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How Can a Vaccine Program Elevate Your Pharmacy?
A well-implemented vaccine program can drive business, elevate patient care and grow your bottom line. Here's how.
Last week on CLIMB, we were joined by pharmacist and CEO of CureMed Pharmacy, Ghada Abukuwaik, who shared her expertise on implementing and running a successful vaccine program. If you haven't tuned in yet, you can catch the episode here.
We (along with Ghada and her CureMed family) firmly believe that clinical services such as vaccine programs are essential in every independent pharmacy. Since CureMed’s establishment in 2015, Ghada says that immunizations have been a pillar of their success. Part of their success is rooted in having spent the past 7 years diligently honing and perfecting their program. The other, larger part is rooted in their commitment to their community, exemplary patient care and overall public health.
With more and more pharmacies looking to implement a vaccine program of their own, it’s important to note what these programs can accomplish for you when properly implemented – both on a business-level as well as a community-level. Let’s break it down.
Vaccine programs can drive business.
There is a widely held (and misguided) belief that chain pharmacies are cheaper and more accessible than independent pharmacies, often leading to independent pharmacies being overlooked altogether. While there are many ways that we, as a community, can work together to overcome that stigma, an excellent place to start is by way of a vaccine program.
Vaccine programs get people in the door. Let’s say someone is looking to get a COVID booster and the availability in their area is scarce. However, they come across your pharmacy who has it available. They come in for their booster, but they come back again and again because of everything else your pharmacy has to offer. It’s a win-win for everyone; vaccines help keep a community safe and healthy, and it’s a great way to encourage people to give your pharmacy a chance.
Ghada’s Tip: Keep communications with city advocacy groups, city councilors, public organizations and agencies, county commissioners, schools, adult home centers, doctors, etc. open! This allows you to better serve your community by making sure vaccines are made available where they are most needed, but it also is a great way to spread awareness about your pharmacy and your vaccine program, which will undoubtedly result in increased traffic through your doors.
Vaccine programs can elevate patient care.
The backbone of chain pharmacies is convenience. Big chains recognize that shoppers would prefer to go to one place and get everything they need, including prescriptions. But with the rapidly changing healthcare landscape, big chains are struggling to keep up. Their massive prescription volumes and rushed attempts to cash in on vaccinations are leaving many of their patients feeling frustrated by long waits, mediocre service, and poor patient care.
This is where your vaccine program, and your pharmacy, can shine. By placing the focus on elevating patient care, a vaccine program evolves from just a money-making machine to a relationship and trust builder. People want to feel confident that they are placing their health in worthy hands. If they feel like they're just another number in a line, eventually the "one-stop-shop" convenience factor that chain pharmacies bank on won't be enough to keep their patronage. Of course, the goal should not just be to do better than the chains. The goal should always be to provide the highest level of care possible to your patients.
Ghada's Tip: Being proactive is a must! Don't wait for patients to come to you. Be active in your community and diligent with your marketing and outreach efforts. Be loud and proud about what you have to offer that sets you apart. And, of course, make your patients the center of your care.
Vaccine programs can grow your bottom line.
Now, we would be lying if we said there wasn’t a monetary benefit to running a successful vaccine program. But the money doesn’t lie solely with vaccinations. As discussed, a vaccine program can drive traffic through your doors and help you build a relationship of trust with your patients, which will inevitably lead to many of them engaging other services offered by your pharmacy. The more services you offer, and the higher your commitment is to better patient care, the more your bottom line will grow!
Ghada's Tip: Always remember that the wealth is not in the money. The wealth is in the happiness; the love; the giving; the wealth is in the caring about your community.
We know that starting a vaccine program may seem a little daunting, but Ghada has a message for anyone feeling overwhelmed:
“Call me. Send me an email. Come talk to me. Because when you see the results of what you are doing and how you are saving lives, it will open many great doors for you. So, if there are any roadblocks, those blocks will never stop us from doing great things for our community. Those blocks are for us to step on to help our community even more.”
If anyone is interested in starting their own vaccine program and would like to connect with Ghada, shoot us an email at email@example.com!