Many independent pharmacies have struggled to stay in business during the global pandemic. Owners are now looking for new ways to increase their income and drive business growth, which is undoubtedly easier said than done.
However, there are certain business practices that all pharmacies should follow, as they can help owners get back on their feet and provide better service to their customers.
So if your independent pharmacy is struggling or you want to drive growth in a post-pandemic recovery, here are the best business practices that will help your business thrive.
1. Certified pharmacists on board
Since pharmacists are often expected to provide primary and preventative healthcare, they are usually the first healthcare professionals contacted by people in need of a healthcare provider. As such, it’s safe to say that licensed pharmacists improve the level of expertise and perceived professionalism in your business.
Of course, people who have a degree and are not a university graduate can also work in pharmacy. In fact, there are many legitimate reasons why pharmacy owners would hire non-university graduate staff, such as the unavailability of graduate pharmacists or a shortage of pharmaceutical manpower.
But, it is always better to be more selective when looking for new employees. By hiring only pharmacists with college degrees, you can improve customer confidence and provide better care to those who need it.
2. Separate and assign tasks/roles
It is advisable to separate the roles and tasks of pharmacists to improve the growth of your business. For example, graduate employees may be tasked with supervisory roles in pharmacy management, while graduate pharmacists may work under the supervision of graduate employees dispensing medication.
This way, you’ll create a clear leadership hierarchy and logical business structure that will make it easier to achieve both short- and long-term goals, such as building professional relationships with customers and partners and establishing a strong brand reputation in the market.
Assigning roles based on employee skills and qualifications is also likely to be a more effective strategy for achieving your mission, as it sets a clear path for employees’ professional growth within the company. By simply improving their skills and qualifications, staff can move up the ladder.
The possibility of advancement in the company based on skills and qualifications rather than the individual also serves as a positive motivation for continuous growth, improvement and success.
3. Classify/categorize drugs
As a credible healthcare provider, it is your duty to implement effective drug categorization in your business. This is common practice in most Western countries.
All drugs should be classified into at least three main categories: prescription drugs, medicines reserved for the pharmacyand over-the-counter medications.
This is important for improving efficiency and sales tracking. For example, by selling certain types of drugs only when the patient has a medical prescription, you can minimize the risk of substance abuse among your customers.
4. Support employee training and development
If you have unqualified or inexperienced staff in your pharmacy, it is essential to provide them with the necessary training opportunities they need to improve their skills and do their jobs well. Even for competent and highly qualified personnel, there is always room for improvement.
So invest in the training and professional development of your staff. Encourage them to continually expand their knowledge and skills. Your business will greatly benefit from having a trained, qualified and experienced team.
For example, graduate pharmacists should be encouraged to train in clinical skills and vaccination, especially as we are still in the midst of the global pandemic. If they learn how to vaccinate people, you can accommodate more patients to get their shots on time and stop the spread of COVID-19.
By encouraging and supporting your employees to improve their skills, it will improve their customer service and ensure your customers are treated appropriately, which will increase your business results.
5. Comply with government rules and regulations
This includes obtaining all necessary licenses and authorizations to practice and keeping them up to date at all times, as well as paying your taxes, keeping your premises clean at all times, updating your equipment and resolution of any issues that may result in damage to medication or equipment.
For example, some medications, including vaccines, must be kept cold. In this case, equipment such as your pharmacy’s vaccine refrigerators must be kept in good working order to store vaccines at appropriate temperatures. Health inspectors can call at any time.
Also, although many medicines are available to patients without a prescription, check the local laws in your area and/or refer to established international standards, where applicable, for guidance on what you can and cannot do. not do as an independent pharmacy when prescribing drugs.
Ideally, it is best for doctors to prescribe the drugs, while your main role as an independent pharmacy in the healthcare industry should be to supply the drugs prescribed by doctors.
Patients will trust you more if your pharmacy is professional, in good working order and in compliance with all government regulations and other established rules.