Each month, we do our best to share practical insights that can help your pharmacy succeed. We also try to pay attention to what resonates with you the most.

Some of our most popular blogs over the past few months have looked at how you can do more for patients and prepare for the future of pharmacy. Read on to make sure you didn’t miss out on any of these expert insights from our most-read pharmacy blogs.

1. Anticipate changing patient needs

Changing patient needs are changing the pharmacy game. And if your pharmacy can respond to those needs, both your patients and your business will benefit. William George helps you do just that in “The Pharmacy of the Future Will Focus on Personalized Care.” George is the vice president of retail transformation for McKesson Canada. He suggests several ways to better meet evolving patient needs.

  • Make pharmacy services more convenient. Increasingly, patients are craving a more convenient pharmacy experience. People are short on time and don’t want to have to wait in line or explain their issues more than one time to more than one person. You can remedy this by offering programs like medication synchronization, or med sync. This allows patients to pick up all their medications at the same time.
  • Show patients that you care. You’re not just there to dispense medication. Help make things easier for patients. For example, if a patient has arthritis, note that they may need an easier-to-open packaging option. It’s the little things that help patients feel cared for and seen—and these steps can also help them take their medication.
  • Go the extra mile for your patients’ health. Patients want more than just a transaction when they go to pick up their medication. They want you to remember their name and to help them tackle their health problems. Help patients address additional health concerns by offering one-on-one counseling or medication therapy management. If they have a question about a prescription or a health issue they’re managing, you might be able to suggest further treatments, tests or even supplements to help their condition.

When you’re invested in what your patients need now and in the future, you ensure your pharmacy stays both clinically and financially successful.

2. Prioritize preventive medicine

Chris Dimos expands on the need to put patients first in “The Future of Pharmacy Is About the Patient Experience.” Dimos is the president of retail solutions for McKesson Pharmaceutical Solutions and Services. He explains that your pharmacy shouldn’t just be a solution center for the sick. It should be a destination for the healthy, too. He suggests you offer services and products that can help keep patients healthy, such as:

  • Immunization programs. Beyond the typical flu shot, consider offering other vaccines, such as pneumonia or shingles.
  • Face-to-face counseling. Your pharmacists can counsel patients on topics such as smoking cessation, nutrition or disease management.
  • Health information. Think of how you can deliver preventive health information through written materials, mobile apps or other omni-channel experiences.

As pharmacists start to function more as providers, patients want to see you as their allies in better health. The strategies in Dimos’ post can help keep your patients healthy for the long haul.

3. Stay on top of pharmacy trends

Keeping up with pharmacy trends isn’t always easy—especially when the world of healthcare is evolving so quickly. Eyad Farah rounds up several key trends to pay attention to in “Top 5 Independent Pharmacy Trends for 2019.” Farah is the vice president and general manager for Health Mart Atlas. Here are three key trends he mentions in his post:

  • Continued downward reimbursement pressure. The downward pressure you’re feeling on reimbursement rates will likely continue. Despite this, align your pharmacy with the networks that pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) have created so you don’t lose access to the patients within those networks.
  • Increased need for technology to improve patient care. With new healthcare disruptors entering the market all the time, your pharmacy needs to stay on top of the latest technology to stay competitive. Find methods that work best for you. For example, introduce a mobile app that lets your patients fill their prescriptions or reminds them to take their drugs.
  • More emphasis on health outcomes. Value-based care will continue to change performance metrics for your pharmacy. For example, it’s not enough that you fill a prescription and then your patient takes it. You’ll be judged on those two factors and whether or not the drug has improved your patient’s health.

When watching the latest pharmacy trends, prioritize the ones that will affect your patients the most. When you can deliver better care, they’ll see better outcomes—and so will your business.

4. Optimize inventory management

If your pharmacy is still performing manual cycle counts, our blog on “How to Optimize Inventory Cycle Counts Using Technology” may inspire you to make a change. In it, Jody Harvey explains that manual cycle counts are not only time-consuming but more prone to inaccuracies, too. Harvey is the vice president of sales and account management for Supplylogix. She notes that doing cycle counts manually also means doing them less frequently—as infrequently as once a year. By using technology within your pharmacy management system (PMS), you can optimize your cycle counts. Doing so has several benefits, including:

  • Reduces the risk of treatment delays for patients
  • Improves accuracy in your inventory management
  • Increases the time your staff gets to spend with patients

All of these byproducts of optimizing your cycle counts can help your pharmacy stay competitive in the future.

5. Branch out by buying your own pharmacy

When looking to the future, you might want to buy an independent pharmacy of your own, if you don’t own one already. If you’ve been on the fence about that decision, Christopher Cella offers some tips on how to succeed in “How to Buy Your Own Independent Pharmacy.” Cella is the national vice president for RxOwnership. He recommends starting with a checklist of who you’ll need on your team throughout the process, such as an accountant, financial advisor, lawyer and more. He then outlines several key questions you should ask when thinking of buying a pharmacy. Before you sign on the dotted line, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • How profitable is the business?
  • Is revenue trending up or down?
  • What is the potential for growing the business?
  • What is the volume and mix of prescriptions?
  • What is the payer mix of the pharmacy’s patients?
  • Which long-term care contracts are in place, expiring or need to be renewed?

When you ask yourself these questions, you can evaluate whether or not a potential pharmacy can be successful under your ownership. You should also go through financial statements line by line so you know exactly what you’re buying—and be sure to enlist your financial advisors and legal team during this process.

Whether you’re looking for new services to offer patients, trying to keep up with trends or want solid business advice on how to strike out on your own, stay tuned for more insights on how to keep up with the future of pharmacy—and keep delivering better care to your patients.

Related: Learn more about McKesson’s pharmacy ownership consulting services

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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.