At the ideaShare 2016 conference in Chicago in June, McKesson named Rex Pharmacy as its Pharmacy of the Year Grand Prize Winner. McKesson recognized this stand out Health Mart pharmacy for driving the future success of independent pharmacy through the delivery of superior patient care.

This honoree offers important insights for other independent retail pharmacies that are seeking to position their businesses for success at a time of increasing competition from pharmacy chains. Inspired by Rex Pharmacy and their success, below are five key steps for independent pharmacies that are striving to improve their clinical and financial performance while also delivering quality patient care.

Five Key Steps to Driving Independent Pharmacy Success1. Focus on clinical performance and monitor EQuIPP data regularly

Monitoring EQuIPP performance data regularly and looking for ways to improve quality measure data has earned Rex Pharmacy top 20% scores in all EQuIPP measures. Their staff makes completing Mirixa/Outcomes MTM cases - both TIPs and CMRs - a priority and has developed their own documentation system to log and reference all outreach and interventions for each patient. Along with improving adherence and outcomes, this demonstrates their focus on delivering clinical quality outcomes and qualifying for inclusion in payer networks.

2. Implement medication synchronization and make it a priority

Rex Pharmacy implemented medication synchronization and now has more than 415 patients enrolled to pick up all of their medications on a scheduled basis. Due to the efforts of their whole staff, the pharmacy not only attributes 20% store growth to the successful transition to an appointment-based model where they are able to engage the patient upon pick up, but also improved patient care because of the extra opportunity to check for gaps in care and offer additional services. By prioritizing medication synchronization as an area of focus for their pharmacy, it has resulted in other positive business impacts, such as helping to balance workload and optimizing inventory and cash flow. Additionally, the staff has gained time to focus on providing new clinical services and developing partnerships with other local providers.

3. Offer new clinical services to improve patient health and increase revenue

Rex Pharmacy's focus on their patient's overall health drives them to continually look at offering new clinical services and personalized patient care. And by offering new services to patients, it diversifies the store's revenue streams and elevates the pharmacy's role as a community health destination. For instance, the pharmacy provides immunizations for flu, shingles and pneumonia; diabetes consultation and guidance; medication therapy management services; compounding; and pharmaco-genomics testing. Initially focused on pain meds, ADHD and anti-platelet therapies, Rex Pharmacy also plans to offer personalized reviews of medical results with patients and prescribers. In addition, the pharmacy has managed a strong 340B relationship with their local health system.

4. Market the pharmacy and its outcomes to patients and prescribers

Rex Pharmacy's innovative marketing efforts demonstrate the need for independent retail pharmacies to invest in local marketing to grow their business. For example, the pharmacy maintains an ongoing radio advertising campaign that complements the owner's weekly commentaries on health topics featured in two local radio shows. The pharmacy also leverages digital and social media marketing tactics through their own website, a mobile application that supports refill requests, and recurring Facebook and Twitter posts. To market to local prescribers, Rex Pharmacy utilizes a physician outreach marketing program to send regular fax blasts to providers that feature differentiated service offerings. The pharmacy owner also regularly visits local medical practices and has hosted “Business After Hours” receptions in his pharmacy store to present specific services and interact with local physicians.

5. Participate in the greater pharmacy community

Rex Pharmacy's owner, Josh Borer, is very active in the pharmacy community and works to enhance independent pharmacy's role and contribution to better patient health. He serves on a committee established by the Iowa Pharmacy Association to develop and establish a state-wide Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network to differentiate best-in-class pharmacies to providers and payers. Josh also serves on “Healthy Transitions,” a committee with the local Cass County Hospital Quality Assurance Program focused on medication reconciliation of discharged patients and readmission reduction. In addition, he is an active member of the Iowa Pharmacy Association, NCPA, PDS, ASCP and the University of Nebraska Pharmacy School Alumni Association.

By focusing on innovative programs, services and marketing - and providing personalized patient care that focuses on the overall health of patients - independent pharmacies can drive the success of their patients' health and their own businesses. The success of Rex Pharmacy can be emulated, but following these steps takes investment, commitment, and a dedication to changing the way independent pharmacies operate. However, they are proof that the positive outcomes to both patients and the overall pharmacy business are worth it.

Related: Learn about McKesson's Independent Pharmacy Solutions


About the author

McKesson editorial staff is committed to offering innovative approaches and insights so that our customers can get the most out of the health care solutions they have and identify areas for operational improvement, revenue growth and improved patient satisfaction. If you have a suggestion for a blog topic you’d like to see covered, let us know in the comments.