Changes in the pharmacy profession are cycling quicker and quicker as technology and healthcare advances without pause. Change is often daunting – we get comfortable in our routines and hope for as little turbulence as possible, especially when dealing with something as complicated and vital as pharmaceuticals.
These rapid changes can often leave pharmacies feeling disoriented and unsure of which direction they should focus their attention. Questions arise. Can my pharmacy compete? Will we still be relevant in ten years? How can I keep my customers coming through my door and not the chain pharmacy’s doors?
These are all important questions that deserve actionable answers.
The good news is that changes in healthcare and pharmaceutical legislation actually create an opportunity for pharmacists to advocate – not only for themselves, but for their patients. Advocacy allows pharmacists to keep up with legislative changes and ensure their organizations are performing to the height of their potential.
Check out these four key advocacy actions your pharmacy can take to help remain relevant and vital within the communities you serve:
1. Legislation - Stay Educated and Active
Pharmacists who are up to date on legislative topics concerning the pharmacy industry have a stronger knowledge base and are more able to adapt to changes (or anticipate changes), making for smoother transitions for their pharmacies and their customers.
Pro tip: Stay educated on legislative issues affecting public health and pharmacy, and become active in the legislative efforts of pharmacy organizations or keep in personal contact with local legislators and advocates.
2. Be Supportive
Staying active in the community as it discusses pending legislation, whether through volunteer work or financial support, helps get (and keep) the pharmacy owner's name and organization in the conversation. This visibility can potentially increase the pharmacy’s thought-leadership position and, in addition, the level of trust the pharmacy holds in its community.
Pro tip: Support lobbying efforts of state and national pharmacy organizations by volunteering or contributing financially.
3. Join a Pharmacy Buying Group
If personal advocacy isn’t a realistic option for you or your pharmacy, consider joining a pharmacy buying group. Pharmacy buying groups that offer advocacy solutions can help keep you updated on legislation that's being discussed and decided, making you more aware of any changes that may be on the way.
Some pharmacy buying groups can even coordinate having the Representative or Senator from the pharmacy’s district visit the store, provide talking points for the pharmacist to discuss in regard to issues facing independent pharmacy, their patients, and prescription networks, and help facilitate discussions on how the senator can help support pharmacy friendly bills when they need co-sponsors or to vote in favor/opposition when the bill is up for a hearing.
Pro tip: Join a pharmacy buying group that focuses on advocacy – and let them take the lead while you still enjoy the benefit.
4. Be a Thought Leader
If you've taken all the necessary steps to stay educated and informed, your position as a thought leader will be solid. But be prepared, because being a thought leader in the pharmacy industry comes with responsibilities. One such responsibility is passing on your knowledge to the next generation of pharmacists to ensure that independent pharmacy continues to be recognized as a necessary and vital community asset. Be an active mentor to up-and-coming pharmacists and help build a solid foundation of trust, knowledge, and dependability that will help support the independent pharmacy industry for years to come.
Pharmacists must always advocate on behalf of their profession. Legislative issues plus regulatory and public health policy will always present an opportunity for pharmacists to learn more and be heard. The only question is: How much do you plan on doing to advocate for your pharmacy?
Has your pharmacy participated in any advocacy efforts? Have you found a particular advocacy action more helpful than another? Which action was it? How has your pharmacy benefited –– or not –– from advocacy efforts?
We’d love to know and may even share those experiences in future blog posts, white papers, and e-books. To share your story, please contact Jessica Gardner. Be heard, starting now!
And, of course, be sure to subscribe to our blog for more tips, insights and bulletins that can help grow your pharmacy and save you money – all from your partners at AlliantRx.
If you’re not yet a member, but are interested in building, running, and growing your independent pharmacy, simply implement some of these steps and contact your partners at AlliantRx today!