October is American Pharmacists Month, and there’s never been a better time to celebrate successful independent pharmacies across the country. Not only is it important to recognize their accomplishments, but it’s also worthwhile to learn from their best practices. When you take a look at any independent pharmacy that goes above and beyond, it becomes clear that they don’t just care for individual patients. They try to improve the health and well-being of the community they’re a part of, too.

Trumm Drug, a Health Mart pharmacy in Alexandria, Minnesota, knows this firsthand. Trumm is the recipient of the 2019 Health Mart Pharmacy of the Year Award. Their commitment to high-touch patient relationships and local involvement show their dedication to improving the health of their patients and the community at large.

Trumm family pharmacies have served downtown Alexandria since 1951. Since that time, they’ve expanded from one pharmacy to six locations across southwest Minnesota. And in 2018, Aaron Finley, PharmD, and Allan Fettig, PharmD, (both long-time staff pharmacists) purchased the pharmacy from the Trumm family. Committed to carrying on the legacy that the Trumm family created, Aaron and Allan knew it was important to keep consistency of care and continue to build on Trumm’s seven decades of success.

Here are a few things Trumm Drug does that have helped them earn the title of Pharmacy of the Year. They’re best practices all independent pharmacies can use to make sure they’re delivering the best possible care to patients.

1. Clinical offerings that go the extra mile

Trumm Drug provides clinical services that care for patients in a proactive way. They also stay up to date with the latest programs Health Mart or McKesson offer. Just a few of the clinical offerings they have include:

  • Med sync. Trumm uses medication synchronization (med sync) so patients can pick up all of their prescriptions at once. With more than 1,200 patients enrolled across all pharmacy locations, med sync has helped Trumm increase its clinical ranking across a number of categories.
  • Year-round vaccines. Like many successful independent pharmacies, Trumm Drug has a year-round vaccine program. They offer vaccines such as Shingrix, pneumonia, and travel vaccines. Plus, they have both off-site and on-site influenza clinics. This gives patients multiple ways to receive their yearly flu shot.
  • New programs that focus on specific patient populations. Trumm Drug implemented a transitional care program with local hospitals called “Meds to Beds.” They’ve also launched the GeriMed combo program, and started using National Diabetes Alert day handouts. These programs target specific groups, allowing Trumm to help with chronic disease management and improve the overall health of their communities.

All community pharmacies can benefit from offering more clinical services. There’s an increased need for pharmacists to fill a provider-esque role. Now is the perfect time to consider programs like med sync, year-round immunizations, and programs that target specific issues in your community.

2. A patient-first approach

A commitment to putting their patients first is one thing Aaron and Allan wanted to maintain when they took over ownership of Trumm Drug. To do this, they use several tactics that make filling prescriptions more convenient and affordable for their patients. These include:

  • Automated prior authorizations
  • Coupons
  • Prescription delivery

By implementing these tactics, Trumm helps their patients get their prescriptions sooner, and when possible, at a lower cost. Navigating the world of health insurance and prior authorizations is complex. Addressing these issues allows Trumm to eliminate barriers that may stand in the way of them receiving the treatment they need.

Consider what ways you might be able to make your services more convenient or affordable for patients. Can you offer home delivery? Are there ways you can help them navigate health plans and insurance? Using some of the strategies above, you can put your patients needs first.

3. Community involvement

When Aaron and Allan took over, they knew they wanted to remain consistent in the quality of care they delivered to their communities. In fact, all three former Trumm family owners continue to work in the pharmacies to mentor the new owners.

“Aaron and I have both worked at Trumm Drug for more than 10 years, so when we looked at taking ownership, it was very important that customers knew they’d be able to walk in and see the same faces and get the same care,” Allan says. “We are a part of this community with our families and look forward to providing the best care with the same commitment that drove the Trumm family success over the past 70 years.”

As part of their dedication to community, Trumm does a few different things:

  • Donates to multiple local organizations, including sponsoring a food pantry
  • Owners and staff serve as MPhA (Minnesota Pharmacists Association) corporate members and serve in the chamber of commerce
  • Work with law enforcement on the Opioid Task Force

Owning an independent pharmacy isn’t just about filling prescriptions. It’s about caring for the well-being of the communities that you serve. What ways can you extend your care to the community at large? Are there charitable causes your pharmacy can be a part of?

We applaud Trumm Drug’s excellence and their win for Pharmacy of the Year. We can all learn from their example of offering the latest clinical programs, advocating for patients and giving back to the communities they serve.

Related: Learn more about McKesson’s Health Mart pharmacy franchise program

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