From social media to med sync, ideaShare expands learning opportunities

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From social media to med sync, ideaShare expands learning opportunities

By Michael Johnsen - 07/30/2017
McKesson ideaShare 2017 featured more than 30 continuing education courses with topics ranging from installing an expanded service offering like med sync or immunizations, to the how-tos in building a stronger front-end business, empowering pharmacy technicians in your practice or learning more about pain points such as DIR fees.

This year in addition to the peer-to-peer networking opportunities and a convention floor that showcased all the latest programs and offerings McKesson and their partners have to offer, there also were plenty of other education opportunities on the actual exhibit floor.

“We’ve redesigned the show to be much more about action and learning from peers,” Steve Courtman, president of Health Mart, told Drug Store News. “So we have more than 100 theater sessions, small group seminars and workshops throughout the floor.”

“A lot of the format changes are in response to customers and what they’d like to see,” added Crystal Lennartz, Health Mart chief pharmacist. “Pharmacies were asking for more time with small groups of experts and more time with their peers,” she said. “The meet-ups on the show floor are customers talking about med sync or prescriber partnerships, and many other topics.”

To get a flavor for the CE sessions being presented at McKesson ideaShare, Drug Store News attended a few of the well-attended classes:

You can’t differentiate against the big box, if they don’t know you’re there
Marketing expert Kevin Joyce shared with attendees the importance of digitally engaging with the local community in an effort to not only drive business for a reasonable investment, but also to reach potential patients where they are — the social media sites on their smartphones. “There are still a lot of pharmacies who find reasons to not market,” Joyce said. “Budget, time availability, lack of expertise, etc. There’s very little risk and lots of reward when you take a step and try something.”

Joyce’s team provides turnkey support for Health Mart’s Local Marketing Support program and the “Marketing Hub,” a platform offering Health Mart pharmacies access to customizable marketing tools and programs. “We live in an increasingly digital age,” he said. “There’s no pharmacy in the country, catering to any patient young or old, that shouldn’t have a digital presence these days.”

Health Mart launched several new digital marketing solutions, including a Digital Listings and Reputation Management program, to help Health Mart pharmacies improve their online presence. And Health Mart is offering free consultations with a digital expert from the Marketing Hub to review the health of the pharmacy’s online presence. The goal is to provide insights on how to make improvements to the pharmacy’s website, social media and ability to be found online.

Is your pharmacy sinking, or is it syncing?
During a CE primer on medication synchronization, Hashim Zaibak urged fellow pharmacy owners to establish the underlying foundation first for such programs. “I really want you to go back to your home pharmacy and start the process,” he said. “Anyone who is not doing the sync program is missing an opportunity. I know for sure, this is the future.” Zaibak outlined how med sync can positively impact financials, operations and pharmaceutical inventory.

Med sync allows independent pharmacies to improve efficiency and increase capacity without adding staff. With the ability to proactively manage their workflow, pharmacists have more time to uncover causes of patients’ nonadherence, address them with medication therapy management and provide other services, generating additional revenue and improving patient outcomes. To help Health Mart pharmacists realize these benefits through med sync, a team of pharmacists headed by chief pharmacist Crystal Lennartz were dispatched at no charge to help pharmacists.

Expand the role of pharmacy techs, and a whole new world of patient care opens to the pharmacist
Christine Cline-Dahlman, a pharmacy technician who has worked in that capacity across three pharmacy settings (chain, hospital and independent), discussed how the roles and responsibilities of pharmacy technicians are changing. “The industry is now moving toward more patient-care services and clinical services,” Cline-Dahlman said. “That’s our focus. That’s what drives our revenue. That’s the bottom line: how can we stay viable in order to continue to provide patient care?”

With that transformation of healthcare services, pharmacy technicians will continue to see significant changes in their roles and responsibilities. Empowering pharmacy technicians allows the pharmacist to engage in additional business-growth activities, Cline-Dahlman said, including counseling and advocating additional services like immunizations.

The pathway toward success is paved in adherence
Another popular CE course at McKesson ideaShare 2017 involved the promotion of medication adherence, led by Bri Morris, director of strategic initiatives at the National Community Pharmacists Association. Morris helped connect all the dots around how value-based health care will impact community pharmacy, from the bottom line to workflow.

“When you have a performance-based model, you’re looking at the patient’s prescription, in an ideal world, once per month,” she said. “You’re looking at all of their medicines, and how they interact and making sure the patient is taken care of.” It facilitates patient appointments, she added. “CMS actually changed the regulations to make it easier for pharmacists to counsel patients,” she said, with general prescriber oversight as opposed to direct prescriber oversight.

A new tool to help pharmacies offer expanded clinical services is the Collaborative Practice Agreement program. Health Mart at the show expanded the program to include customizable CPA templates that enable additional service delivery in the pharmacy and/or in local provider offices, and they facilitate payment terms for collaborative drug therapy management services. Pharmacist CPA services templates, which pharmacies can customize and work with local providers to sign, are now available for all 50 states through myHealthMart.

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