• LATEST PHARMACY NEWS AND EDITORIAL

    LATEST PHARMACY NEWS AND EDITORIAL

Plan for the upcoming flu season, Don't let it sneak up on you!

Although many think flu vaccination programs begin in late summer, the key to a successful program is year long planning. This year it is more important than ever. According to a Reuters poll, over 60% of Americans say they will receive a flu shot this year. In a normal year, less than half get vaccinated. A survey conducted by CVS Health shows the percent of people who say they will get vaccinated rising from 34% to 65%.

There are three important parts to a great vaccination program-

·        Supply procurement

·        Protocols and procedures

·        Marketing

Many suppliers have fast approaching deadlines for reserving vaccines. It seems it takes a crystal ball to know how much to order, for an over supply can result in waste and reduced profits while a lack of supply can lead to frustration and unfilled promises. While in store demand should be higher this year, it is also important to consider the effect of flu clinics and off-site business clinics. It is very unlikely that we will see large numbers of seniors lining up at a community flu clinic this year. Likewise, businesses that have participated in on site programs in the past will face new logistical issues. We may also see many people still working from home where in the past they received their vaccination at the office. We would anticipate that demand in long term care facilities will rise. It is important to have discussions as soon as possible with the coordinators of the offsite clinics for it is wrong to assume it will be business as usual. Despite these challenges, it is wise to anticipate demand will be greater this year. Most importantly, make sure you reserve your supply in a timely manner. You may also want to order syringes and swabs earlier than usual.

Protocols and procedures are more important than ever. What additional steps will be necessary to protect your staff and your patients while administering the vaccine both in store and off site? It goes without saying that adequate PPE is mandatory and that social distancing must be observed. Reducing paperwork is also essential. Where possible, having the patients complete an online form and retrieve product information through a portal may decrease patient contact. Perhaps the traditional community clinics could be replaced by drive up clinics. If businesses are hesitant to host a clinic, a strong voucher program may be an answer.

Marketing will be essential. Each year it seems we start earlier and earlier but even if you do not plan on giving vaccinations until late August or early September, it is never too early to market. An educational web site and social media presence can help patients understand the importance of the flu vaccine. Communication with local businesses on how you can help keep their staff healthy should be started now. Work with agencies who specialize in seniors to find ways to serve their clients. Begin discussions with the long-term care facilities on how your program will work this year.

Just as the flu can sneak up on you, so can the flu season. Start planning now, everyone is counting on you.
Continue reading
  499 Hits
  0 Comments
499 Hits
0 Comments

Teaching your Way to Great Management

There is no doubt a pharmacy manager is asked to wear many hats, clinician, health advisor, businessperson, and leader to name a few. We are often so busy that one important aspect of pharmacy management is often overlooked. It is imperative that a pharmacy manager not only be a good teacher but also establish a culture of teaching in their stores.

I frequently see pharmacists who insist that they do the data entry, fix adjudication issues, do the nightly order, and most every other task. When asked why they operate in this manner I may hear “because I am the fastest” or “no-one else knows how to do it”. This is a recipe for failure and will lead to burnout, staff dissatisfaction, and ultimately poor customer service. Staff members who work in this environment often feel unappreciated or not worthy of trust and will consistently underperform.

I also see technicians who see themselves as valuable because they are the only ones who can proficiently due a task. This may be true until they go on vacation or have an illness. The most valuable technicians are not the ones who “protect their turf” but are the ones who can teach others and elevate their team members.
A good pharmacy manager understands that when problems arise, or business grows, their first responsibility is “to find a solution not BE the solution”.

While simply working harder may get you through a temporary situation, teaching, delegating, and helping your staff achieve will always make your store stronger.
Continue reading
  419 Hits
  0 Comments
419 Hits
0 Comments

The Three C,s

The Three C,s
Joe has worked at the pharmacy for several years. He is the best at data entry by far, and is a good moral person, yet his one flaw seems to be he likes to “stir the pot” with the rest of the staff resulting in frequent skirmishes.

Sally is also a good task performer and gets along well with the rest of the staff, however at times she is late and not always completely honest. Jill is an upstanding person who is liked by the staff, yet she struggles to understand essential aspects of her position.

Who is a valuable team member?

Good team members all share three essential traits known as the three C’s, Competence, Character, and Chemistry.

It is clear that competence is demanded in pharmacy. Today’s environment of slim margins dictates that each team member must be able to fill their position in a competent manner. Patient safety can never be compromised. A lack of competence can be overcome by being clear in your expectations and insisting that everyone be good teachers.

Character is also of utmost importance. Team members who have the heart of a servant, are honest and dependable, and have a good work ethic will always convey to your patients that your store is worthy of their trust. Any team member who lacks character can ruin the reputation of the entire store.

It is often the third C that leads to failure. It is nonnegotiable that all team members try to get along with others, be supportive of management decisions, and communicate well with all. Your staff is your most valuable asset, for only they can deliver your promise of excellent service to your patients.

In looking at the above examples, Joe is strong on two of the three C’s yet fails miserably on the other. If he were getting a grade, he would be at 2 out of 3 or 67%. Joe is not valuable at 67%. Helping him understand his shortcomings not only will bring him up to 100%, it will make everyone’s life easier.
Insist that every team member can pass the three C’s test. It certainly starts at the top. Good leaders who consistently show competence, character, and chemistry will set an example that will flow through all layers of the organization.
Continue reading
  173 Hits
  0 Comments
173 Hits
0 Comments

Doing a Budget Makes you More Money

Doing a Budget Makes you More Money
Now that we all have computers in our pockets its hard to remember a time when we needed a roadmap. Some of my fondest memories are sitting in the front seat with the map unfolded and helping my Dad navigate our family trips. Even now we rely on our GPS to tell us where we are going and to get us safely to our destination.

That is what a budget does for your business.

As the famous philosopher, the Chesire Cat once said, "If you don't know where you are going any road will take you there". Without a well thought out budget we can not know where our business is headed and we are destined to allow distractions and bumps in the road to keep us from our goals. We would not think of starting out on a long journey with no directions and likewise we should not conduct our business without a clear vision of expectations.

The staff at Independent Rx Consulting will be glad to work with you to create an effective budget and keep you on track.

By the way, my family only got lost a time or two :)
Continue reading
  303 Hits
  0 Comments
303 Hits
0 Comments

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.
Continue reading
  364 Hits
  0 Comments
364 Hits
0 Comments

Signup For Our Mailing List