Many pharmacy industry experts have weighed in on Cost Plus Drugs to figure out what this new competition will mean for local pharmacies.
How to Choose the Right Clinical Services for Your Pharmacy
The fear of missing out is real when choosing the right clinical services for your pharmacy. Here are some FOMO-busting tips to ease the process.
Everyone is talking about clinical services; at pharmacy conferences, in educational groups, on social media. The clinical services movement is gaining momentum and pharmacies are being encouraged to dive in to create value for their patients and generate more non-prescription revenue.
If clinical services aren’t a part of your pharmacy business model, or if you wanted to expand what you currently offer, it might seem simple on paper to take the first steps. But there are a multitude of different options to pursue. Weight loss counseling, smoking cessation programs, clinical counselling, remote patient monitoring, nutrient depletion recommendations... the list goes on and on. And then on some more.
And there lies the problem. Have you ever been at a restaurant with a huge menu and been unable to decide what to order? Which of 8 different pasta dishes or 12 different salads is the right one? (We're looking at you, Cheesecake Factory.) Will you immediately regret your decision the second you see what your dining companions ordered? Choosing the right clinical services for your pharmacy might seem a lot like that, only with much higher stakes.
This is a type of decision paralysis. A completely real, very common occurrence where you can’t decide because you’re afraid of making the wrong choice. In other words, the FOMO is real.
Decision paralysis commonly rears its head when you are faced with too many choices and/or you have options that are difficult to compare. You either don’t make a decision and fail to make progress, or by the time you do make a decision you’re too wrung out to take the next steps.
If you’re not sure what clinical service, or services, make sense for your pharmacy business, there are some simple considerations that can help you narrow the field, and maybe even make a final decision.
Recognize what you are already doing.
The things you already do on a regular basis offer great building blocks for new programs and help you uncover the low hanging fruit for monetizing services. Vaccines, for example, offer a path to building relationships with patients and potentially providers. They also help you get customers used to coming to your pharmacy for services outside of the prescription fill. “Have you gotten your flu vaccine?” is a great conversation starter and can open the door to other health and wellness management topics.
It’s also likely you’re already doing other things that qualify as clinical services but not yet not promoting them that way or getting paid for them. So, take stock of all the non-prescription-filling, OTC-selling activities you do. You might be surprised at what steps you’ve already taken toward being a service-focused pharmacy.
Acknowledge your passions and expertise.
Every month, we invite speakers to come talk on our CLIMB webinar and podcast series. Many of them talk about clinical services and how they’ve become thought leaders in their fields. One thing they all have in common? They are passionate about the services they’ve perfected.
What is it that you’re passionate about? What drove you to the profession and business of pharmacy in the first place? What health and wellness topics are the most important or meaningful to you? The things you’re most passionate about can lead you right to the best clinical services to offer in your pharmacy.
Evaluate costs and benefits.
There’s always going to be a startup cost. If not monetary, then in the currency of time. Before you jump in, evaluate what your time and money commitment needs to look like and be honest with yourself whether that’s really feasible.
You should also understand how you'll monetize any clinical services and what returns you can expect.
Choose buildable services.
When building, you always start with the foundation. In other words, choose to start small.
Don’t pick 3 different services and try to do them all at once. Also, don’t pick the service that won’t work in your bigger picture plans. Start with the clinical services that can be building blocks for larger things. Medication synchronization is a great place to start because you’re creating a habit of monthly conversations with patients, and this monthly touch-base can eventually be your building block for services like remote patient monitoring. Or, if you choose to take on diabetic self-management training, weight loss support can be a really great future tie-in.
Embrace peer support and relationships.
Sometimes, it’s all about who you know. If you have great relationships with the providers in your area, let those relationships guide your clinical services offerings. You’ve already taken the first step required for things like clinical consulting and remote patient monitoring.
If you have a great relationship with another pharmacist or business owner who has a thriving nutrient depletion program, or even one who has tried other programs and failed, you can use that knowledge to help you on your way.
Looking for more clinical services inspiration?
Check out our Clinical Services Playlist full of great insight and how-to expertise from clinical services leaders like Amina Abubakar, Bob Lomenick, Thea Blystone, Travis Wolff, Kathy Campbell and more!