Proactive Vaccination Protocols: The Benefits of Offering Vaccination Services In-Pharmacy

Aug 23, 2018 | Independent Pharmacy Insights, Pharmacy Growth

In previous blogs, we touched on how the evolution of the healthcare industry’s landscape continues to move at a rapid clip . We also examined ways pharmacists can leverage these changes to improve patient relationships, advocacy, and growth.

Because healthcare’s continued evolution is a key driver in how pharmacies are managed and utilized, it comes as no surprise to pharmacists that their roles in administering care and providing education to their customers – like providing vaccination services – continue to evolve right alongside the market.

Benefits of Being Proactive on Vaccinations

Vaccinations are one area of healthcare that see regular changes in efficacy and evolution. And, if approached correctly, these changes can clear the path for opportunities that benefit an independent pharmacy’s bottom line.

These benefits include:

  • Providing an additional revenue stream – offering easy access and low-cost flu vaccinations is a common component for pharmacies. However, offering co-vaccination and/or travel vaccinations can bring more traffic into your pharmacy.
  • Increasing a pharmacist’s footprint in the community – by offering vaccination services and being proactive in the vaccination drive, you will be increasing the visibility of your pharmacy’s footprint in the community.
  • Enhancing the visibility of the pharmacy with public health agencies to address public health risks and support vaccination awareness campaigns, which can generate more patient awareness and engagement.

Live Data and Physician Partnerships

Community pharmacies are able to acquire live data from direct patient interactions, and vaccinations are one of those face-to-face moments where a lot of data can be gleaned. This live data can help to supplement analytics on medication adherence, compliance, and side effects – to name just a few.

With new guidelines in place to improve quality of patient care and positive outcomes, having access to this data makes partnerships between local physicians and pharmacists appealing to both parties as it can increase patient base, lower costs/enable cost sharing, and boost revenue for both physicians and pharmacies.

Pharmacists contribute meaningfully to patient care. Historically, when close involvement of pharmacists has been observed, immunizations increased, care coordination improved, and patients felt more confident about their ability to manage their medication and healthcare (1).

Understanding Limitations

Independent pharmacists who are thinking of offering immunization services should start slowly and work their way up. Influenza vaccines and pneumococcal vaccines are a great starting point. As pharmacists (and customers) get more comfortable, these vaccine services can expand to others that are recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (2).

Some of those vaccinations include:

  • Zoster
  • Tetanus
  • Hepatitis
  • Measles/mumps/rubella (MMR)

When permitted by state law*, pharmacists also can administer the MMR vaccine and other essential childhood vaccines to infants and children. Pharmacists who are unable to administer vaccinations to children should always make it a point to at least educate parents on the importance of vaccinations.

Your pharmacy may also want to join a buying group. Many pharmacy buying groups today offer discounted pricing on vaccinations as well as discounts on training courses to help get pharmacists certified in administering immunizations.

Closing Thoughts

Having vaccination services available in-pharmacy saves costs and provides revenue while also aiding in the improvement of patient health. This is a positive contribution to better outcomes and illustrates the high-value of independent pharmacists in a successful healthcare team.

Expanding services with offers like vaccinations helps pharmacists, helps physicians, and helps patients. This makes it worth looking into for any independent pharmacy that’s looking to boost their foothold in the community and remain relevant and profitable for years to come.

Has your pharmacy participated in any vaccination programs? Have you found a particular program more popular or helpful than another? Which one was it? How has your pharmacy benefited –– or not –– from vaccination protocols your pharmacy has put in place?

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.

* Laws on the type of vaccination, who can administer them, and who those vaccinations can be administered to, vary from state to state. For example, in Florida, pharmacists can only administer vaccinations to people over the age of 18 – not children.

Understanding these laws can be key to offering a vaccination program or service unique to your area, which helps build your footprint in the community as a trusted and reliable healthcare provider. But be sure to check local laws and guidelines before implementing any program first.