There’s been incredible turbulence in the healthcare world in recent years, and this has proven especially true in the pharmaceutical sector. Much of this instability has been fueled by changing federal and state regulations and laws impacting the industry.
Although running an independent pharmacy has become more challenging in recent years, it also remains one of the largest industries globally. In 2019 alone, the pharmaceutical industry generated $1.25 trillion worldwide. Yet, 12 percent of pharmacies closed between 2009 and 2015.
How do you safeguard your independent pharmacy against increasing pressure and disruption, especially in the age of Amazon? Keep reading for ways to gain and keep a competitive edge as a community pharmacist.
The Biggest Challenges Facing the Community Pharmacist
There may be trillions wrapped up in pharma, but the smallest competitors are still facing an uphill battle. Why? A perfect storm of decreased reimbursement from payers, convenience offerings from box stores (e.g., Target, Walmart, Amazon, etc.), and indirect and direct remuneration fees.
Changing consumer behaviors are impacting how pharmacies do business. There’s an increased emphasis on convenience. Other significant factors to consider include advances in technology, and business model competition and disruptions from companies in emerging economies. Obvious examples of this are Amazon’s continued foray into the pharmaceutical sector. Or UnitedHealth and Walmart’s latest collaboration.
How can pharmacies stay competitive in this environment? By embracing future trends while addressing their patients’ needs. For example, customers don’t want to wait in long lines at the pharmacy, and they don’t want to make multiple trips. Yet, they still crave a personalized, patient-centric experience, which your independent pharmacy is uniquely positioned to provide.
Take a Patient-Centric Approach
Amazon and Walmart may offer plenty of convenience to consumers, but that doesn’t outweigh their impersonal natures. Fortunately, independent pharmacies are well-positioned to fill this void. How can you leverage this to stay competitive? By offering personalized services.
The reimbursement model continues to move toward value-based care, comprehensive medical reviews, and medication therapy management. These are areas where the big box stores just can’t compete. For example, patients juggling multiple conditions or prescriptions from more than one physician are often willing to pay for a comprehensive medication review.
As an independent pharmacist, your knowledge of potential contraindications between medications is often more insightful than physicians in different specialties. Use this to your advantage to provide patient-centric care, earning customer loyalty and developing new sources of revenue along the way.
Enhance Your Operational Efficiency With Technology
There’s no mistaking it. The world is being reshaped, day in and day out, by new technologies. If you don’t stay agile when it comes to operations at your pharmacy, it’s easy to fall behind.
One of the biggest ways that major chains are attempting to attract new pharmacy customers is through convenience technologies. They’re relying on interactive tech and new apps to enhance the efficiency of their pharmacy operations.
How can you compete with this strategy? By finding ways to enhance your operational efficiency through technology. This means utilizing software to fit your facility’s needs. That way, you can improve efficiency, keep customers out of long waiting lines, and streamline your marketing efforts.
While your pharmacy may not have millions to invest in new apps, you can still find ways to use technology to your advantage. Coupled with a friendly smile, personalized service, and attention to detail, this combo is tough to beat … even for big-name brands.
Address Gaps in the Healthcare System Cycle
Gaps in the healthcare system cycle often leave patients out in the figurative cold, especially when it comes to conditions like diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy impacts millions of Americans each year.
The result of damage to the peripheral nerve system, 50 percent of diabetic patients will develop this condition. That’s millions of Americans annually. Complications of peripheral neuropathy include decreased independence, loss of driver’s license, sleep interruptions, slow-to-heal infections, and amputations. Despite its potential severity, the condition remains underdiagnosed.
But you can fill a vital role for your customers, identifying ideal patients and enrolling them in a proven test-to-treat program. You know which patients are taking pregabalin or gabapentin for the treatment of peripheral neuropathy, and you also know which patients are struggling with diabetes. Your pharmacy can provide the bridge patients need to avoid falling through the cracks while adding lucrative value-added services.
Competing as a Community Pharmacist
You may not feel too keen about Jeff Bezos at the moment. But his advice remains the standard for today’s community pharmacist. “What we need to do is always lean into the future; when the world changes around you and when it changes against you … you have to lean into that.”
One of the best ways to lean into these changes is by finding ways to better address the needs of your current customers. After all, repeat customers spend approximately 67 percent more per transaction than first-time customers. That’s where we come into play.
How many diabetic patients walk through the doors of your pharmacy each and every day? Are you taking these opportunities to help them manage common health conditions that go underdiagnosed, like peripheral neuropathy? If not, you’re missing out on critical opportunities to ramp up revenues while filling significant gaps in the healthcare cycle.
We Want to Partner With You
Business starts with relationship, and that means getting to know your patients better so that you can help them stay independent and active longer. We want to partner with your practice to get the word out about peripheral neuropathy and its successful management.
Neuropacalm is a cash, at-home neuropathy program, provided to patients solely by medical professionals. Ready to find out more about offering this value-added service? Contact us today to discuss bringing it to your pharmacy or clinic.