If we were to ask independent pharmacy owners what makes their pharmacy run, many might say their inventory, their customer service or their rock-solid team who keep the ship afloat. While all of those are true, the undercurrent at the heart of these statements is money. Make no bones about it, your cash balance dictates your ability to pay your team (and by extension, their families) and whether or not you shudder at the thought of paying your wholesaler bill.
A large part of understanding the science behind profitability is knowing how your money moves through your business. Once you understand how it works and what financial statements you need to review then you will know what to do to improve your cash balance. Money in the bank means that you have a safety net to see you through those industry forces that impact your pharmacy today, such as lower reimbursements, DIR fees and GER contracts.
As a pharmacy owner, you should be confident in your ability to:
- Pay your wholesaler on time, every time.
- Sleep at night knowing that your cash balance is on solid ground.
- Keep the fear of making payroll a thing of the past.
- Know how your money moves through your business.
If any of these statements hit home, read on for a few tips to get you on the track to financial freedom.
Better Outcomes, Better Profits
If you’re to increase your cash balance, you must understand that profitability follows great patient care. This is not something we tout as a feel-good story. We mean that if you look at your dispensing data to find where there are more effective therapeutic options for your patients which also offer higher reimbursements, this is a win-win for you and your patients.
Real-Life Application: One PDS member pharmacy consulted with their patients and prescribers to help their patients get the most effective drug available with their insurance. Without any changes to the total Rx volume, this pharmacy was able to increase their gross profit by $25,000 – all from one drug!
As you continue to analyze your data, you’ll start to
- Discover more profitable opportunities
- Increase your average margin dollars per prescription
- Earn more profits without filling more prescriptions
- Mitigate low-yield prescriptions
- Build trust as a thoughtful, dedicated healthcare advocate
PDS offers our members access to our proprietary platform, RxAnalytics, a tool that can help you revolutionize how you see patient care and profitability. Fill out the form to learn how you can get a pharmacy performance analysis to know whether RxAnalytics is the right place for you to start.
Synchronize Your Way to Money in the Bank
The foundation for a profitable, high-performing pharmacy is a solid medication synchronization program. Many pharmacies don’t implement this program correctly; therefore, don’t see the benefits of improved workflow, reduced expenses, scheduled staffing, improved adherence, and opportunities for healthy patient interventions.
There’s no magic involved. You don’t have to be a “special kind of owner” to achieve results that impact your profitability so you can rest easy knowing your cash balance is on solid ground. Besides the patient, workflow, prescriber, performance, and marketing impact you gain from implementing a successful synchronization program, the direct financial impact is undeniable.
Your synchronization program should be able to:
- Deliver more prescriptions per patient
- Lower expenses per prescription
- Improve inventory management
- Allow for more effective staffing
You’ll see all of these benefits in your financial statements, and the numbers don’t lie. PDS offers a comprehensive training to equip owners with the tools and knowledge they need to properly implement this program and synchronize their way to better financials.
Get the clarity you need to be sure that medication synchronization, and the PDS exclusive member program SyncRx, is the right place for you to start. Fill out the form to learn how to get started with a pharmacy performance analysis.
Understanding Your Money
In order to move from the unknown to the known, you have to understand the health of your finances. Stop worrying over how much money you have in the bank and start by creating a plan of attack. PDS is offering a pharmacy performance analysis from an experienced independent pharmacy owner. In this analysis, we’ll show you:
- A snapshot of your pharmacy’s performance in four key areas
- The eight KPIs you should measure
- The tools you need to move the needle
Take the next step to secure your financial freedom and leave the stress of making ends meet in the past.
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If you’ve ever rolled out a new program that involved a systems strategy or even a new process in your pharmacy, getting your team’s buy-in and commitment is crucial if the system will succeed.
Your team will be the ones who will put your ideas into practice, taking the policies and procedures that you have created for your business and turning them into a force for growth. Give them the tools they need to succeed by giving them an implementation strategy to get them on-board and aligned.
Give Your Team an Implementation Strategy
If you want to get your pharmacy team on-board with your decision, you should give them a business strategy of their own — a process that they can use to implement those changes without constant oversight. Here are three steps that you can take to motivate your employees:
Step 1: Give Them Instructions
Like many independent pharmacy owners, you work with your pharmacy team to complete the day-to-day tasks that come with running a business. Your employees rely on you for direction, guidance, and support as they fulfill their responsibilities — and that becomes even more apparent when you make a series of comprehensive changes to your pharmacy.
Those changes will have a significant impact on their attitude, performance, and career trajectory, so you must make sure that they have the information that they need to adapt. When you create a policy and procedures manual for your new system, they can follow the instructions that are laid out in your workbook without worrying about the implementation process.
Step 2: Give Them an Incentive
Change doesn’t come easily, and some of your employees will push back when you introduce your new systems strategy. At that point, it will be more important than ever for you to have a series of incentives that will motivate them to change their behavior. We recommend a combination of paid and unpaid rewards — including verbal praise, competitions with prizes, commission and bonus plans, and strategies like the uRock Rewards Program — to get your team to buy into your new vision for your pharmacy.
