Patients Want Pharmacists to Be More Social Media Savvy

October 5, 2017

Your Patients want to hear from you! Are you getting the word out?

Half of Americans polled in a survey said that they currently follow their pharmacists on social media, and 42% said they would prefer their pharmacists were more active when it comes to using social media.

The 2017 Pharmacy Social Media Survey-conducted by Propeller Insights for PrescribeWellness, a cloud-based services company-revealed that when they’re looking for a pharmacy, 37% of Americans turn to Google, 18% use Facebook, and 34% rely on word of mouth.

When asked what qualities they value when it comes to choosing a pharmacy, here’s what respondents had to say:

  • Pharmacy that accepts their insurance or Medicare Part D plan: 57%

  • Competitive drug prices; 50%

  • Expanded store hours: 45%

  • Useful web site: 32%

Almost half (47%) of the respondents reported that their preferred social network for interacting with their pharmacist is Facebook, followed by Twitter (15%), and Instagram (12%). A third of Americans (34%) said that they are interested in their pharmacist’s website, and 25% revealed that they would be interested in an email newsletter.

Top benefits of following their pharmacist on social media included:

  • Deals and promotions: 58%

  • New offerings or services: 39%

  • Health-care news: 37%

  • Relevant news and tips about health and wellness: 37%

  • Seasonal vaccine reminders: 31%

The majority (92%) of the respondents said that they would listen to recommendations from their pharmacist about health education or advice, while more than 54% tended to buy or use a new product that their pharmacist recommended on social media.

Related article: Social Media, Store Websites, and the Pharmacist

Al Babbington, CEO of PrescribeWellness, told Drug Topics that social media is one more tool that pharmacists can use to go “beyond the fill,” connecting with patients outside of the pharmacy setting by offering useful advice, vaccination reminders, promotions, and other preventive care messages. “Our survey findings demonstrate that Americans welcome this connection and think of their community pharmacist as a valuable ally in their health and wellness," Babbington said.

Websites and apps for refills

According to the survey results, 62% of the respondents said that they use their pharmacy’s website. The website services they use the most include:

  • Refill requests: 61%

  • Online orders: 47%

  • Medication reminders: 29%

  • Medication list: 28%

  • Online appointments: 20%

  • Messages from their pharmacists: 19%

Forty percent of respondents said that their pharmacy has a mobile app. Forty-eight percent said that they use that app to place refill requests, 38% use it to receive refill reminders, and 38% use the app to place orders.

Local pharmacies preferred

In another survey, respondents preferred visiting local pharmacies rather than their doctor for many services. Most of the reasons were based on convenience. Top reasons included:

  • Their pharmacy is a “one stop shop” for many health and wellness needs: 26%

  • The local pharmacy is easier to get to than the doctor’s office: 24%

  • They get faster and friendlier service: 22%

  • Their pharmacist helps keep their medications in order: 19%

Finally, 21% of parents who responded to the survey said that they prefer visiting their local pharmacy because it is more convenient than the doctor’s office when they have the kids with them.