The old adage goes, “You have to spend money to make money.” When it comes to operating your own business, that’s absolutely true. And one of the best ways for your pharmacy to make more money — and to better help your patients — is to provide clinical care services for your community.
But the desire alone to add services isn’t enough to make it happen. You need a plan. And, as with any business venture, you need a little starter capital to get things up and running.
But before we analyze how you can make clinical services happen in your pharmacy, let’s take a look at why you need to make them happen.
Addressing the Need for More Clinical Care Options
The idea of providing clinical services in a pharmacy is not a recent phenomenon. For decades, pharmacists have been consulting patients, often going above and beyond the act of simply dispensing medication. So what’s different about now?
They’re getting paid for it, for starters.
In the past, state regulations didn’t allow pharmacists to provide medical services. But that changed once individual states started granting provider status to pharmacists. While pharmacists still don’t have that status at the federal level, many feel it is only a matter of time before any practicing pharmacist will be able to provide and be reimbursed for medical care.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic drastically increased calls for pharmacist provider status. Suddenly, the idea of going to doctors’ offices or hospitals was about as desirable as a surprise root canal for many patients. Getting basic medical care at the pharmacy just down the street was not only a more convenient option, but a safer one as well. And now that it’s an option for millions of people, they don’t really want to go back to the way things were.
The decision to provide clinical services in your pharmacy comes with a lot of requirements. We went over some of the things you should consider in a previous article, but here are just a few of the things you’ll need:
- A dedicated, well-stocked space to see patients
- A comprehensive clinical documentation system
- Enough staff to cover both the clinical and dispensing areas
As you guessed, each of the above requires a significant investment. So, where will that investment come from?
Pharmacy Intelligence is the Answer
Everything is data, and data is everything. Pharmacy intelligence is the process of analyzing the data from your pharmacy management system and using it to make better decisions for your patients and your business. And the need for pharmacy intelligence has never been stronger than it is today. With everyday economic turmoil, changing reimbursement rates, and other factors eating away at store profitability, pharmacists are having to get creative to stay in the black and keep their patients healthy.
Using a pharmacy intelligence solution like MyDataMart from EnlivenHealth enables you to boost your pharmacy profits without diving into all that data manually. After all, if you’re aiming to open a clinical practice, the one thing you absolutely don’t have is any time to waste.
The most significant way you can use pharmacy intelligence to boost your profits is to target missing refills. Compile a list of medications that are due (or overdue) for a refill but, for whatever reason, have not been filled. Contact those patients and ask if they’d like to refill the medications. Not only are you adding fills (and revenue), you’re also helping patients be more adherent to their medication plan. It’s a win-win.
Making Sure the Plan Comes Together
Now that you know how you’re going to fund your clinical care endeavor, what comes next? Lay out a plan. Make sure every I is dotted and every T is crossed. Here are a few suggestions for things to consider:
- How much will it cost to set up your clinical care space? Will you need to do any renovations? Do you want to set up a temporary space before opening a permanent one?
- How much will supplies for your clinical care space cost? This isn’t a time to be frugal. Overestimate on every item you can think of, then add 5-10 percent for a cushion.
- What will your clinical care hours be? Who will staff your clinical care center? What will be their hourly rate?
If you keep these things in mind, you’ll have everything you need to properly budget for your clinical care center opening.
Most pharmacists know that expanding into the clinical care is the future of pharmacy. Simply filling prescriptions is not going to be enough to sustain the business. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use the act of filling prescriptions to help launch your clinical services.
With pharmacy intelligence and some good, old-fashioned patient outreach, you’ll have enough capital to launch your clinical care center in no time.