Step 3 – Give Them Your Time
When you roll out your new systems strategy, you need to make sure that you continue to talk to your employees about your goals for your business, their responsibilities, and the benefits that they will receive when the implementation process is complete. You can use team meetings to discuss their progress as a group, and one-on-one performance review sessions to go over their achievements and opportunities for improvement as they put your systems strategy into practice.
Are You Ready To Create A New Systems Strategy For Your Pharmacy?
Download our free, eBook Surefire Systems for Sustainable Growth, and you’ll have what you need to know why, when, where and how to implement a systems strategy for your pharmacy.
Click here or below to download today!
Here at PDS, we take pride in highlighting some of our incredible solutions partners. We know these companies have the potential to revolutionize pharmacies just like yours through their products and services. We’re excited to introduce RxSafe, read on for their sponsored blog post about adherence packaging services.
Lately, we’ve been talking with pharmacy owners from across the country who are not just surviving but thriving and expanding their businesses in today’s environment. They’re growing their patient base, boosting revenues and increasing profits, using one key strategy: adherence packaging services.
Here are three of their stories.
Starting from scratch
PDS member and Texas pharmacy owner Ben McNabb went from zero adherence patients in 2016 to more than 400 patients by the end of 2017. During that time, his pharmacy’s CMS “Star rating” went from three to five stars.
Ben was able to expand his pharmacy’s geographic reach from a 10-mile circle to a 50-mile circle, and increase his overall pharmacy revenue by 24 percent in the first 12 months.
How did he do it? He focused on new patient acquisition, and forged relationships with local home health agencies and physicians.
He advertised on Google and Facebook. He even ran local TV ads after Cowboys football games. It worked. For his achievements, McNabb was awarded the NPCA “Adherence Practitioner of the Year” award in 2018 by leveraging strip packaging automation.
For McNabb, it was simple math. His adherence packaging patients average 11 scripts per month. With an average margin of nearly $14 per script, he was able to bring in more than $150 per patient per month in profits, or about $1,300 per patient per year.
But what if margins at your pharmacy are smaller, or your patients don’t average 11 scripts per month? The math still works.
For example, let’s assume your average margin is only $10 per script. To keep the math simple, let’s say your adherence patients only average 10 scripts per month. That’s still $100 in profit, per patient, per month.
That means, with 10 new adherence patients, your drugstore would earn $1,000 per month in new profits. If you could add just 10 new patients per month, in three months, your new cash flow would more than cover the monthly lease on strip packaging automation. (30 patients x $10 average margin x 10 scripts per month = $3,000 per month). Put simply, with just 30 new adherence patients, you’re already cash-flow positive.
In the scenario above, by adding 100 adherence patients, you could achieve $10,000 per month in new profits, or $120,000 per year. With 200 patients, you’d reach $240,000 in new profits every year. With 400 patients, your new profits could climb to $480,000 annually.
“Adherence packaging has helped our business to be more profitable because we are maximizing reimbursements from Medicare plans, maximizing the number of prescriptions filled per patient per month, and capturing many new patients that have complex drug regimens,” says McNabb, pharmacist and owner of Love Oak Pharmacy in Eastland, Texas.
If you’re like McNabb was in 2016, and haven’t started an adherence program yet, don’t sweat it. Simply estimate the number of new patients you are likely to enroll in your pharmacy’s adherence program, multiply by your estimated number of scripts per patient, and average profit per script, and you can calculate how quickly you’ll get a return on investment with adherence packaging automation. For example, using NCPA averages for prescription margins, if you could add 15 new adherence patients per month, you could be cash ﬂow positive by your third month.
Moving from blister cards to strip packaging
When PDS member Kyle Lomax, pharmacist & owner at Southern Pharmacy, wanted to grow his adherence program, he realized that manually filling blister cards was a huge limitation.
“We were using a manual card-based system that was labor intensive,” Lomax explains. “We had reached capacity and needed automation to help us package adherence-based patients.”
Lomax purchased an adherence packaging system. Since then, he has improved productivity and also increased his pharmacy’s Star ratings.
“Using the automation versus card filling has cut down on our production time at least 50 percent,” Lomax says. “The visual inspection software included with the strip packaging system gives us the ability to verify packages very easily. The non-specific cartridges make it easy for us to change NDCs on the fly, and the small size in our retail environment has been a great fit for us.”
Based on NCPA averages, processing eight patients per day on a typical multi-dose blister card could cost your pharmacy $3,100+ per month. Using strip packaging automation, you could save $2,192 per month. Migrating from blister cards to a strip packaging system could triple your year-one adherence business, at no additional cost for labor and consumables, and you could achieve positive cash-flow in as little as two months.
Migrating from cassette-based to universal cartridges
Trey Crawford, a PDS member pharmacist who owns Diket’s Professional Drugs, started his adherence program in 2017, using a cassette-based strip packaging system.
