From outreach programs to point-of-care testing—and a solid online presence—here are a few ways to stand out from the crowd.
Every pharmacy wants to create a name for itself within their community. At the DiversifyRx Pharmacy Profit Summit, held August 3 and 4, 2023, in Dallas, Texas, Yasser Haykal, CEO of Inovia Pharmacy, gave a presentationon how to thrive in a crowded market, and what strategies will help satisfy customers to the point where they don’t even consider other pharmacy options.
Many pharmacies already utilize some sort of text messaging program, but in order to fully maximize this resource, they should understand who is receiving those texts, and cater the content to the recipients’ needs, Haykal said.
“When mass text messages are targeted towards someone specific like an age group or medical condition, there will be success. If you have the right message or action plan, then getting the results you're looking for is guaranteed.”
Specifically, Haykal mentioned therapy, age, health condition, and gender as areas that text messaging can focus on for a higher success and reply rate.
Making a name for your pharmacy in the point-of-care testing (POCT) space can lead to a much larger customer base, Haykal said. “You know, we start[ed] with just 1 patient testing for cholesterol per month, but then that patient starts coming back, and then after 6 months we [started to] see [ourselves] as the patient's basis. Then, you [can add] HbA1c [testing], and suddenly patients are coming to you specifically for testing [purposes].”
From cholesterol and HbA1c to COVID-19, strep throat, and the flu, POCT allows a pharmacy to utilizemore than its dispensing system capabilities.
Adding even more types of tests to your repertoire can turn your pharmacy into a testing destination, Haykal said. These additional tests can include saliva testing, blood spot testing, dried urine testing, and serum testing, tests that individuals may not even realize are available in pharmacy settings.
“We recently added CRP testing. It'svery simple, the patient comes in, you collect the sample, send it to the lab, and you get the results within four days in a very patient-friendly report.”
Immunization programs are one of the quickest and most efficient ways to integrate your pharmacy into the community it serves. One specific way to do that is to look out for the health and wellbeing of young people by reaching out to school systems and asking if they are interested in setting up an immunization clinic or program.
“I would definitely reach out to the school districts. This is probably untouched in your area; There is probably an opportunity this week” to start developing a partnership,Haykal explained.
On the topic of compounding, Haykal discussed his experiences with customers being willing to spend more if they know the treatment they are receiving will be effective and high-quality.
“Compounding is not a cheap option, but…people don’t mind paying for things if those things are good,” said Haykal while discussing the benefits of compounding prescriptions.
In a survey of conference attendees, over 70% of participants answered that they are “not happy” with their pharmacy’s online presence. Luckily, that’s not too difficult to change.
“When you examine the skill set of your staff…try to find people that know [how to do] these things, Haykal said.“ Evaluate their fit [and] don't just depend on yourself to these things. I always say, sometimes the best person to fire is yourself when it comes to certain situations.”