Your pharmacy is your business, your livelihood. The industry is evolving, and you need to evolve with it so you aren’t left behind. In this blog we will explore the shift, what the future of pharmacy looks like, and the easy way you can gain more control over your business and serve your patients better. The bottom line is you deserve to be paid for the services you are providing.
A Changing Industry
Our lives have been turned upside down by COVID-19. We are experiencing a new normal. Our healthcare industry especially, has been pushed to its limits. Beds are full, and the long-term concern is whether we will have enough healthcare professionals to provide essential care.
The US doctor shortage preceded the pandemic, but this situation has exposed the severity of it.
Independent pharmacists are positioned to play a more significant role in healthcare than they currently do. In fact, we are seeing evidence how essential pharmacists are as we navigate the COVID-19 situation. This evolution has the potential to help patients while impacting the entire healthcare system for the better. The fact is that pharmacies are the most convenient and accessible place for patients to receive the care they need. Our pharmacists are on the front lines of healthcare and deserve to be recognized as providers.
Take vaccinations for example. As pharmacists administer them, inoculation rates increase and the burden on hospitals and doctors decreases. Independents are more than just medication dispensing machines, they are healthcare providers with a depth of knowledge and the education to prove it. It is critical that we begin to expand their role to provider status. Pharmacy has transformed over the years and our communities need these front-line healthcare workers more than ever.
Why is the Future of Pharmacy Happening Now?
Frankly, it’s long overdue. In the last several years pharmacies have struggled – especially with the pressures of higher DIR fees, aggressive audits and other clawbacks. The typical pharmacy has somewhere between 90-97% of their revenue coming from the prescription part of their business, under the control of the PBMs, which means that they don’t control a majority of their revenue stream.
It is no longer sustainable to sit back and wait for things to change. The good news is that there is a way forward. Diversification allows pharmacy owners to take control by creating new revenue streams. By working at the top of their license, they can bring services to their pharmacy that will increase their bottom line. They will also provide accessible care, which will positively impact the healthcare industry overall.
Pharmacy Services to Help Patients and Your Bottom Line
Pharmacists have the means and the knowledge to provide healthcare services to patients. Think about the time you spend consulting with patients or administering immunizations, you should be compensated. But how? Implementing a Service-Based Pharmacy model allows for easy medical billing so pharmacists can get paid. It is the future of pharmacy.
The good news is that you don’t have to change your operations. Start small, within your current scope. That’s the low hanging fruit. That’s where you can see immediate results.
1 FLU SHOTS: Flu season will be here before we know it and the pharmacy is the most accessible place for your patients to get their shots.
The flu shot on a commercial plan averages $142. If you administer 50 shots, that’s $7,100*.
2 EDUCATIONAL CLASSES: Engage your patients and help them learn more about a topic that is top of mind for them (smoking cessation, weight loss, wellness). This is fully covered by insurance for in-network providers so most patients can attend at no cost.
Educational classes can range from $50 – $150/hr per patient. If you hold 3 classes a month for 15 patients each at an average of $100, that’s $4,500*.
3 15-MINUTE CONSULTATIONS: You are already spending time with your patients, you should be charging for your time. Whether it’s substance abuse or diabetes, you have an opportunity to formalize these consults and get paid.
Consultations average $142. If you have 20 consults a month, that is $2,840*.
*These examples are based on national averages, rates vary by plan and state.
Opportunity to Scale with Service-Based Pharmacy
While these are just a few things that are easy to implement, there are many opportunities to build upon this, when you’re ready. Whether you have a small pharmacy and are working the bench yourself, or you have multiple locations with several employees – you are able to scale the program to work within the framework you have already created. You don’t need to add extra work. You can bill for the pharmacy services you are already providing. No added work for added revenue? Yes, please!
Reduce reliance on PBMs – reduce your percentage of revenue that flows through a PBM.
Improve cash flow – increase your margins with high margin professional services revenue.
Add new revenue streams – get paid for the non-dispensing services you already provide.
Improve patient care – give your patients the care they deserve.
How does the Service-Based Pharmacy model work?
Service-Based Pharmacy is a turn-key program that provides pharmacies with the means to provide professional healthcare services. This model enables you to continue to provide excellent education and consulting to your patients AND get paid for it, outside of the PBMs influence. You can bill for the services you already provide directly to the medical insurance plans as an in-network credentialed provider.
- Get Credentialed. Become an in-network provider for Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial plans of your choice.
- Utilize an EHR. Get access to an easy-to-use, fully certified EHR platform for maintaining patient charts and clinical notes.
- Innovate. Continuously develop new ways to use the tools to improve patient care and monetize your services.
- Bill for Your Services. An easy-to-use platform makes medical billing simple and having access to an affordable complete do-it-for-you option can eliminate all billing challenges.
- Further Your Education. Learn to think like a provider, understand your scope of practice and be guided through the intricacies of medical plans.
- Implement. Get the training and coaching to evolve and bring services to life.
As we move into the next evolution of the healthcare industry and the future of pharmacy, you as pharmacists will undoubtedly make a difference in the lives of your patients. You went to school to perform at the top of your license and to help people. The future of pharmacy will allow you to do just that. Your pharmacy is likely already providing many services for patients and now you just need to set up the infrastructure so that you can perform at the top of your license and get paid for it.
Visit the PDS Service-Based Pharmacy page to learn more.