“We were looking at our synchronization program and noticing that people were not getting their medications on time. When we looked at our Star ratings, we were seeing we were not where we wanted to be, and we saw adherence packaging as a way to get our adherence numbers where they should be.” Crawford says.
“Another reason that we decided to get a strip packager is because of PillPack. PillPack was bought by Amazon and we all know that Amazon is a real big player in the United States, and if you really want to compete with that giant, you have to be able to offer that for your patients so that you don't lose them,” Crawford explains.
Since purchasing the universal cartridge-based strip packaging system, Diket’s Drugs has been able to increase its trade area to a 50-mile circle, and has grown its adherence program to around 380 patients. With the new system, Crawford says he can run more than 50 completed jobs for adherence patients in one day, with 99.9 percent accuracy.
“The speed of the universal-based cartridge system is unbelievable,” says Crawford.
“There are no more trays that you have to load. No more cassettes. No more sending things off to get to another cassette because the NDC is incorrect. You have cartridges that you just pour the meds in and it makes life so much easier than what it used to be.”
If, like Crawford, you started with a cassette-based strip packager, please note: using universal cartridges means that you no longer have to store inventory in the adherence packager. Here’s how cash-flow could work for a pharmacy with 200 adherence patients, migrating from cassette-based automation. First, you could save as much as $80,000 to 100,000 by liquidating unnecessary inventory. Coupled with the improved speed of pharmacist veriﬁcation, higher capacity and lower cost of consumables, and taking advantage of Section 179 savings, you could achieve positive cash-flow your first month.
At the 2019 PDS Super-Conference, RxSafe announced the launch of RapidPakRx™ and the PakMyMeds Network. RapidPakRx is the first-ever system for adherence strip packaging designed specifically for retail pharmacies to fill a 30-day supply of multi-dose medications at the lowest possible cost. PakMyMeds Network is a new, no-hassle solution to connect independent pharmacy owners with local patients who want an easier way to take their medications.
Using sophisticated online and mobile ad networks, social media, and GeoMarketing, PakMyMeds Network will advertise -- in up to a 50-mile circle around participating pharmacies -- to patients who could benefit from improved medication adherence and/or are searching for adherence packaging services. Patients who opt-in will then be connected with a partner pharmacy in the PakMyMeds Network. PakMyMeds network is available—at no charge for the first 90 days--to any pharmacy that purchases a RapidPakRx.
To learn more about the RapidPakRx and PakMyMeds, visit rxsafe.com/pds.
Here at PDS, we take pride in highlighting some of our incredible solutions partners. We know these companies have the potential to revolutionize pharmacies just like yours through their products and services. We’re excited to introduce Heffernan Insurance Brokers Pharmacy Insurance, read on for their sponsored blog post about avoiding the top 10 pharmacy injury risks. This post was written by Steve Boone of Heffernan Insurance Brokers Pharmacy Insurance Practice.
Ask one hundred people on the street to name the five most dangerous jobs, and “pharmacist” probably won’t be on anyone’s list. But ask any pharmacist and they’ll tell you a pharmacy can be a very dangerous place to work, with injury risks running the gamut from biohazards to back strains. Effectively managing these risks is key to protecting your staff and your bottom line.
Here are the 10 biggest injury risks most pharmacists face and how to avoid them.
- Infection. One of your biggest risks is being in contact with sick patients who come into your pharmacy while sick with infectious diseases. Clean and disinfect work areas regularly. Wear protective gear such as masks and rubber gloves.
- Slips, trips, and falls. These are some of the leading causes of injury in almost every workplace, and pharmacies are no exception. Keep work areas free of clutter, install and maintain non-slip flooring, ensure you have adequate lighting, and educate your staff on good housekeeping procedures.
- Cuts and burns. Cuts can happen all too easily from sharp instruments, equipment, or broken glassware. Burns can happen when working with heat sealers and other equipment, as well as around electrical cords and appliances. Train your staff in safe work practices, require proper storage of tools, use protective clothing, and have a complete and easily accessible First Aid kit.
- Repetitive motion. Typing and clicking a computer mouse all day can cause shoulder, elbow, and wrist injuries. Reading and writing at a workstation for long periods can cause neck pain. Awkward sitting or standing postures can lead to fatigue, tissue damage, and irritation of tendons and muscles. Poor workstation design can cause overextension injuries. Help fend off these repetitive motion injuries with ergonomically designed workstations, tools that automate tasks, and adequate safety training.
- Fatigue. Pharmacists do a lot of standing and walking. Prolonged standing can cause fatigue, back pain, varicose veins, and other issues. Install anti-fatigue mats at fixed workstations, encourage the use of comfortable, closed-toed shoes with good support, and consider using stools to alternate between sitting and standing.
- Strains and sprains. Slipped discs, muscle aches, backaches, and even hemorrhoids can result from lifting heavy objects. Practice safe lifting techniques including getting assistance from a coworker, using assistive equipment such as a dolly, or wearing a back brace.
