SEATTLE — At its annual Retail Business Conference for independent pharmacies, Cardinal Health presented its special publication Independent Pharmacy Best Practices Guide: Innovating Independents. This report highlights 14 unique programs, implemented by independent pharmacists from across the United States, that improve patient care and drive business results.
Cardinal Health provides pharmaceutical distribution and a vast array of business support services to more than 7,500 independent pharmacies from across the United States. The company invited its independent pharmacy sales force to nominate successful best practices from their customers. Retail pharmacy experts from Cardinal Health then selected 14 stories to be highlighted in this issue of Independent Pharmacy Best Practices, and invited members of its Retail Advisory Boards, which are comprised of leading independent pharmacists from across the country, to select three finalists.
At RBC 2013’s Industry General Session, event attendees viewed videos highlighting the three finalists and were invited to ‘text to vote’ for the most innovative best practice. The winners of the text-to-vote competition were Kasey Woods and Amy Brian of Midtown Pharmacy in Whitsett, N.C., and Cardinal Health will donate $7,000 to the Medical University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy in their honor.
The company will also donate $2,000 to Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s College of Pharmacy in honor of second-place winner Amy Carothers of Daniel’s Drug and Wellness Pharmacy, in Guthrie, Okla.; and $1,000 to Drake University’s College of Pharmacy in honor of third place finalists Sam and Samantha Zoske of Medicap Pharmacy 8004 in Marshalltown, Iowa.
The three independent pharmacies that were recognized as finalists at Cardinal Health’s Best Practices Text-to-Vote competition at RBC 2013 are:
- Diabetes University – Kasey Woods and Amy Brian, Midtown Pharmacy, Whitsett, N.C. – Several years ago, Midtown Pharmacy recognized the need for education to help persons with diabetes and their caregivers improve their quality of life. The store uses a series of educational presentations and resources, developed by Cardinal Health, to offer once monthly classes for diabetes education and support. Amy Brian, a pharmacist at Midtown Pharmacy and a certified diabetes educator (CDE), coordinates the program. Although many participants are not initially Midtown customers, Brian says they often transfer their prescriptions to Midtown after participating, as a result of their confidence in the pharmacy’s knowledge and outstanding level of care. This program also boosts sales of diabetic supplies and increases patient compliance with their medications. Four weeks after a patient completes the program, the store conducts follow-ups by phone, as well as a 4-6 month follow up to check patient progress toward goals set during instruction. “It’s important that we don’t just grab these patients, educate them for a few hours and then turn them loose. We want to provide them ongoing education so that they are constantly learning. Ultimately, this builds loyalty to our store and keeps them coming back,” says Brian. Midtown Pharmacy has successfully marketed the program, the cost of which is covered 100 percent by Medicare and Medicaid, by connecting with doctor’s offices for referrals, via their website and through word-of-mouth advocacy.
- Hormone Testing and Treatment Program – Amy Carothers, Daniel’s Drug and Wellness Pharmacy, Guthrie, Okla. –Daniel’s Drug and Wellness Pharmacy began compounding specific hormone therapies for patients to meet their community’s growing need for customized medication. They coupled this new service with monthly seminars for women, giving them more information about hormone therapies and choices as well as in-home and video educational counseling. Store owner and pharmacist Amy Carothers says, “We are health advocates for our patients. After my own personal struggle with infertility, I wanted to help women understand their bodies and hormones. I believe that patients need to take charge of their own lives. They need to educate themselves on their health and their medication options.” Daniel’s Drug and Wellness went from filling 20-30 compounded prescriptions per month to 200-300 per month by offering hormone education to customers, dramatically increasing profits.
- Prescription Auto Fill Program – Sam & Samantha Zoske of Medicap Pharmacy 8004, Marshalltown, Iowa – Medicap Pharmacy 8004 faced low margins and tight cash flow issues in its small town. To address these challenges, the store used Cardinal Health’s Inventory Manager to analyze their dispensed medications and develop a prescription auto fill program. Store owner Sam Zoske says the program eliminates patients’ wait time for prescriptions and helps increase the likelihood that they’re medication compliant. The program has also successfully reduced inventory by 40 percent and decreased inventory cost by nearly $140,000 in the last year. After a patient is signed up, a pharmacist simply notifies the patient when a prescription is ready via email, phone or text, based on preference. The store currently has 40-50 percent of its patient base signed up for this program and markets it to all potential new patients.
“The independent pharmacists we serve are always striving to provide high-quality, personalized care to patients while positioning their businesses to succeed,” said Steve Lawrence, senior vice president of independent sales for Cardinal Health. “We’re delighted to honor this year’s winner and finalists by sharing their best practices at RBC 2013, and we congratulate them for their commitment to community pharmacy excellence.”
Hard copies of Independent Pharmacy Best Practices 2013, Innovating Independents, are available to all attendees of RBC 2013 and online.