Diversifying Services in Your Pharmacy

Times like these serve as perfect opportunities to discuss pharmacy service diversification. 

As the coronavirus

 disease 2019

 (COVID-19) hits record levels in many cities, pharmacists play an integral role supporting nationwide vaccinations. Times like these serve as perfect opportunities to discuss pharmacy service diversification. 

 

 

In community and independent pharmacies, additional services can make a positive impact on patients, particularly in smaller communities

 or city neighborhoods

. The pharmacist likely knows patients and their families as a part of that community. For these reasons

 and others

, independent pharmacies can and sho

uld be included as testing and 

vaccination sites, but also much more. 

While the main goal is

 always

 patient care, service diversification can 

drive sales growth and, in turn, 

increase top line revenue

 

Testing and Vaccinations

 

Following guidance from their state departments of health, s

ome independents 

are already delivering

 COVID-19

 virus

 testing

 and antibody testing

 as well as administering vaccines

. T

his opportunity can

 expand

 to

 other

 

diagnostic testing and vaccination services

 for

 common maladies (

e

.

g

.

 flu shots, strep throat testing). Offering these services in pharmacies improves

 convenience for patients

 (providing 

one 

1

 

stop for testing

 and

 script

 fills

)

.

 

 

 

Before offering these services, pharmacists should reach out to 

local 

area

 health care providers and d

etermine the best service options

 to support patients. They should also educate themselves on state guidelines to know which services or products are allowed through pharmacies in their state. 

 

Compounding Services

 

Some independent and community pharmacies have experienced great success with compounding services. 

From creams and health supplements to pet vitamins and treats, compounding is another reason for patients to visit the pharmacy for additional health and wellness needs. 

 

For example, compounding services support patients who have an intolerance or allergies to normally prescribed medications for their ailments.  

 

Educational Events

 

To help the public understand the features and benefits of wellness packs, supplements

,

 or natural remedies, s

ome pharmacies

 offer

 free virtual events or “lunch and learns

.

 

These events

 educate the community

 about preventative health care

 and nutrition. They can be a clear differentiator from chain pharmacies. 

 

Adherence Packaging  

 

Patients want convenience, but they also want to be sure that they and their loved ones are taking medications at the right time and in the right combination for long-term health benefits. 

 

Whether they are caring for children

, have

 chronic issues

 themselves

,

 or have older family members with memory challenges, community members rely on pharmacists to consult on how drugs interact

 and

 when they should be taken

.

On Demand: Use the Right Analytics to Unlock Value Beyond Prescription Reimbursements 

 

 

 

By investing in adherence packaging technologies, pharmacists can provide individually wrapped packets of medications for each dose

 –

 

with the date and time of dose right on the packets. 

The patient or caregiver simply opens that dose and has peace of mind that 

the 

medication is properly

 taken

. This is especially important for patients who take several medications a day, or who take medications in different combinations throughout the week. 

 

The benefits of adherence packaging evolve from patient requests, such as how people can combine their drug scripts with health supplements. These conversations can support the pharmacist with exploring options that best fit the community’s population, such as young families, active older adults, college students

,

 or all of the above. Pharmacists may even consider creating “wellness packs” branded under the pharmacy name. An immunity booster pack, for example, provides patient convenience while also building loyalty for the business. 

 

While the up-front equipment investment is substantial

 for the pharmacy

, it can be managed through lease-t

o-own or other financing and accounting

 strategies

 –

 

with great tax benefits, too.

 

Med Sync Services

 

Combining adherence packaging with

 med sync services

 (

e

.

g

.

 automated refills)

, scripts can be refilled and delivered to patients in a timely manner

, which supports

 patient convenience and

 more consistent revenue

. As a bonus, some independent and community pharmacies

 

now

 offer home delivery. They can invest in delivery vehicles branded to the pharmacy

, and then 

write off the expense through the

ir

 business

 tax returns

 

Service Diversification Benefits Independents

 

With increasing competition from big box pharmacies as well as non-pharmacy e-commerce retailers, service diversification can help community and independent pharmacies stay open and remain independent. Through community engagement, use of technology and exploring new ways to partner with physicians and other health practitioners, the phar

macist remains

 central to

 quality

 patient care.  

 

Bonnie Bond is a CPA and advisor for independent and community pharmacies at Sykes & Company. P.A.