- Eye strain. Pharmacists stare at a computer screen for many hours on a typical day. Poor lighting, improper computer screen brightness settings, and poorly designed workstations can lead to eye strain, astigmatism, myopia, and migraine headaches.
- Chemical hazards. If you’re compounding drugs, you’re exposed to medication powder, liquid spills, and hazardous vapors. Have safe work procedures in place to handle spills and other mishaps involving harmful substances, and always wear protective gear including eye protection, gowns, and gloves.
- Biological hazards. Most pharmacies today offer flu shots and testing procedures that require skin piercings such as a glucose or cholesterol tests. This means exposure to blood and possibly other bodily fluids that can carry deadly bacteria and viruses. Be safe – always wear protective gear.
- Psychological hazards. Pharmacists often work long hours and deal with a heavy workload, and they’re also subject to abuse by customers or fellow employees. To help alleviate these stresses, review your management and scheduling policies, consider changes to your work environment, and educate your staff about violence awareness, avoidance, and de-escalation.
Managing these risks can keep your pharmacy safe, while protecting your bottom line from unnecessary medical and legal costs, workers’ compensation claims, and higher workers’ comp premiums.
Did you know you can also save as much as 10 percent on your workers’ comp premiums just by having a safety manual? To learn more, contact Steve Boone with the Heffernan Insurance Pharmacy Insurance division today.
About the Author:
Heffernan’s pharmacy-specific insurance program is perfect for the independent pharmacist looking for an experienced insurance broker who can offer a single source package that is tailored for their unique needs.
We offer comprehensive insurance for pharmacy coverage including:
- Broad Professional Pharmacist Liability Insurance
- Property Insurance
- Pharmacy Errors & Omissions / Malpractice / Druggist Liability Insurance
- Pharmacy BOP (Business Owner’s Policy)
- Lower Cost Option(s) for Rx Owners
- High Limits
Are you looking to increase your number of patient transactions? How about getting patients to take advantage of your unique products and services? The most straightforward and practical answer is to use the subtle art of sales.
There is often a negative association with the word ‘sales.’ Hearing the word ‘salesperson’ likely conjures up some particular images and ideas for most people. In the best light, they are of a typical salesperson, aggressive, pushy at one end, and ‘con-artist’ or manipulative at the other.
If you’re thinking that you’re ‘selling’ to your patients, frame it another way. The fact is that you’re doing a very important job in the community by helping them solve their health and wellness problems.
Imagine if your best friend tells you he’s struggling with a problem, and you have a solution, wouldn’t you speak up and say something about it?
If you have a product or service that can help others, it is your moral obligation as a healthcare provider to share it with them.
The rest of this post will cover how you can use Dr. Cialdini’s principles of persuasion to communicate new treatment options to your patients and increase sales.
Scarcity: Patients Love Limited-Time Deals (And Things They Have Less Of)
Leverage the emotional impact of FOMO (or the fear of missing out) to increase sales.
To apply this principle to your pharmacy business, offer limited-time deals for different audiences.
Scarce products and offers feel exclusive and valuable to consumers.
One way to showcase a limited time product is by placing it in a smaller end-cap area with signage that conveys urgency and scarcity.
When you’re discussing the product, highlight what they stand to lose by not taking action and speak to the specific issues the patient might be experiencing.
You can also experiment with offering exclusive perks reserved only for top customers. Once people realize that being a repeat customer comes with rewards, they’ll be more ready to act on purchases. In turn, you’ll increase revenue and often, your average transaction value as well.
Assure Your Patients You’re An Expert
Make sure you establish your credibility to your customers.
Why? Although we’ll never admit it, we want others to tell us exactly what to do. Especially by experts that we trust. You can do this by making recommendations, displaying your certifications where your patients can see them, and answering any questions your patients might have.
If you show that you and your team are trained experts, your patients will also be more willing to try new products or services that you recommend.
Offer events and classes that educate your patients, if you continually provide value around healthcare and wellness, your pharmacy will soon be known as a healthcare destination for the community.
People discuss excellent and awful experiences. If you’re providing great customer service, you can bet that you’ll start seeing the referrals come through the door. High patient satisfaction and experiences will ultimately drive more sales.
Consistency Is Key: Start With Small Commitments for Big Sales
When you’re selling something (especially if it’s a high-ticket item that people don’t buy on impulse), try to get your patient to commit to something small first.
As a pharmacy owner, this could be a free trial or samples of new products.
After they agree or “say yes” to you once, they’ll be more willing to “say yes” again to stay consistent with their previous action.
If you use this principle, you can break down many of the barriers your patients have when shopping, and over time, your patients will agree to bigger and more expensive recommendations.
The important thing to remember is to nurture your relationship with them and get several “yeses” first.
Influence at Work: Building a Better Pharmacy
Remember, using these principles to influence your patients isn’t wrong if you’re applying them ethically. Your mission as a healthcare professional is to help people who come to you with health and wellness challenges.
