Expanding into a new niche or offering a new program is a great way to differentiate yourself from national chain pharmacies in your area, increase sales, and ultimately grow your pharmacy business. Both chain and independent pharmacies all over the country are adding immunizations to their list of services, however running a successful program goes far beyond simply putting vaccinations on the menu. One of the biggest reasons independent pharmacy owners don’t already have an immunization program in place is a lack of time and commitment to get started.
If this sounds familiar, here are six important steps every pharmacy owner should consider before starting a successful immunization program.
1. Determine if there’s a need
One of the first steps you should take before implementing any new program in your pharmacy is to determine if there’s a need for immunizations in your community. People of all age groups need immunizations, and people are always looking for a more convenient way to get their vaccines.
It’s important that you spend time doing research to see what other pharmacies in your area offer. Talk to your customers, and find out where they get their immunizations now. Talk to them about the possibility of offering immunization services in your pharmacy, and ask them about their opinions, what else they’d like to see, and when.
2. Know your state’s policy
Every state has regulations in regards to vaccinations pharmacists can deliver. Before you start an immunization program, be sure to check with your state’s board of pharmacy to see what vaccinations your pharmacy may administer and if there are any limitations.
3. Get certified
Proper training and certification are essential to a successful pharmacy immunization program. In order to get your pharmacy immunization license, any pharmacist who will be giving immunizations will need to attend training courses. These are often provided by a local school of pharmacy or by your state’s pharmacy association. Many of the training courses require a valid CPR card in order to complete certification, so consider taking a CPR class through the American Red Cross.
4. Market your program
Once your immunization program is in place, it’s time to start marketing your new program! Post signs throughout your store, tell your customers about it when they pick up their prescriptions, post on social media, notify local news outlets, and more. Consider calling local businesses such as churches, schools, banks, and fitness centers that might benefit from your new immunization program.
5. Administer the vaccine
So you can reach as many people as possible, consider expanding your immunization services to the off-site clinics. Remember those local businesses you called when marketing your program? Consider asking them about setting up an off-site clinic at their business. Off-site clinics offer a convenient and accessible way for people to get their vaccines. Besides, they’re great for reaching out to more people in your community.
6. Partner with other providers
One of the best ways to improve your community’s health and to increase immunization rates is to partner with other healthcare professionals and groups. The team approach is a great way to promote the importance of vaccinations, plus it offers an opportunity to connect with other healthcare providers and potential customers.
Thinking about implementing a new program in your pharmacy but not sure where to start? Download our free eBook, The Pharmacy Owner’s Guide to Exceptionally Effective Implementation and get the nuts and bolts of a successful program launch!