than settling for what you’ve always done.
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Think about what you want to accomplish for your pharmacy through social media. Do you want to hit a certain number of followers or increase engagement?
While Facebook and Twitter require different approaches, you need to post frequently on both of them to be successful. Use a post scheduler like Hootsuite or Buffer to regularly remind patients that you’re available and accessible—both online and in the pharmacy.
Make your pharmacy more efficient in 2020 by adding automation. By purchasing an automated pharmacy robot, independent pharmacies have the potential to quadruple their business.
Because robotics can fill a significant portion of prescriptions, your workflow can be streamlined and your staff will have more time to devote to patients this year. Pharmacists can spend their day counseling patients or making recommendations instead of filling scripts, making patients feel more valued.
New patients are more likely to find out about your pharmacy on the internet than by word-of-mouth. And 90 percent of those potential new patients will read online reviews before they decide to fill their prescriptions with you.
That’s why in 2020, you need to make sure you have plenty of positive online reviews on sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp. When a patient thanks you or compliments pharmacy services, remind them that you’d love for them to share their positive thoughts online.
When you receive online reviews, respond to them—even if they aren’t completely positive. It shows new patients that you provide thoughtful customer service.
After a busy holiday shopping season, show your employees that you value them. Workers in healthcare are more likely to suffer from burnout than those in other industries, and giving a little extra care to your employees this year will help them stay on board for the long term.
Little things can help reduce stress among your employees. Encourage staff members to take breaks when they need them, and monitor workloads to make sure one employee is not shouldering more work than others.
In 2020, make it a point to check in with employees to see if they have everything they need to perform their job well.
In the battle for market share with big chains, a close relationship to your community is the biggest asset your independent pharmacy has.
Strive to make your pharmacy a destination for the residents of your town in 2020. It doesn’t have to just be the place they go to get their prescriptions filled or get health questions answered. It could also be where they come to buy school spirit gear or handicrafts by local artisans. Or, it could be known as the local business that sponsors their child’s sports team.
Adding a niche service in 2020 can increase your profits and draw in new patients. If you’re the first person in your area to adopt a new service or product line, you’ll become known for it and corner the market.
In order to set your new service or products up for success, look at both the needs of your community and larger trends in pharmacy. Then, when you commit, market your new service so patients know to take advantage of it. Potential new services include veterinary medicine, travel vaccinations, and more!
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The company is a member-owned organization that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.
PBA Health, an HDA member, operates its own VAWD-certified warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.
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