The Focal Point of Pharmacy - Personalized Care
Delivering personalized care within your pharmacy allows you to set up your business for success. Personalized care hinges on understanding the thoughts and experiences of your patients, along with what they think and experience inside your store.
This article is here to help you reconnect with your patients in a way that gels with what’s happening in the healthcare market and your patients alike.
A Changing Pharmacy Market
There’s plenty that happens in healthcare
that you have no control over. You could either view this as a hurdle to jump over or an opportunity for transformation.
Here are four trends that can work in your favor as catalysts for your pharmacy transformation:
1. The aging population.
a. As people get older, they experience more chronic medical conditions. As the population ages, there will be more opportunities to care for these people outside of a hospital setting.
2. Earlier diagnoses.
a. Due to advanced medical technology and health screenings, chronic conditions are being diagnosed in younger people, and younger people have different health needs than the typical older customer base that a pharmacy usually sees.
3. Rising expectations.
a. Patients have higher expectations now more than ever. They are constantly comparing the performance of your pharmacy with other pharmacies and retailers in other industries as well.
a. Some players in the market look at the retail pharmacy economics and see an opportunity in the trend, so it’s important to be prepared for disruptors.
Patient Needs For More Personalized Care
Although there are many aspects of the market that you can’t control, there are some things that you do have the power over. One of the biggest things you can control is how you respond to patient needs - specifically, these three needs:
1. Pharmacy Ease
a. Patients say going to the pharmacy isn’t as easy as they would like it to be. Whether that has to do with transportation issues, accessibility, or the tasks taking place inside the pharmacy, they would like it to be an easier process.
2. Feeling Cared For
a. Some patients say they don’t feel adequately cared for when they go to the pharmacy. Feeling cared for involves more than just knowing a patient’s name; you should also understand their medical needs and history.
3. Health Help
a. Patients want more help from pharmacies in order to stay on track with their health. They want guidance instead of being simply handed a bag of the prescription and being sent on their way.
Combining the market trends with these insights allows you to build a better foundation for more personalized patient care. Now, it’s time to look at the pharmacy innovations that deal with processes, technology, and people.
Changing The Patient Experience Through Processes
For more personalized care, a patient’s experience with their pharmacy starts on their mobile device rather than the moment they step through the pharmacy’s doors. In essence, the physical visit will be an extension of the virtual visit they already held, much like when you check your flight at home before heading to the airport.
Another process that will change is how patients receive their prescriptions. It will be possible for patients to fill their orders online and have the prescriptions filled and delivered right to their home, much in the way of online shopping.
There will probably always be a need for human interaction in pharmacies, but that human interaction won’t always look the same as it does today. As of right now, the main reason patients come in is to get a prescription filled. But in the future, they might come in for personalized reasons such as:
● Adherence counseling
● Adjacent therapies
● Behavioral counseling
● Chronic disease management
● Health education
● Immunization programs
● Nutritional counseling
● Pharmacogenetics testing
● Point-of-care testing
These personalized services will provide the health help that patients are wanting from their pharmacies.
Tech Support For Personalized Care
Technological pharmacy innovations fall into three categories. The first deals with information technology running everything we’ve been discussing, the second is back-end technology that automates manual tasks and improves workflow, and the third is medical technology related to direct patient care.
The information technology includes:
● Data tracking in relation to adherence, patient risk stratification, and personalization
● Digital tools/mobile apps to c
onnect patients to your pharmacy
● Customer relationship management (CRM) software that allows pharmacy employees to pick up patient interaction where it left off
● A central platform that integrates the CRM with all other pharmacy systems
Back-end technologies include:
● Central fill automation
● Robotics for inventory management
Medical technologies include:
● Smart drug packaging to help with adherence
● Digiceuticals to help with drug therapies
● Point of care testing medical supplies/equipment
Personalized Patient Care
The success of the future of pharmacy depends heavily on personalized patient care, and that personalized care starts at the very front end of the pharmacy itself.
The staff in the front end should be experts in health, prevention, and wellness. They should be able to give patients medical advice, direct them to therapy-specific kiosks, and understand when it’s pertinent to meet with a pharmacist and when it’s time to see a physician. They will basically act as the concierge for patients throughout their pharmacy experience.
If the pharmacy offers further healthcare services, it should hire other clinicians to take care of this sector, including those who are tech-savvy and can manage all the new information and new technologies meant to support this model of business.
Personalized care depends on new skill sets, a new range of competency, and different expectations in order to be successful. These pharmacies will also need to find the right talent as they expand their reach, abilities, and audience.
This shift towards personalized care is a significant change as to how your pharmacy operates on a day-to-day basis. Instead of a patient thinking you’re trying to sell them something upon immediately entering the pharmacy, they’ll instead be welcomed and feel taken care of by your business and your presence in the community.