Community pharmacies are on the rise. According to the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), the number of community pharmacies has increased by nearly 13% between 2010 and 2019. Today, they make up around 35% of all retail pharmacies in the United States.
With strong competition and a growing market, now’s the time to focus on improving your pharmacy’s performance. Community pharmacies’ unique ability to offer personalized services can be enhanced with tailored offerings and digital tools that allow you to reach patients and stand out in the marketplace.
Here are five steps you can take now to improve your community pharmacy…
1. Nurture Relationships With Your Current Patient Base
As important as it is to attract new customers, most of your business will come from your current patient base.
Prioritizing patient relationships keeps you in touch with their needs so you can offer more personalized care, building trust and increasing adherence through better communication. Having good relationships isn’t just good practice, it’s also good business. Happy patients will keep coming back and recommend your pharmacy to everyone they know.
Leverage digital tools like direct secure messaging to connect with patients personally without relying on the phone. These HIPAA-compliant solutions provide a secure platform for 2-way conversations, allowing you and your patients to communicate in real-time and exchange private health information.
Personalize your contact with patients by sending targeted messages, or save your staff time and simplify patient contact tasks with bulk messaging. By automating and simplifying outreach across multiple platforms, direct secure messaging solutions allow pharmacies to offer better care and improve patient outcomes. This is just one of the many ways on how to improve community pharmacy.
2. Help Your Patients Manage Their Health on the Go
Customers today expect quick solutions to their problems and prefer to access products and services from their homes and on the go, even when it comes to healthcare. A 2020 study by Accenture found that 62% of consumers would now seek out virtual care for medical and health advisories and 52% for routine appointments.
The Accenture study also found that while consumers are open to using digital tools to manage health, many still have concerns about the privacy and security of their healthcare information. While 83% trust their healthcare providers, only 45% of respondents trust tech companies to keep digital healthcare information secure. Your pharmacy can bridge this gap using secure digital solutions that keep patients connected and help them manage their health remotely.
Branded health sites and mobile apps allow you to build an online presence and audience while offering safe online care. Designed for healthcare providers to protect patient information, these HIPAA-compliant digital tools combine digital-savvy platforms with health resources, simplifying prescription refills, patient transfers, and appointment scheduling. Patients are able to manage medications securely from their phone or laptop, so they’ll never have to wait to get the care they need.
3. Optimize Your Pharmacy’s Digital Experience
The healthcare industry is one of the top digital transformation adopters today. From more efficient management solutions to mobile health apps, it’s become clear that the future of health is digital. Community pharmacists now have to find ways to interact with and engage with patients online outside of their website. With digital marketing, pharmacies can build an online presence and connect effectively with current and potential customers, enhancing patients’ digital experience.
The purpose of digital marketing is to help businesses stay top-of-mind and offer value so patients become loyal fans and avid supporters.
Digital marketing programs for pharmacies have everything you need in one place, from reputation management to paid ad support. They support efforts such as monthly newsletters, social media marketing, and tracking and measuring your different campaigns to see what works and what doesn’t. They may even be able to help you pinpoint where your leads are coming from, so you know what channels and strategies to focus on to attract more business.
4. Give Every Patient and Customer the Attention They Deserve
Responsiveness, efficiency, and the ability to keep important business and pharmacy information accessible and up-to-date are all part of a successful patient-pharmacy relationship.
Focus on improving the quality of your patient relationships by making sure all their questions are answered and directing them to the information they need. If you have a lot of inbound calls, an interactive voice response (IVR) system is an effective way to manage call volume and automate manual tasks. When you have an organized workflow that directs people to the right information or the right healthcare provider, you can help them get what they need without waiting on hold.
IVR systems give community pharmacists the time to focus on one-on-one interactions, rather than fielding questions about basic business information such as pharmacy hours. Self-service IVR solutions also help streamline prescription refills, orders, and authorizations, so you can reduce interruptions and increase efficiency while providing secure, quality customer service 24/7.
5. Consider an All-In-One Pharmacy Software Solution
As your pharmacy prepares for a digital future, you’ll need to consider how these different tools work together to support your pharmacy as a whole. It’s no longer enough to simply offer solutions for digital users. Instead, your ability to create a unified patient experience lies in connectivity, the seamless integration of your tools across multiple platforms.
At Digital Pharmacist, our goal is to give pharmacies the tools they need to stand out from the competition and promote business growth. From cloud-based communication and adherence to digital marketing and reputation management, we offer a comprehensive digital engagement suite designed to future-proof your pharmacy and transform the way you do business.
Our all-in-one HIPAA-compliant solution integrates seamlessly, working with more than 70 pharmacy management systems to optimize your performance. We support pharmacy-patient relationships through branded health sites and mobile apps, interactive voice response (IVR), digital marketing, and our newest direct secure communications solution.