In fact, if you master ethical persuasion, you’ll be able to improve the lives of patients you wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.
PDS is proud to bring you the Annual Pharmacy Business Super-Conference with three days of actionable content. Independent doesn’t mean alone. Gain the knowledge and strategies shared by 1,600+ thriving pharmacy owners.
Owning an independent pharmacy is easy, said no one ever. This is why identifying unique strategies to grow your pharmacy and improve your bottom line is vital. So how do pharmacy owners do this? Owners can achieve this in many ways, two of which are by increasing the amount and frequency of pharmacy transactions, in addition to driving new patients to your business. While increasing volume isn’t the only way to grow your pharmacy (so many options!), it is one effective strategy. In this blog, we’ll highlight one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to drive new patients to your pharmacy, by building and maintaining strong relationships with prescribers and increasing patient referrals.
Read on to learn more about how to increase referral traffic from doctors and other health professionals in your area. Building and nurturing strong relationships with local physicians is critical to creating a steady flow of referrals and new patients.
Identify Prescription Sources
Pharmacy owners can easily identify which prescribers make up the bulk of their business. Leveraging this data allows owners to enhance the partnerships with prescribers that regularly send you patients. Pharmacy owners can also reach out to those who may benefit from the specific services offered by your pharmacy, but for some reason or another, aren’t sending referrals.
The role of the community pharmacist is expanding to include enhanced services such as annual wellness reviews, medication therapy management, pharmacogenomics, and other clinical services. The expansion allows for greater collaboration between prescribers and pharmacists. Treating the roles of pharmacist and prescriber as complementary is key to developing good working relationships and achieving the best patient outcomes.
3 Reasons Why Your Pharmacy Should Offer Annual Wellness Review Services
- Nurture Relationships with Physician Partners – Working in partnership with a physician for AWV is a great step to streamlining communication between the two offices. This will benefit your pharmacy when it comes to requesting medication switches as well as offering ancillary programs such as diabetic education and flu clinics.
- Greater Involvement in Patient Care – This is an opportunity to keep patient files up-t0-date and ensures you are offering the best standard of care. The face-time with patients allows for your team to ensure patients are following protocol and share information on new programs that would benefit patient outcomes.
- Grow or Start Your Medication Synchronization Program – Create a goal to educate and register your patients about the benefits of synchronization.
Give New Health Professionals in Your Area a Warm Welcome
Did a new pediatrician or nurse practitioner recently join your local health community? Introduce yourself as the local go-to pharmacy by sending them a personalized note or setting up a one-on-one lunch. Take the opportunity to see what they need and how you can help them meet the goals for their practice and their patients.
Lend your experience as a medical expert to help prescribers maintain medication adherence, and enhance their healthcare plan for the patient. Building trust with local health professionals and developing a relationship is beneficial for both parties as well as the patients you serve.
Build Relationships with the Entire Staff
The key to getting the doctor’s staff to recommend your pharmacy is by staying top of their mind. You can do this by engaging the doctor’s entire team. That includes the medical assistants, nurses, receptionists — everyone!
- Send a handwritten note, flowers, or tasty goodies on the appropriate health care appreciation day to show your gratitude. Assisted Living Week begins September 12th and Physician Assistants Week begins October 6. When you give people gifts, they’ll feel obliged to provide you with something in return. Dr. Cialdini calls this the “rule of reciprocity.” In this case, you’re positioning your pharmacy to be top of mind when they want to refer a customer.
- Stop by the clinic on a regular basis to chat with the staff. The key is to be likable and bring value to the conversation. Don’t be afraid to offer genuine compliments or share something personal about yourself. Look for similarities and point them out to build connections. Bringing pharmacy news, coupons, or samples of new products and services can go a long way.
- Invite the local health professional community to your pharmacy for a quarterly, after-hours networking event. The goal is for them to meet your staff and learn about the services you provide. Make the event fun by wrapping the refreshments around a holiday or theme (February – chocolate; May – margaritas, etc.). You’ll have the health community looking forward to your events and referring patients to your pharmacy in no time!
Position Your Business as an Authority on Health and Wellness
One advantage independent pharmacies have over national chains is superior customer experience. Simply put, people talk about great experiences and bad experiences. If the patient is referred to your pharmacy and walks away having a great experience, they are going to share that with the prescriber, who will, in turn, refer more patients.
Take advantage of this by educating and informing your patients about services, programs, and philosophies on which you’ve built your independent pharmacy. When you give your customers (and prescribers) valuable information for free, your pharmacy is reinforcing its position as an authority in health and wellness.
You can talk about:
- Solutions to counteract drug-induced nutrient depletion issues.
- Where to get free calcium, kids vitamins (Pediatricians), prenatal vitamins (OB-GYN) and diabetic medications.
- Type II Diabetes and how to prevent it. You can even teach your customers how to cook healthy meals at home.
