Pharmacies Can Leverage Clinical Opportunities to Diversify, Increase Revenue

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Pacience Edwards, PharmD, manager of compliance at Outcomes, discussed during a session at Outcomes 2024 SYNC National Conference several specific opportunities at the pharmacists disposal.

Independent pharmacies across the US are facing a variety of issues in the current health care and business landscape. From rising prescription drug costs to understaffing and burnout, the financial pressure on retail pharmacies is having a significant impact. However, by leveraging clinical opportunities, pharmacies can drive revenue in many different ways.

Pharmacist putting money into cash register / Krakenimages - stock.adobe.com

Pharmacist putting money into cash register / Krakenimages - stock.adobe.com

During the Outcomes 2024 SYNC National Conference, Pacience Edwards, PharmD, manager of compliance at Outcomes, discussed during a session titled “Go Beyond the Fill and Leverage Clinical Opportunities to Diversify Revenue” several specific opportunities at the pharmacists disposal that could help increase revenue.1

“Pharmacists are in a continual race for profitability,” Edwards said. “They’re kind of juggling all of [their] needs to complete dispensing, while also retaining [their] patients, aiming to improve adherence, meetings to complete clinical opportunities at the end of the day, and increasing efficiency so that [their] team can work smoothly. Currently, pharmacists face barriers when trying to form clinical programs because utilizing a single pharmacy to obtain a contract is very difficult.”

Expanding clinical interventions is a great way for independent pharmacies to begin increasing their revenue. Some examples of potential clinical interventions that pharmacies can utilize are meeting patient screening needs, disease-state specific controlling, polypharmacy, therapeutic interchange, opioid counseling, and member experience touchpoints. “One that is interesting, I think, is member experience touch point,” Edwards said. “Pharmacies have such a strong relationship with [their] patients. [They] know them so well compared to the doctor who only sees them once or twice per year.”

To understand the benefits of clinical interventions for independent pharmacies, Outcomes conducted a 2-month pilot study examining value-based interventions among a network of independent and small chain community pharmacies. There were 2 types of interventions utilized: gap in therapy for patients with diabetes that needed a statin, and adherence related interventions.

The pilot study found that over the 2 months, pharmacists completed 20% of adherence interventions, which resulted in significant clinical revenue earnings. There was $220,000 in clinical revenue passed on to pharmacies from Outcomes for completing the clinical interventions. Additionally, another pilot study in 2022 that lasted for 6 months resulted in $500,000 in clinical revenue for Outcomes pharmacies.

Implementing a year-long vaccination program is another way that pharmacies can increase revenue. There are a few different ways that pharmacies can expand their vaccine program, these include using state registry information and clinical guidelines to identify patients who are eligible and implementing the use of pre-screening forms which save both the pharmacy and patient time when patients come to receive a vaccine.

“One way to ensure that you're able to give vaccinations, depending on the state regulations, is the utilization of collaborative practice agreements,” Edwards said. “These are physician signed state specific agreements that delegate the authority from the physician to the pharmacist to provide a variety of clinical services. This can be utilized for not only vaccinations, but other services like public testing, or in some states a variety of screening opportunities.”

READ MORE: Pharmacy Technicians, Rural Areas Benefit From Expansion of Telepharmacy

Another service that can be provided by pharmacies is Medicare plan reviews. These can be utilized not only during annual enrollment, but also when patients turn 65. This service allows pharmacists and patients to compare plan options based on monthly premium, annual deductible, average drug cost, performance metrics, insurance networks, drug coverage, and Medicaid and Social Security support.

“There's huge amount of information that patients receive going into both of these seasons, whether it's their first time going into Medicare or annual enrollment period,” Edwards said. “It can be very confusing and difficult for them to establish and determine what they should select. But by utilizing the pharmacy, they can discuss all of their options, go through their goals, what is important to them, their medications, as well as to ensure that the plan they are selecting meets their needs and is the right choice for them.”

Reference
1. Edwards P. Go Beyond the Fill and Leverage Clinical Opportunities to Diversify Revenue. Presented at: Outcomes 2024 SYNC National Conference; February 22-24, 2024; Orlando, FL.
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