Altercations in the role of a pharmacist’s in the community pharmacy are impacting the highly evolving healthcare ecosystem and the trends will continue to grow in this rapidly transitioning system. The present-day pharmacies are not just your traditional drug stores, which offer you the prescribed medicines and jot it down in the medical billing, but it’s also expanded in terms of a wellness clinic.
The additional services being offered are the over the counter (OTC) and personal care areas, the pharmacy counter, in specialty procedures and in the prescription pick-up areas. Not only are these wellness services beneficial to pharmacy customers, they also create opportunities for drug/medicine marketers and offer a measurable return on investment.
Evolving Role of a Pharmacists
A few decades back, the traditional role of pharmacists was to solely dispense prescriptions. They were not allowed to discuss medications with patients and had to refer them back to their doctors when questions arose. But, as time passed pharmacists began to supply some very basic information about prescriptions. Today, the tides have changed. Retailers are equipping their pharmacists as never before with the technological tools they need to the provider of enhanced services and to engage with patients.
The increased role of the pharmacist allows for quality interactions, a key component in patient retention and medication adherence. To provide you with an example, recently a pharmacy student who said that his parents only pick up their medications when they know a particular pharmacist is working because they appreciate the way they treat them. This is a sign of the personality component that a well-regarded pharmacy brings to the retail setting and supports the role of pharmacists to become trustworthy advisors who can offer assistance to patients with their health concerns and needs.
Drug stores in the U.S are now giving more time and attention to offering a wide spectrum of wellness services. Screening tests, health programs, vaccinations, clinics and on-site educational events are not only a helpful to consumers, but also establishes the community pharmacy’s value as a wellness clinic. Another developing example of this is the retail clinics within pharmacies. It is estimated that by 2018 the number of retail clinics will double from 1,418 to over 2,900 nationwide. Also, 27% of individuals say they have used retail clinics for medical care and more than 15 million people, on the estimate, have been treated in a walk-in clinic, while 38%-40% of in-store clinic customers will make an OTC purchase.
Expanding Communication Channels
Pharmacies are reciprocating to the need for health data by providing a platform for in-store methods of education and communication. Some of these methods include:
- Data Dispensers on the Shelf
- Prescription Bag Newsletters
- Billing through Professional Pharmacy Billing Companies
- Pharmacy Counter Displays
- Specialty Health Newsletters or Magazines, And
- Digital Screens
By utilizing these methods in their stores, pharmacies have the data available when solutions are required, whether it is in the OTC areas, at the pharmacy counter or elsewhere. As they fulfill the needs of patients who are increasingly more involved in monitoring and managing their health, pharmacies are becoming valuable channels such as a wellness clinic will reach a large and relevant audience.
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