- Products that prevent sports injuries (Chiropractor).
- And much more…
When you help solve the patient’s problems, they’ll be more likely to accept your recommendations. If you start taking these steps today, you’ll notice doctors are more willing to refer customers to you. To maximize your pharmacy’s growth through referrals, you need to learn how to effectively and ethically persuade others.
PDS is proud to bring you the Annual Pharmacy Business Super-Conference with three days of actionable content. Independent doesn’t mean alone. Gain the knowledge and strategies shared by 1,600+ thriving pharmacy owners.
Here at PDS, we take pride in highlighting some of our incredible solutions partners. We know these companies have the potential to revolutionize pharmacies just like yours through their products and services. We’re excited to introduce Parata, read on for their sponsored blog post about how a true adherence program can benefit your pharmacy business.
Did you know medication nonadherence can cost the healthcare system as much as $300 billion dollars per year? This common problem affects all aspects of the healthcare community from the providers to the patients. The healthcare providers take a hit with penalties, pharmaceutical companies have increasing amounts of waste, and consumers incur unnecessary medical bills.
This is where independent pharmacies come in! Businesses and owners are in just the right spot to improve medication adherence. With Amazon’s recent acquisition of PillPack, the benefits to patients are obvious — they are healthier, and their medical costs are potentially decreased. But how can a true medication adherence program benefit independent pharmacy?
- Gain Customer Loyalty
An adherence program, like pouch packaging, helps to guarantee patients come to you for their refills. It becomes easy for the patient. A true adherence program builds trust — that means a patient does not have to worry if their medication is sorted or taken correctly. Eliminating common questions like, “Was I supposed to take that pill in both the morning and night?”, can be priceless for the patient. And by reducing the number of visits to the pharmacy per month from 5 to 1, you’ve helped them capture back more of their time. When a pharmacy can do that for a patient, the seeds of loyalty are planted.
- Experience less stress with better workflow
Since refills are scheduled, your pharmacy’s workflow becomes much more predictable. A predictable workflow translates into less stress. With his adherence program, pharmacist, PDS member, and pharmacy owner, Peter Wolfe, says the face of his pharmacy’s day-to-day has completely changed. “We stay about a week ahead, and we always know what’s up next. It eliminates stress, saves on inventory, and frees up time.”
- Cut down hospital admissions
Who can resist a greater good benefit like this? Fewer admissions due to nonadherence is better for the whole medical community as well as patients. When patients are adherent to their recommended medications, hospitals lower their risk of penalties in the form of reduced Medicare payments. As an added bonus for independent pharmacies, capturing patients with chronic conditions from referrals to hospitals is easier when you offer compliance packaging that works.
- Add OTC to your program
Packaging over the counter medications and supplements with prescriptions helps the patient take them as recommended, while also adding revenue for the pharmacy. Patients can mitigate vitamin depletion that some medications cause. Adding these items to pouches is an easy part of the packing workflow. Add simplified cross-selling that makes providing a complete solution to your patient easier.
- Earn the patient’s entire business
When patients are on a true adherence program, any prescriptions they may have gone to another pharmacy for are transferred to you. In addition to gaining those prescriptions, you also have a better picture of their medication regimen. This presents new opportunities to make appropriate interventions based on the whole picture.
Independent pharmacies can follow these five steps for a successful adherence program. We encourage you to work with the entire healthcare community to help pharmacies battle medication nonadherence on the front lines. Now is the time to think about how your pharmacy business and your patients can benefit from a fully functioning adherence program.
About the Author:
Parata Systems provides pharmacy technology solutions that empower pharmacists to help people lead healthier lives. Founded in 2001, Parata offers the most extensive pharmacy automation portfolio in the industry – designing, building, and supporting both vial-filling and pouch packaging solutions.
Here at PDS, we take pride in highlighting some of our incredible solutions partners. We know these companies have the potential to revolutionize pharmacies just like yours through their products and services. We’re excited to introduce RxSafe; read on for their sponsored blog post about a new approach towards inventory management.
Inventory is typically the largest asset in a pharmacy. Bottles on the shelf and vials in the refrigerator represent real money, cash just sitting there. For that reason, keeping inventory at an optimal level—not too much, not too little—is one of the best ways to ensure that your investment is being managed in the most efficient manner. If you can reduce your inventory without affecting customer service, it can free up cash that can be used for other money generating activities.
Reaching the Benchmark
One measure of a pharmacy’s inventory efficiency is to track how often the business ‘turns’ its inventory. According to America’s Pharmacist, May 2016, twelve inventory turns per year is often the benchmark for a well-run pharmacy. Inventory turns can be calculated by dividing the total annual cost of goods by average inventory value. But, capturing a current, accurate snapshot of this information is a moving target due to constant price changes and the need for frequent cycle counting which is tedious and often neglected.
