Community Pharmacy: The Importance of Positive Community Relationships

Aug 16, 2018 | Pharmacy Growth, Pharmacy Insights

Remember community pharmacy’s good old days when patients knew pharmacists by name and weren’t afraid to ask them questions? When the pharmacist was considered the community’s most trusted and relied-upon healthcare adviser? When the pharmacy had real, face-to-face connections with the community?

As much as we enjoy strolling down memory lane, we’re not here to talk nostalgia. We’re here to talk about the advantages your community pharmacy has — right here, right now — against chain and big box pharmacies. And, these advantages are based on a fundamental attribute: your relationship with the community.

Community Pharmacy Serves Patients the Best of Both Worlds.

Quality, face-to-face patient relationships have all but disappeared with big box retail stores and chain pharmacies. However, as old-fashioned as they may sound, these relationships are part of the ‘secret sauce’ ingredient that keeps the community pharmacy relevant and viable, even amidst volatile healthcare market conditions.

Community Relationships can Amazon-Proof Your Pharmacy

Technology and innovation have ways of attracting consumers who like to try new things before anyone else (early-adopters). And, with technology innovators like Amazon (which has access to virtually every household address in the U.S.) moving closer to pharmacy market entry, retail and big box stores that don’t foster deeper, personal community relationships may be at risk of losing customers and, ultimately, their businesses. With each move Amazon has made toward entering the market, such as its June 2018 acquisition of online pharmacy PillPack, large chains have reported stock price drops and lower sales.

So, which advantages help to guard your pharmacy?

  • Your relationship with the community isn’t one born of a quick internet transaction — it’s likely built on a proven patient-centric plan that has the best of both worlds: it incorporates face-to-face patient experiences and first-name relationships with the conveniences of modern technology.
  • Ideally, your pharmacy’s business model focuses not just on the balance sheet, but on community relationships and contributions. You do more than fill prescriptions. You probably offer vaccinations, health programs, ways to manage chronic conditions, and money-saving preventative care that’s personal and not delivered by an impersonal, contracted service provider.
  • Your pharmacy creates and uses live data, the in-person information you get from your patients for a more holistic (not transactional) view of their health. This includes checking and personally managing outcomes such as medication efficacy, side effects, drug interaction risks, and even where they stand with their current vaccinations.
  • Your community relationship means that you know your community better than anyone. This makes your pharmacy a virtually limitless resource for supporting public and community health initiatives and can reveal partner opportunities with other community healthcare providers, such as physicians, to improve patient outcomes and keep your bottom line stronger.
  • Closing Thoughts

    Has your pharmacy participated in any efforts to boost pharmacy/customer interaction? Have you found one approach more helpful than another? Which effort had the most impact? How has your pharmacy benefited –– or not –– from initiatives you’ve implemented?

    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.

    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.