• LATEST PHARMACY NEWS AND EDITORIAL

    LATEST PHARMACY NEWS AND EDITORIAL

Our latest thoughts and inspirations on buying a pharmacy, starting a pharmacy, and ongoing pharmacy operations

Who is your Biggest Customer?

As independent pharmacists we all know our best customers. Perhaps it is Mary who is on ten maintenance meds, or Joe who takes several high dollar medications, or Doc who brings donuts to the staff every Thursday. But who is responsible for depositing the most money into your account, who is your "best" customer? Unfortunately it is not Mary, or Joe, or Doc.

It's the PBMs.

Just as you take great pride in getting to understand Mary, Joe, and Doc you also have an obligation to understand your biggest payers. Who are your top five payers? What has been the trends of Rx filled, revenue, and margin? Has there been a change to the contract or enrollment? The Independent Rx Consulting Dashboard can have these answers at your fingertips along with every other metric that is vital to your business. Mary, Joe, and Doc will always be the heart of independepent pharmacy but knowing your numbers will allow you to continue to provide them with the service that can only come from an independent. By the way, tell Doc I prefer the jelly filled.
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Outsource Your Accounting and Grow Your Business

Outsource Your Accounting and Grow Your Business
It sounds ridiculous that your accountant can help you with sales and marketing. However pharmacy owners for some reason want to do all the bookkeeping, bill paying, payroll, etc by themselves. But this is not efficient, you as the pharmacy owner are not trained to do accounting you are trained to be a pharmacist and work with patients. In addition to this it is hard to outsource sales & marketing, inventory management, workflow improvement. These are business practices that you as the owner have to be involved in. But if you are in the office entering bills, creating financials, etc you are not spending that valuable time out cross selling to your customers or meeting with a doctor.

Think about the following -  one doctor sending you referrals could pay for 3 accountants. So stop doing the things that can be outsourced and do the things that either cannot or that you can make the biggest impact on.
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Grow Your Pharmacy by Presenting Solutions to Customer Problems

Grow Your Pharmacy by Presenting Solutions to Customer Problems
One of the pillars of independent pharmacy is great customer service. We have an obligation to our patients to be professional, prompt, and personal and it seems all goes well until a problem arises, the patient is out of refills, we are out of a medication, a prescription needs a prior authorization, and so forth. These are obstacles that we face every day. It is when these problems arise that customer service can really shine or go terribly wrong. Communication is key in these situations and it is essential to teach this simple rule to the staff- Never tell a patient about a problem unless you tell them how you are going to fix it.

For instance, never say “you are out of refills” unless you follow it with “but don’t worry, I am going to contact your doctor for you and when I hear back I will give you a call. If you need a few tablets to hold you over it’s no problem”. Or don’t say “we are out of stock on your medicine” without saying “but it will be in first thing tomorrow and we will deliver it for you.” Furthermore, the sooner the problem is communicated the better. We should not wait until the patient makes a trip to the store only to tell them there is a problem.

Over the next few days, listen carefully to how the staff communicates issues to your patients. Great service demands that we be great problem solvers. As amazing as it seems, these simple rules will greatly increase your customer service and set you apart from the competition.
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Pharmacy Inventory Management 101

Pharmacy Inventory Management 101
In an average pharmacy, 80 cents of every dollar that is generated goes toward one thing, purchasing inventory. That is why inventory management is one of the most important aspects of managing a pharmacy. Following are a few basic tips that you may find helpful.

  • The number one goal of inventory is to have what MOST people need. A sure fire way to lose customers is to continually be out of stock which results in a major inconvenience. On the other hand if you are the owner that takes pride in having what no one else has or always stocks seldom used items, you are destined to have cash flow problems since all of your money is now on your shelves. Remember the goal, have what MOST people need.
  • Do everything you can to remove slow movers from your inventory. A slow mover is anything that has not sold in the last 100 days. An average store may have as much of 20% of the inventory in this category. Each week you should generate a report identifying items that can be returned or if your computer system can not supply this information, you can simply comb the shelves and look for full bottles with a purchase date prior to three months. It doesn’t take as long as you think and it could free up considerable cash. While the textbooks will teach you that inventory turns is the standard measurement of inventory efficiency, concentrate on slow movers and the turns will take care of themselves.
  • Utilizing med synch can benefit your pharmacy in many ways, increased compliance, better payroll management, and many more. However one of the greatest benefits is inventory management. Having the ability to predict when high dollar prescriptions are to be filled and ordering the item a few days ahead can greatly decrease your inventory.
  • Lastly dedicate time to keep your inventory accurate. An average pharmacy may have around 2,000 items in stock. Without a system to insure the counts are correct, it is inevitable that you will end up having to count all 2,000.
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Why getting Financials in a Timely Manner from your Accountant is so Important

Why getting Financials in a Timely Manner from your Accountant is so Important
Corporations spend millions and millions of dollars annually trying to find a way to get data about there business as often as possible. Many try to get it in real time. Why is this? It is because they need data to make decisions.

The same is true in an independent pharmacy. If you receive your financials 30 to 45 days after the end of the month it is too late. You have to see what happened in a month. Did you make money? Did you lose money? Do you need to make changes to stop a negative trend? Did the program you put in place to grow sales actually work?

The pharmacies that get there financials on time and then use them to make decisions quickly are those that perform the best and weather unknown challenges like PBM reimbursement changes.
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