Separating yourself from the competition is the best way to drive new customers to your independent pharmacy.

Today at the National Community Pharmacy Association’s Annual Meeting, Bruce Kneeland, Community Pharmacy Specialist, discussed strategies that pharmacists can distinguish themselves in this competitive marketplace.

Offering immunizations (and making sure to carefully assess immunizations are up to date), medication therapy management (MTM), medication synchrnonization, and point of care testing are all ways, Kneeland explained, that pharmacists can carve out a niche for themselves.

On the subject of immunizations, Kneeland said "year round vaccinations could earn your pharmacy an extra $38K per year." He said that 1 out of 4 vaccines are given by a pharmacist, and he noted that that that figure leads a lot of wiggle room for improvement. Simply assessing if your patient is up to date on vaccines, by using immunization registry data, could yield an additional vaccine suggestion. This is especially true at this time of year, when people are looking for guidance on influenza vaccine, he added.

Discussing MTM, Kneeland noted that leveraging partnerships with hospitals can help streamline medication therapy management for patients. An audience member noted that he partnered with one pharmaceutical manufacturer to gain access to naloxone for emergency dispensing. 

"These opportunities are out there, but the thing is they are not necessarily going to be brought to you, they need to be done by you thinking like an entrepreneur and going out into the community and finding ways to partner, save the system and help their patients," Kneeland explained.

Under the umbrella topic of point of care testing, Kneeland noted that pharmacogenetics is an important area for pharmacists to become informed about. He said currently, insurance does not pay for it, but that patients are willing to pay for these services because they are seeing more stories in the media about how leveraging pharmacogenetic data can improve their health.  "About 25% of the population are undermetabolizers," Kneeland said. "It's just an area to think about when you consider offering point of care testing."

Kneeland added that in those sitations where the pharmacy may need additional help, such as marketing the additional resources you offer clients, turning to outside contractors may be an option, so that independents can continue to focus on their patients. He referenced this article he wrote for Skidki-na-vse for more information on this matter.