Magazine article Drug Topics

Homework Holds Key to R.Ph. Services Success

Magazine article Drug Topics

Homework Holds Key to R.Ph. Services Success

Article excerpt

The motto "If you build it, they will come" may work for baseball fields, but it's not that simple for pharmacists who want to build a pharmaceutical care practice. If patients and physicians don't know about your services, they won't come to your pharmacy, advised two marketing experts.

Doing your homework before deciding which services to offer to meet the needs of patients and physicians and then marketing those services to them are the keys to making a pharmaceutical care practice hum, advised Harry Hagel, R.Ph. He is a practice development consultant with Integrated Pharmacy Systems. He said pharmacy has done a good job of preparing R.Ph.s to provide services, but there's a lack of guidance on which services to provide.

The real and perceived needs of patients, not the RPh.'s own expertise or interests, must be the driving force behind services offered, Hagel cautioned. "We are very good at assuming what we think they might need," he said. "From the patient perspective, the question is what can't they do now in their daily activities that they would like to do? And we have to formulate marketing strategies to address that."

The pharmacy is a gold mine of information that can help guide RPh.s to the right services for the right patients. Most pharmacies get reports about the drugs dispensed but have not drilled down through the data to find out how many patients actually get those medications, Hagel said. An analysis of therapeutic categories might reveal a lot of cardiovascular, diabetes, elderly, or pediatric patients. Once a patient population has been identified, it's time to find out what services they would value. …

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