By pharmacists: For pharmacists. That simple edict not only served as the genesis behind AmerisourceBergen’s new ABC Order system that was piloted last year, but also captures the spirit of how AmerisourceBergen and its Good Neighbor Pharmacy franchise operation approach independent pharmacy.
And that is ascertain what tools community pharmacists need to succeed both today and tomorrow, and then package those tools as part of an overall solution set that can both be intuitively incorporated into a pharmacy workflow and meaningfully contribute to that operation’s bottom line. “One of our biggest accomplishments [in the past 18 months] is significant growth in the utilization of our new solutions,” Brian Nightengale, president of Good Neighbor Pharmacy, told Drug Store News.
That success has manifested in really robust growth across AmerisourceBergen’s Good Neighbor Pharmacy Premier offering, which represents the full meal versus an a la carte approach to the menu of services available. “We have really doubled down on growing our premier level, which is the level where we provide the most value and resources to our customers,” he said. “We’ve had 50% growth in the last 12 months [across] our premier level membership.” To date, there are more than 1,200 participants in the Good Neighbor Pharmacy Premier level franchise agreement — and growing, Nightengale said.
The overall Good Neighbor Pharmacy investment in member services that AmerisourceBergen has made is helping to optimize front-end sales by providing access to business coaching, manufacturer promotions and new reporting tools that incorporate point-of-sale data. Good Neighbor Pharmacy has further invested in improving front-end performance through a five-year educational partnership with the National Community Pharmacists Association to produce a series of educational seminars for its members. The first featured Gabe Trahan, NCPA’s senior director store operations and marketing, who advises independents on front-end opportunity.
In 2016, AmerisourceBergen also celebrated the one-year anniversary of its PSAO Elevate Provider Network. “A lot of what we’ve accomplished in the past 18 months [with Elevate] has been around innovation, going beyond payer contracting and adding solutions that help our customers manage their business better,” Nightengale said. “Through these enhancements, we’ve had a great deal of success, [including] the pre- and post-edits and reconciliation services, the central-pay solution and patient-engagement center.” The patient-engagement center, for example, helps operators take advantage of services that can contribute to such expanded revenue streams as comprehensive medication reviews, medication synchronization and adherence programming, he explained.
And it’s working. “When we looked at [IMS Health data for] year-over-year prescription growth for our Elevate members, the year-over-year growth was 3.4% [as compared with] 1.9% for the overall community market, which includes chains,” Nightengale said. “The growth for non-Elevate independents was only 0.2%.”
Not only is Elevate helping drive prescription growth, it also is helping to drive patient adherence — helping to improve CMS Star quality measures — and reduce DIR fees for pharmacies enrolled in the network, Nightengale said. Another highlight of 2016 was the introduction of the ABC Order engine. Scheduled to go live this April, the system features a new user interface custom designed with direct input from Good Neighbor Pharmacy operators.
The company also has worked hard to improve its buying power with generic drug manufacturers, Nightengale said. “We’ve invested a lot in that area. When you put all these [solutions] together, we’re making a positive difference in the profitability of our stores, even in a challenging reimbursement environment.”