New year’s resolutions offer us the chance to think about what we can do better in our personal lives. But what about our work lives? Resolving to make changes at your pharmacy can help patient outcomes. It can bring in more revenue. And it can shore up your future success. Resolve to take action in the following areas to help your pharmacy grow—and your patients be healthier—in the year to come.

1. Switch to ePAs

If you’re still using manual prior authorizations (PAs) at your pharmacy, take the initiative in the coming year to switch to electronic PAs. Michael Bukach speaks about this in "Navigating Prior Authorizations at Your Chain Pharmacy." Bukach is the senior vice president of pharmacy for CoverMyMeds. He explains that switching to ePAs can do several things:

  • Allows patients to start their treatment right away. This provides convenience and better clinical results for your patients.
  • Saves you time that would be spent on manual PA requests. Now you can spend that time with patients.
  • Reduces the risk of prescription abandonment. This helps your pharmacy’s bottom line as well as patient health outcomes.

When you get your patients the medication they need more quickly, you’re giving them a better shot at improved clinical outcomes. Not only that, but daily operations are more efficient and your pharmacy sees better financial results, too.

2. Drive medication adherence

This goal should be at the top of your list year-round. Higher adherence rates translate to better health outcomes. Not only that, but with today’s value-based care model, adherence plays a bigger role than ever in your reimbursement. Mike Mills speaks about this in "Driving Medication Adherence at Your Independent Pharmacy." Mills is the regional franchise operations director for Health Mart. He notes three ways to drive adherence in the coming year:

  • Start a medication synchronization (med sync) program. This allows patients to pick up all of their drugs at the same time. It also gives you a chance to talk about any concerns they might have.
  • Track adherence rates against benchmarks using online resources like EQuIPP. EQuiPP stands for Electronic Quality Improvement Platform for Plans & Pharmacies. It can flag areas you need to improve and show you how to improve them.
  • Optimize workflows. Rearrange employee schedules so someone is always available to talk to patients.

By using these tactics, you can gradually increase adherence rates and help your patients stay on the drugs that improve their health.

3. Close gaps in care

A gap in care is a discrepancy between the drugs your patients are currently taking and the ones they should be taking for their condition. Crystal Lennartz covers this topic in "How Your Community Pharmacy Can Close Gaps in Patient Care." Lennartz is the vice president of pharmacy performance for Health Mart Atlas. She notes that there are several ways to close gaps in patient care:

  • Patient education. This can range from brochures and handouts to classes. Focus on anything that raises patient awareness of chronic illnesses and the drugs available.
  • Patient counseling. Offer one-on-one patient consultations. Discuss the benefits of being on certain drugs for their specific illnesses.
  • Prescriber education. You should have open communication with prescribers to let them know you can work together to identify gaps in care.

By taking the time to address patient needs and work with prescribers, your pharmacy can help close gaps in care, and patients can see improved health outcomes.

4. Offer more to each patient

Another vital aspect to providing better care is embracing the evolution of pharmacists into providers. Karen Merrill discusses this in "Embracing Direct Patient Care at Your Independent Pharmacy." Merrill is the regional director of franchise operations for Health Mart. She explains that it’s time for pharmacists everywhere to step up with more services for patients. She outlines three services to add to your pharmacy if you haven’t already:

  • A year-round immunization program. Go beyond the flu vaccine with immunizations for conditions like shingles or meningitis.
  • Wellness screenings. You can screen patients for routine illnesses such as influenza or strep.
  • Point-of-care testing. Check blood pressure, blood sugar, or cholesterol levels.

Implement new services like the ones above in the coming year to offer more to your patients. They’ll appreciate the convenience of getting vaccines or tests done at their local pharmacy. And you’ll appreciate the added revenue it brings to your business.

5. Optimize clinical programs with technology

Once you have clinical programs in place, you should make sure they’re integrated with your pharmacy technology. Otherwise, manually running your programs may lead to errors and inefficiencies. Ian Fallon expands on this in "Using Technology to Power Your Chain Pharmacy’s Clinical Program." Fallon is the vice president of clinical programs for McKesson Prescription Technology Solutions. He notes that optimizing any type of clinical program usually requires these four steps:

  • Identifying the patients who would benefit from your program
  • Interacting with each eligible patient in a consistent manner
  • Documenting each interaction or visit with a patient in a consistent manner
  • Billing patients’ health plans for the covered services in your program

When you optimize your programs, you create a more efficient and consistent process. Plus, it’s more accurate and saves everyone time that they can then spend on direct patient care.

Making improvements to your pharmacy operations is a challenge that never stops. But by focusing on specific goals this year, you can start to see tangible results for your business and the patients who depend on you.

Related: Learn more about McKesson’s clinical program solution for pharmacies

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McKesson editorial staff is committed to sharing innovative approaches and insights so our customers can get the most out of their business solutions and identify areas for operational improvement and revenue growth.

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