The advantages pharmacies provide for patients
Where is the value if a patient can walk into any pharmacy and leave with the SAME product and SAME information? What is the perceived value of your pharmacy to a patient?
According to a widely-held belief, pharmacists give patients products and information because that’s what they give them. From the patient’s perspective, the value of a pharmacy is placing an order and getting a reliable, timely product in return. What happens, though, if patients have the SAME experience everywhere they go? How do you set yourself out from the competition? We will never be able to compete on convenience, online platform, selection, speed, or even pricing because of the ongoing disruption in pharmacy and all of the retail. Observe price.
When pharmacists compete against one another, they:
- reduce dispensing fees
- waive co-pays
- lower drug costs below cost
However, success in the price game is never lasting. Someone will always be able to undercut you.
Loss leader medications and decreased dispensing fees are also risky strategies to use when negotiating with the government since they suggest that our services aren’t worth as much as the price we “negotiated” and that we wouldn’t “suffer” if our financing was cut.
We cannot keep concentrating our efforts on the products that the patient sees as having value. It’s time to overhaul the value proposition as a whole. If we don’t shift the focus from the product to the pharmacist, we run the risk of losing our customers to pharmacies that are ready to compete on price. It’s critical to comprehend what pharmacists do in order to shift value from product to pharmacist. Drug distribution, prescription verification, drug interactions, and counseling are the typical responsibilities of the pharmacist. But are only pharmacists capable of doing these tasks? Patients have expressed a desire to purchase medications online. In many instances, registered technicians can examine prescriptions.
This is a fact that Artificial intelligence is advancing in its ability to evaluate drug interactions and interactions between states of diseases and make recommendations. Additionally, a lot of patients look to Google for guidance and recommendations. Patients’ perceptions of their pharmacist’s worth are crucial to the future of pharmacy and pharmacists.
How can we influence how patients view the value of the pharmacist?
Engaging patients in their own care and utilizing our knowledge to enhance their quality of life are key components of the pharmacist’s worth. No matter how intelligent we are, how many certificates we hold, how many CEUs we take, or how many specialty licenses we hold… What’s in it for me? will always be the question on the patient’s mind.
When a patient can walk into any pharmacy with a prescription and leave with the exact same product and information, or when they can order it on their phone and have it delivered to their door, what makes them select your pharmacy over another one?
Instead of waiting to be asked, we must actively seek involvement. Patients are unsure about their needs. Patients who truly benefit from pharmacist care identify additional needs and services that should be offered. Outstanding patient engagement results in additional high-value services. Consider adjustments, renewals, prescriptions, shots, vaccines, specialty treatments, and medication reviews.
What distinguishes high-quality pharmacy care?
Develops and progresses over time
- Don’t try to solve every problem at once!
- Keep it patient-centered. Address their main concern first.
- If I don’t know what went on last time, how do I know what to do this time?
Requires consistent documentation
- Same location
- Same style?
- Everyone on board
- Expectation of follow-up
The beauty of this approach to practice is that it can be done by every pharmacist. You do not need prescribing authority or additional designations or education.
Best practices for maximizing the value of the pharmacist:
1. Consider your team from the standpoint of the patient.
What does that initial exchange with the patient look like?
Do patients feel taken care of? Reassured? been exposed to? Are patients appreciating working with your staff or vice versa?
2. Establish a documentation system
Utilize what you have at your disposal
Observe the patients.
3. Be dependable
“But we have so many pharmacists…”.
The team is key to consistency
teamwork and care
Hire people who will fit the pharmacy’s culture
When customers recognize the importance of your pharmacist’s care, loyalty develops.