Patient Survey Finds More Good News for Independent Community Pharmacies


By Kevin Schweers

Independent community pharmacies score high once again in customer service, according to the recently released Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmacy Satisfaction Pulse survey of patients. Chain Drug Review has run an interesting series of articles on the survey’s findings. This blog post looks at the survey from the independent community pharmacy perspective.

Independent pharmacies garnered the top satisfaction scores among all pharmacies. Ninety-one percent of patients who said they primarily use an independent pharmacy said they are overall very satisfied or satisfied. Independents also scored highest in key factors such as filling prescriptions accurately and efficiently, convenience, pharmacy/staff, loyalty and likelihood to return and to recommend to someone else.

That’s consistent with past surveys in this series. Also in line with past years is the fact that mail order receives the lowest satisfaction rates among patients, compared to all other pharmacy options.

Some other numbers of note from the survey include:

  • Independent pharmacy consumers were among the most likely pharmacy users to say their pharmacy had improved over the past year (on top of already high satisfaction scores in the previous surveys). Mail order patients were least likely to report an improvement in service.

  • Patients of independent pharmacies receive their prescriptions within 20 minutes on average—much more promptly than those who patron other pharmacies. Patients said it takes two or three time as long, on average, to receive their prescription at other brick-and-mortar pharmacies. Moreover, one-third of independents’ customers received their prescription in 10 minutes or less.

  • Independent pharmacists interact with their customers far more often compared to other pharmacy types. Perhaps not surprisingly, a much larger percentage of independent pharmacy customers report the pharmacy staff as the main reason they chose their pharmacy, compared to other options.

  • Independent pharmacies scored slightly higher than mail order in patient satisfaction with pricing. Yet, on a separate question, the vast majority of mail order customers (69 percent) report choosing mail because of “pricing/insurance” (emphasis added). Arguably, this reinforces the conventional wisdom that few patients willingly seek out mail order pharmacies, but many are required to use them by insurance plans, even if the costs to the plan may be higher.

  • Independent pharmacies’ helpfulness with insurance issues increased markedly compared to the same 2012 survey.

The full survey has plenty of other nuggets that patients and independent community pharmacy staff alike may find informative. Previous editions of the survey can be found at www.pharmacysatisfaction.com.

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