Embrace change at NACDS Regional

NAPLES, Fla. — Change is not coming. Change is here. Are you prepared?

That’s the question regional chain pharmacies should be asking themselves as the healthcare landscape rapidly evolves and performance-based outcomes grow increasingly vital. That is why the 2014 NACDS Regional Chain Conference is perhaps more important than ever.

Coming to The Ritz-Carlton here in Naples, Fla., from Feb. 2 to Feb. 4, the Regional Chain Conference is an invaluable and unique educational and networking opportunity for senior executives who operate up to 250 retail pharmacy locations.

From one-on-one business meetings to educational sessions to interactive idea exchanges to get those creative juices flowing, this powerful event is not one to miss.

It is no secret that consolidation has significantly reshaped the regional landscape in recent years, and the evolving role of community pharmacy continues to fuel change throughout the industry. But what is certain is that, in many ways, regional players have been — and continue to be — leaders in evolution.

“Part of that comes from the simple reason that they are in many ways more nimble and efficient than some of the larger chains ... That being said, if you take a look at some of the issues that have been out there through the Regional Chain Conference over time, whether it be a front-end issue, a pharmacy issue, a federal legislative issue or a state legislative issue, some of the regionals have been the ones to see it and bring it to the forefront of NACDS first,” said Jim Whitman, SVP of member programs and services at NACDS.

Sharing his insights and perspectives on the industry will be regional executive Bob Narveson, president and CEO of Thrifty White Pharmacy. He will be delivering the “State of the Industry” update as part of his role as NACDS chairman.

“We have Bob Narveson, who is the NACDS chairman of the board, and is he a regional chain. He will be speaking at the conference, and a lot of people are looking forward to it. He is a very dynamic leader and chairman of NACDS,” Whitman said. “We are certainly looking forward to hearing Bob’s take on some of the challenges and opportunities in the industry.”

As noted earlier, the robust agenda includes, among other things, interactive idea exchanges, which are one-hour sessions featuring leading experts on topics related to pharmacy care and retail market trends.

“The program always gives us a good snapshot of the industry. It is appreciated and informative but, in addition, this year the idea exchanges are very important, and we need to understand the issues facing our membership and discuss solutions,” Narveson said. “Personally, I have always felt the idea exchanges help guide our decision-making process and are an essential part of the meeting.”

So what are some ways in which regional players can gear up and prepare for a successful meeting?

“For the retailers, we want you to take a look at the sessions and share with your other executives in your companies. ... We encourage everyone to do their homework. These companies are coming prepared with programs and solutions to help the regionals, so be prepared to ask for the help,” Whitman said. “For the supplier members, know the regionals. Know what is on their mind, and know the kinds of issues they are facing.”

Narveson added, “Review with your team what their biggest issues are and potential solutions so we can discuss them at the show, such as medication therapy management, patient access and specialty pharmacy. ... Come prepared looking for opportunities to expand your menu of services. Ask yourself questions such as, ‘What are you doing today for your patients that you could be looking to do better or adding to the services you provide to your patients?’ This kind of preparation can help ensure a successful conference experience.”

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