Consider the case of Paw Paw Pharmacy in Paw Paw, Michigan. In 2016 they had a $50,000 decrease in inventory levels which totaled $80,000 in savings and their inventory turns increased by 6+ turns per year. What happened? Perpetual inventory management with accurate, automatic cycle counting—made possible by installing an RxSafe 1800.
Imagine a future where, on a daily basis, you could capture cost information for every NDC in your pharmacy, and track it to each bottle. On top of that, you could have item-level forecasting and item-level tracking, including historical cost data available on demand, 24/7. How much could you reduce your on-hand inventory, improving inventory turns and free up excess cash without the burden of frequent cycle counting? Wouldn’t that be a level of inventory management unheard of in the industry?
Welcome to the World of RxCloud Analytics
The latest innovation in RxSafe’s line of pharmacy automation technology is RxCloud Analytics™. Powered by Datarithm, it provides pharmacy owners using the RxSafe 1800 system with 24/7 cloud-based analytics. With RxCloud Analytics, your pharmacy can spend time and money on something other than inventory management.
This type of item-level cost tracking provides extremely accurate cost of inventory, as well as granularity about inventory valuation, which has never been possible before. Some RxSafe customers are already taking advantage of the data made available by the RxSafe/Datarithm partnership.
At Chris’ Pharmacy and Gifts, an independent pharmacy in Maruepas, La., owner Chris Williams, RPh, says, “RxSafe’s solution has been very valuable, especially for multiple stores. The program’s non-usage report will effectively indicate what medications we should send to our other locations or what medications to return to the wholesaler — as opposed to letting the medications sit on the shelf just waiting to expire.”
“When we began this partnership, our goal was to combine Datarithm’s sophisticated inventory modeling with RxSafe’s proven automated perpetual inventory accuracy, to eliminate cycle-counting, free up cash, and allow pharmacies to focus on their core business,” said William Holmes, President & CEO at RxSafe. “With RxCloud Analytics, we’ve done just that. What’s more, the combination of these two technologies has created a game-changing model that improves service delivery and profitability in pharmacy.”
RxCloud Analytics is available exclusively to customers that have qualifying pharmacy management systems. Currently, that includes ComputerRx, PioneerRx, and Rx30, and will soon include Liberty.
RxCloud Analytics is included with the purchase of an RxSafe 1800. We will be happy to set up an in-person or online demonstration of the RxSafe 1800. You can also check out the details here for more information and to view video testimonials from independent pharmacy owners currently using the RxSafe 1800 in their retail stores.
About the Author:
RxSafe is the leader in automated, high-density robotic storage and retrieval technologies for independent pharmacies. Our flagship RxSafe system enables pharmacies to take control of their inventory management, enhance patient safety, increase narcotics security, and improve profitability. RxSafe’s RapidPakRx adherence packaging technology enables pharmacies to custom package patient medications on demand. RapidPakRx produces multi-med pouches with unprecedented throughput, accuracy, and efficiency, as well as the lowest consumables cost in the industry. For more information, visit www.rxsafe.com. To stay connected, follow RxSafe on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
Here at PDS, we take pride in highlighting some of our incredible solutions partners. We know these companies have the potential to revolutionize pharmacies just like yours through their products and services. We’re excited to introduce LP3 Network; read on for their sponsored blog post about the benefits of blended learning in your pharmacy.
At some point in our educational careers, we have all found ourselves thinking:
- Is this really the most exciting way to learn something new?
- Is this an efficient way to learn?
With advances in instructional design and the implementation of blended learning concepts, continuing professional development is being reshaped and revitalized, allowing people to obtain the training they require in an exciting and stimulating manner.
What is Blended Learning?
Blended learning is a newly successful practice that involves a hybrid of traditional and practical methodology.
The world of compounding encompasses both new and experienced pharmacists/technicians, all of whom need initial and ongoing training to safely compound personalized medications for their patients. Unfortunately, the specialized knowledge required to compound is not taught in most pharmacy programs. For those who wish to learn more about pharmacy compounding, there are now solutions available that do not require tedious and uninvolved classroom-like courses.
The most engaging and effective way to learn is through hands-on experience. Especially in a profession like pharmaceutical compounding, the skills needed to create quality preparations are most readily obtained through real-life observations and demonstrations. In laboratory trainings, participants get the chance to prepare different dosage forms and work with innovative equipment in a compliant environment. Laboratory trainings are undoubtedly valuable; however, subject knowledge on the matter is vital as a prerequisite.
The optimal form of training is a combination of theoretical and practical methods — blending the two.
Using self-paced learning with an interactive live course, success and retention are optimized. Providing both the background knowledge and hands-on experience enables participants to successfully compound in their own pharmacy. This unique form of blended learning ensures that participants are fully briefed with the specific knowledge required prior to hands-on activities in a lab.
This hybrid teaching method is undoubtedly the ideal way to learn best practices and enhance competency retention, as it allows participants to absorb the material at their own pace through home studying, followed by training with subject-matter experts in a state-of-the-art compounding laboratory.
