Goals pharmacies can set to improve in 2020

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Goals pharmacies can set to improve in 2020

By Cathy Kuhn - 03/06/2020

Getting healthier, losing weight or saving money are among the top New Year’s resolutions we’re likely to make in our personal lives. Community pharmacists, too, often set goals at the start of a new year, hoping to build their business, stare down fierce competition, improve customer service or grow revenue. 

But, we all well know, achieving success can be tough. While the general results rate on resolutions may not sound favorable — consider that 80% of individuals actually give up on their resolutions by early February — the odds are not insurmountable. With a strong focus on their resolutions, community pharmacists can drive success in their practice and enhance the lives of those who rely on their services. 

To thrive in this new environment and set themselves apart from the competition, community pharmacists should consider adopting three core resolutions as we move forward in 2020.

1. Collaborate More Closely with Physicians

Pharmacists and physicians have a lot in common. Both are trusted in their communities and are an important healthcare resource for those they serve. Plus, they share a desire to ensure patients receive the right prescription, adhere to their medication regimen and achieve a positive clinical outcome. And, in most cases, they rely on similar technologies and strategies to engage patients and coordinate care. 

Current research from Atlas of Science noted that collaboration between pharmacists and physicians in primary care may have a positive impact on patients with various chronic diseases,  including hypertension, Type 2 diabetes and asthma. In addition, this interdisciplinary approach can minimize prescription confusion, help contain rising healthcare costs and improve the patient experience. 

2. Adopt Technology to Increase Access to Care 

Community pharmacists serve a wide range of patients and geographies, and often these factors can impact access to care. Older individuals may have difficulty coming to the pharmacy to ask questions in person, or distance may prevent frequent visits in rural areas. Secure text, mobile messaging and video chat can dramatically increase patients’ access to care.

More than half of consumers feel that technology is improving their relationship with their healthcare providers, according to an Oct. 21, 2019 survey, “Patients want technology, remain frustrated with healthcare system by ResMed. About 47% of those responding to the survey said they would like to communicate through text. Secure two-way texting enables community pharmacists to engage patients, help them manage medication and provide customized tips to improve their health. Another 38% of respondents said they wanted to leverage video chat, which would help them speed access to care and conveniently address routine issues, even when pharmacists are miles away. 

3. Use Digital Marketing to Connect to Consumers

Whether it is social media ads, online reviews or a robust website, digital marketing offers community pharmacists cost-effective tools to reach potential customers and advertise clinical services. 

Research published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association noted that pharmacy as a profession has been slower to adopt the use of social media than other professions, despite the opportunity to utilize platforms like Facebook to better connect with key audiences and advertise pharmacy services. The study, titled “Why and how community pharmacies should better use Facebook,” noted that when pharmacies use digital advertising to connect with patients, it has resulted in a positive return on investment and improvements in public health. 

These are not unattainable goals. They are proven strategies that have been applied, with great success, by community pharmacists across the nation. By putting a laser-like focus on these activities, pharmacists will better be able to acquire new patients, engage existing ones, collaborate effectively with prescribing physicians and improve overall health in their communities. 

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