Your mission as an independent pharmacy is to provide the best care to your patients. That’s why you opened your doors. But the daily pressures of running a pharmacy can make fulfilling that mission a bit challenging at times.

We have a few ideas. Six McKesson pharmacy experts share their tips on how to sharpen your focus on what’s most important: the health of your patients. Their advice appeared in earlier posts on McKesson.com.

Shift from pharmacist to provider

Crystal Lennartz knows firsthand the pressure your independent pharmacy is under. She’s a pharmacist. She’s also the former chief pharmacist for Health Mart, McKesson’s independent pharmacy franchise.

In “Top Five Independent Pharmacy Trends for 2018,” Lennartz counted down the five trends that will have the biggest impact on your independent pharmacy this year.

On Lennartz’ list is the evolution of pharmacists into providers. As patients’ health needs grow, so does the need for your pharmacists to provide new services. That could mean more business.

“Revenue from expanded services is critical for independent pharmacies,” Lennartz said.

Use drug claims to improve safety

Prescription drug claims don’t have the same prestige as specialty drugs with melodic names. Yet claims can be just as powerful in making your patient care safer and more effective.

That lesson comes from “Improving Pharmacy Claims Reimbursement for Community Pharmacies” by Catherine Romanick. Romanick is a senior product manager for RelayHealth Pharmacy Solutions.

Features in your pharmacy claims management system can improve drug safety. The system can check doses against packaging to ensure drugs are dispensed properly. It also can receive drug safety notifications.

Your pharmacists will have more time to spend with patients if you use technology to improve claims management, Romanick said.

Tap data to pick the right services

Your neighbors to the north are doing interesting things with data. Independent pharmacies in Canada are using data to improve their patients’ health.

How they do it was the topic of “Lessons from Canadian Independent Pharmacies on Data-Driven Innovation” by Rick Brennan. Brennan is senior vice president, retail banner group, McKesson Canada.

If your pharmacy wants the right services for your patient population, you need information. Useful data can come from several sources:

With that insight, your pharmacy can focus on programs that will most benefit your patients based on their health needs, Brennan said.

Offer an offsite flu clinic

Flu season is over. But it’s never too early to plan for the next one. You may want to run offsite flu clinics at local businesses and community organizations.

In “Building Independent Pharmacy Business Through Offsite Immunization Clinics,” Michael Cihlar detailed the steps you can take to offer flu vaccines at offsite locations. Cihlar is a regional director for Health Mart, McKesson’s independent pharmacy franchise.

The health benefits to your community are clear. More people are immunized against the flu. You’ll also benefit from revenue from administering more flu shots. Yet as Cihlar noted, offsite flu clinics can open the door to patients who need other clinical services from your pharmacy.

Is it time to strike out on your own?

Maybe it’s time for you, as a pharmacist, to be in charge. Maybe you know best what kinds of clinical services will improve the health status of your patients. Then maybe it’s time for you to open and own your own pharmacy.

Christopher Cella explains how in “Starting an Independent Pharmacy.” Cella is national vice president for Rx Ownership at McKesson.

Among the first steps to take is developing a detailed business plan. Patient care should be at the center of that plan. Excelling at patient care can be your competitive advantage, Cella said.

“The pharmacist’s business plan should emphasize how the pharmacy will maintain and improve the overall health status of its patients beyond just filling prescriptions,” Cella said.

Doing more for diabetes patients

If you’re like most independent pharmacies, you have a lot of patients who take diabetes medications. But could you be doing more to help your patients manage this chronic medical condition?

The answer from Laurie Jamieson, director of manufacturer marketing strategy for McKesson U.S. Pharma, is yes. In “How Independent Pharmacies Can Expand Diabetes Care for Patients,” Jamieson detailed how you can build a comprehensive approach to caring for your diabetes patients.

The diabetes products and services you can offer fall into four buckets:

  • Prescription medication and medication delivery devices
  • Self-monitoring blood glucose supplies
  • Over-the-counter, non-prescription lifestyle items
  • Patient education and support

“Independent pharmacies that offer comprehensive disease management programs for patients with diabetes will become the pharmacies of choice in their service area,” Jamieson said.

As the ideas from these six pharmacy experts show, there are plenty of ways your independent pharmacy can get even better at what you do best: taking care of your patients and your community.

Related: Learn more about McKesson’s growth and expansion solutions for independent 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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