Next time you’re in the market to truly train your team or yourself on invaluable strategies that will grow your pharmacy, look out for ways to make learning fun and practical. You will not regret it! The ability to incorporate the wisdom gained through live event courses into a pharmacist’s everyday practice is invaluable. But more importantly, a hybrid learning experience brings excitement back into the curious minds of pharmacists.
About the Author:
At LP3 Network, the educational process is reinvented in engaging ways. With a vast spectrum of courses to choose from, participants can learn all the things they need to lead a successful compounding career. The style of courses vary to suit every person’s individual needs from:
- Home studies
- Live events (seminars and laboratory trainings)
Our courses allow pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to reinforce their theoretical knowledge and provide compounding pharmacists with concrete training that they can use in their everyday profession. This blended approach allows participants to choose when and where they want to learn more about compounding. With busy agendas, it is often difficult for participants to follow a rigorous course schedule. There are now many options for participants, affording them the opportunity to study at their own pace, and choose the learning methods that suit them best.
If you’re like many of the 16,000+ independent pharmacy owners in the nation, you went to the business school of life… which means that you didn’t go to business school at all. You rely on different sources from networking to online literature (like this blog!), business coaching and everything in between.
Fear not, weary warrior. We’re here to bring you a powerful, yet simple tool you can use with your team to uncover the next big opportunity your pharmacy can leverage.
We’re talking about a SWOT Analysis. If you have heard of this, you know that it’s more than it seems, if used correctly. When used thoroughly and thoughtfully, it can help identify your business’ strengths and weaknesses as well as any opportunities and threats that lie in wait to stall your growth. SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. As far as general business strategy, this handy little tool can be a starting point to open up major team discussions.
You guessed it, we have the worksheet you can download right here!
>> Download the PDS SWOT Analysis here <<
Make sure you download and print the file first, then read below with your team to learn how to use the matrix.
Conducting a SWOT Analysis on Your Business
(Do this with your team!)
Do you have your worksheet ready and printed out? Good!
A SWOT matrix is normally a worksheet divided into four quadrants. Each quadrant represents one element of the SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. Each quadrant should ask a series of custom questions you can answer to fill in that quadrant. Focus on the questions that are most relevant for your business, community and current situation.
Dig Deep and Ask Relevant Questions
For this section, think about the attributes of yourself, your team and your business that will help you achieve your objective. Sample questions to get you started:
- Where are you most profitable in your business?
- What do you do exceptionally well?
- What skills do you have that are unique to you, your team and your location?
- What are your specialties?
- What do you do better than your competitors?
For this section, think about the attributes of yourself, your team and your business that could hurtyour progress in achieving your objective. Sample questions to get you started:
- What areas do you need to improvement?
- What areas do you need more education or experience?
- What parts of your business are not very profitable?
- Do you lack any resources?
- What are the initiatives that cost you time and/or money?
For this section, think about the external conditions that will help you achieve your objective. Sample questions to get you started:
- What are your current business goals?
- Are there untapped target audiences you can reach?
- How can you improve your current customer experience or customer wellness?
- Is there technology that you can apply to improve your business?
- Can you think of any supplemental products and services that provide an opportunity for your business?
For this section, think about the external conditions that could damage your business’s performance. Sample questions to get you started:
- What are your obstacles?
- What is going on in the economy that can potentially affect your business?
- What is going on in the industry that can potentially affect your business?
- What are the strengths of your biggest competitors?
- What are your competitors doing that you’re not?
You’ve Filled it Out! Now What?
This worksheet won’t help you unless you can analyze the data you’ve compiled and put it into action. While going through, you may have already identified some strategies and goals for your business. Your next steps should be:
- Create a plan to expand on the strengths you’ve identified
- Identify ways you can diminish, dispell or defer your weaknesses
- Set achievable goals for each of the opportunities you have identified
- Use your strengths to decrease the threats you identified
Mix It Up.
Now the opportunities should start flying off the page. Explore ways in which you can combine your strengths and opportunities to develop new strategies. Try combining strengths and threats to identify threats you can eliminate and look at your weaknesses and opportunities to create a list of areas ready for improvement.
You should also make a list of areas to avoid that fall under weaknesses and threats. Once you can read your data and understand the recordings, you can find ways to use it strategically. The best part is that you can use this tool over and over again to explore new opportunities, uncover lurking threats, and improve your business year after year.
>>Download the SWOT here<<
Join us at the PDS Super-Conference
If you are looking for ways to get more buy-ins and more “yeses” from prescribers, patients, and employees, you need to attend the PDS Super-Conference. We want you to join us and learn how you can use these strategies to start maximizing your potential as soon as possible - and we’re positive that this pharmacy conference will do that for you.
100% sure, in fact – if after the first day, you don’t feel like the conference was worth your time or money? We’ll give you that money back. Not only that, but we’ll give you $300 back on top of your ticket refund for your travel expenses. That’s guaranteed.
We’re expecting over 2,000 guests this year – but if you want to be a part of this incredible opportunity, join now.