Can Long-Term Care Services Help Your Independent Pharmacy Stand Out from the Competition?

By Bill Popomaronis, RPh

You probably know by now that another major, independent consumer survey just affirmed that, given a choice, consumers prefer going to independent community pharmacies for their prescriptions.

At NCPA Pharmacy Ownership Workshops, sponsored by McKesson, I lecture to young entrepreneurs about how professionally rewarding it was for me to own my pharmacy. In running my pharmacy, my greatest weapons were good communication skills and a willingness to share myself emotionally and professionally with my patients.

My advice to today’s budding, independent pharmacists is to develop your own “purple cows” – services that distinguish you from the competition. In the mid 90s, mine was providing glucose meters and billing Medicare Part B when no one else wanted to do that labor-consuming job.

If you’re looking for your 2011 “purple cow,” then how about this?

Ten thousand “boomers” are turning 65 years old every day. These seniors and their caregivers will require services from the community pharmacies “right around the corner.”

Your opportunities begin with keeping seniors well, independent and in their homes for as long as they wish. They continue by assisting caregivers in navigating the inevitable physical, emotional and sometimes financial stress that comes with assisting loved ones.

As your patient moves from the home to more appropriate and supportive care settings, such as retirement communities and nursing homes, your challenge is how to assist long-term care (LTC) facilities in efficiently providing medication and medication counseling as well as limiting waste.

I believe that, like most patients report in national surveys, LTC facility managers would rather deal with the independent “right around the corner” if given a choice. They can’t talk to the mailbox right?

Do you “speak” the language of long-term care? Are you following government regulations like short-cycle dispensing that are sure to impact your margins?

In 2011, pharmacy is a high volume–low margin business, but like I say to attendees of our ownership workshops, “you are not paid in percent, but dollars.”

What’s your plan to reach out to the long-term care facilities in your community? Do you see your opportunity yet?

Need help? Drop me a line.

2 Responses to “Can Long-Term Care Services Help Your Independent Pharmacy Stand Out from the Competition?”

  1. 1 Sharon May 11, 2011 at 1:34 am

    Great article- long term care is a great avenue for independent pharmacies to explore. Unfortunatley, operational issues such as being on-call at all hours and often limits operations. We offer a service that provides on-call pharmacist services, back up medications, delivery of medications, drug information and more- all tailored to support your daily operations.

  2. 2 sara December 27, 2011 at 7:39 am

    good article..will take into consideration of this option when i open my pharmacy in April 2012…I am now thinking of what other service i can provide to make my pharmacy stand out. I dont have competitor in my area with population of +10,000.. But still people in Malaysia are not really appreciate independent pharmacy as they get free medicine in public hospital. We still haven’t imposed Dispensing right as doctor’s really against it.. poor pharmacist in Malaysia!!.

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