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Q&A: Women in pharmacy

BY DSN STAFF

McKesson’s RxOwnership program helps independent pharmacy owners, prospective owners and pharmacy students develop a plan to buy or build their own pharmacy. Drug Store News recently caught up with Bob Graul, National VP, RxOwnership, McKesson, to talk about how the program has seen an increase in women pharmacists interested in ownership in recent years.

DSN: What are the opportunities for women in the retail pharmacy landscape?

Bob Graul: The face of pharmacy is changing as the percentage of women pharmacists and pharmacy owners has steadily increased over the past 20 years. We believe these bright, energetic healthcare providers can help propel the next generation of independent pharmacy forward at a time when the opportunities for retail pharmacy have never been greater. Today’s women pharmacy professionals, armed with business acumen and clinical knowledge, can help drive greater adoption of innovative technology and clinical services in the pharmacy, elevating the role of independent pharmacy within the healthcare system.

DSN: How is McKesson supporting women pharmacists who are interested in pharmacy ownership?

Graul: In 2008, McKesson launched the RxOwnership program, dedicated to providing independent pharmacy owners, prospective owners and pharmacy students with the tools to help them map out their future. In recent years, the program has seen an increase in women pharmacists interested in ownership, in addition to greater support for women pharmacists within the industry. For example, the APhA Foundation established a Women in Pharmacy Campaign that recognizes the outstanding contributions of all trailblazers, mentors, colleagues, wives, sisters and daughters who have paved the way for colleagues in the pharmacy profession, which McKesson supports.

At ideaShare 2012, McKesson will host its second Women in Pharmacy reception with the goal of increasing peer-to-peer interaction and the sharing of ideas and best practices among women pharmacy professionals. In the future, we plan to collaborate more closely with industry thought leaders to introduce even more social-networking opportunities and education sessions targeted at women pharmacists.

DSN: Can you share some of the unique challenges facing women pharmacists interested in ownership?

Graul: Some of the women pharmacists that we have helped with pharmacy ownership were challenged with learning to balance family life and work life. Not only were they already working full days counseling patients, they were leading full lives outside of the pharmacy, and yet they also needed to find time to plan for a successful path to ownership.

It was rewarding to hear from Nital Patel, owner and pharmacist of Chicago Plaza Health Mart, speak on our RxOwnership panel last year at ideaShare. She shared her experience with McKesson and highlighted the confidence and resources we were able to provide as she made the leap from pharmacist to pharmacy owner. McKesson understands that every pharmacist has different needs and business goals; it’s important that we help them address both.

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Pharmacist and patient engagement leads to better patient outcomes

BY Matt Lowe

Serving as trusted and accessible resources, community pharmacists have a unique opportunity to help patients adhere to their medication regimens and improve outcomes. Ninety-five percent of all Americans live within five miles of their community pharmacy, and in a 2011 Gallup poll, pharmacists were ranked second only to nurses on their list of the most honest and ethical professionals. 

New technologies and automated systems, such as pharmacy processing software and robotic dispensers, reduce the time to fill and verify prescriptions. As a result, pharmacists have more time to engage with patients and take on clinical tasks, such as patient coaching and medication education. Targeted behavioral-based patient conversations delivered in the pharmacy can help patients better understand their disease or illness, the role and function of their medication, and the importance of adherence.

Building on the benefits of this patient-centric approach, there are a growing number of opportunities for pharmacies to participate in programs targeted at improving medication adherence, including pharmacist counseling sessions, adherence outreach and medication reminder programs. Integrating with pharmacy software to alert pharmacists to sponsored clinical opportunities, these programs provide training and many include compensation for offering behavioral coaching sessions to help patients overcome adherence barriers, enrolling patients in savings programs, and providing information about clinical trials to eligible patients.

McKesson’s Pharmacy Intervention Program found patients who received face-to-face behavioral coaching from their pharmacists showed significant adherence benefits. For example, COPD patients who received coaching showed an average of 1.6 incremental fills over 12 months, and patients coached in multiple diabetes programs showed an average of four incremental refills over 12 months when compared to patients who did not receive behavioral coaching.
With specialized education and training in patient health, and the fact that they are one of the most trusted professionals, pharmacists are ideally placed to help improve patient outcomes. Combined with technology advances, this trend is likely to grow.

For more information on trends the adherence experts at McKesson Patient Relationship Solutions see shaping the future of medication nonadherence, view “The Future of Medication Adherence” whitepaper here.

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SymphonyIRI Group provides a peek ‘Inside the Mind of the Shopper’ at Marketplace

BY Antoinette Alexander

DENVER — Monday morning kicked off with a bang at NACDS Marketplace, as SymphonyIRI Group’s Navin Gautam took attendees inside the mind of today’s value-conscious shopper.

“Delivering truly shopper-centric value is going to be key, and neither manufacturers nor retailers can do it alone,” Gautam, principal of client services for SymphonyIRI, told attendees during his presentation, titled “Inside the Mind of the Shopper: Understanding the Difference in Motivation by Generations.”

Gautam explained that a series of “shocks” have rocked the U.S. economy since 2007— such as high unemployment rates, commodity inflation, investment depreciation and the Euro-zone crisis — and have given rise to a new value-conscious consumer.

Concern over rising medical costs also has impacted the mindset of shoppers. In fact, a 2010 Deloitte survey found that only 25% of U.S. consumers remain confident that they are able to deal with future medical costs.

In light of these concerns, consumers increasingly are looking for ways to save money. For example, research showed that many shoppers are looking to save money by going to the doctor less and increasingly are self-treating (36%), and many are turning to at-home beauty treatments to curb costs (35%).

Gautam also told attendees that, according to research, the use of coupons and circulars in trip planning remains strong but there are slight differences that exist across generations. Younger generations tend to clip and use more coupons compared with older generations, who tend to research circulars.

Technology (i.e., smartphones and social media) also is changing the retail landscape and represents significant opportunities, especially when it comes to mobile couponing. For example, research showed that 75% of shoppers make a list prior to shopping, 10.6% of list makers use technology and among those list makers who use technology, 69% use a smartphone.

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