Lindsay Constantino, president and cofounder of Centennial Pharmacy Services, an LTC pharmacy network, talks about how pharmacies can effectively market their services.
Long-term care (LTC) at-home, also known as medical at home, is a rapidly increasing market for pharmacies. Nearly 50% of independent pharmacies in the United States in 2020 provided some LTC services to their patients.1 The segment is only set to get much bigger, as the LTC population is expected to grow to 27 million patients by 2050.2
“Honestly, I could talk about it for days,” said Lindsay Constantino, president and cofounder of Centennial Pharmacy Services, an LTC pharmacy network. “I believe it’s the future of pharmacy.”
During a presentation at the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) 2023 Annual Convention and Expo, Constantino discussed how pharmacies can sell their LTC services by using key marketing strategies.3 “I absolutely love marketing,” she said.
LTC refers to a sector of pharmacy that supports patients who require long-term services in the community. These patients don’t live in an institutional setting and are mostly seniors or adults with disabilities. The service model is based on appointments, deliveries and clinical pharmacy services.
For independent pharmacies, knowing how to market LTC services is a crucial aspect of growing a good business. Building relationships with other providers is one of the most important things to do to get started. There are multiple ways to do this, including creating educational materials, maintaining an online presence, and hosting different events like lunch-and-learns.
Constantino said that focusing on integrated health systems or patient centered medical homes is her favorite because there are multiple providers there who interact with the patients, it’s not just a doctor or nurse. It can include other pharmacists, such as ambulatory care pharmacists, social workers, and case managers.
It’s also important to understand the pain points when talking to these providers so that you can explain how you can help solve them. Knowing how to talk in their language on topics like medication adherence, quality measures, value-based care, and medication safety is crucial to building relationships.
“Usually all of these people involved have typically seen the patient in some aspect or at least have some type of relationship with them,” Constantino said. “There's a lot more opportunity to be able to get somebody's attention.”
Staying in touch with providers through email marketing is one strategy, perhaps the best one, that Constantino likes to use. Email marketing allows for personalized communication that can help foster trust and loyalty. Pharmacists can also use emails to send appointment reminders, as well as medication refill alerts. Emails are also cost-effective and measurable, providing data on open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates.
The wide availability of different social media platforms out there today also represents a great way to market your LTC services. Social media provides a platform to engage with not only other providers, but also the community. Interacting with various customers, sharing health tips, and addressing questions can strengthen your relationships with patients. Pharmacists can also use targeted advertising on social media, which provides another great way to track your marketing efforts.
“I talked to pharmacies who find the ROI on this to be absolutely incredible,” Constantino said. “ I think that if you are someone who likes putting themselves out there and feels like they have enough time to create a true social platform, this can be an extremely effective way to market for pharmacies.”
Constantino also elaborated on the importance of keeping collaborative relationships open. This can be done with open and honest communication between all team members, making time for regular feedback, sharing goals, making collective decisions in the care plan, and having mutual respect for each other.
“Once you get into the offices and you're able to meet those providers and build a relationship with them, you really want to make sure that you are continuing that relationship,” Constantino said. “If you keep open communication, if you accept the regular feedback, you can really build some good relationships.”
Besides building relationships, make sure to stay ahead of the curve when thinking of different things to do for your business. No one wants to be the last one to jump on the bandwagon. So, don’t wait for other pharmacies to start implementing services before you decide to start doing it at your store too.
“You want to be first to your market,” Constantino said. “You want to be the first one who's working with providers. You want to be the first one who's offering this to patients, because once everybody's doing it, you're not going to be able to differentiate yourself.”