It's time to pharmacy like never before

It's time to pharmacy like never before

Over the course of the last few years, community pharmacy has experienced a wave of change, accelerating the need for flexibility and agility to offer efficiencies, innovation and productivity.

The way in which community pharmacies worked tirelessly to serve their communities despite mounting capacity pressures and spiralling costs during a global pandemic is testament to the strength, vitality, and commitment of such a resilient sector.

Looking forward, we need to ensure our continued relevance and importance in an ever-changing healthcare provider environment. Our national healthcare system will not be the same in five to 10 years’ time: so we need to start today to chart tomorrow’s future. There are many challenges, but there are also commercial and patient care opportunities which together we are in a unique position to grasp.

So how do you start to ‘Pharmacy Like Never Before?’

1. Improve dispensary efficiency and create capacity

Dispensing efficiency is increasingly a key driver of commercial viability. All UK pharmacy contracts now require it and whilst there has been much discussion about future Hub & Spoke models, there are solutions such as PHOENIX’s Golden Tote which are available here and now. Hub & Spoke is one option for Numark members, but there are other solutions so speak to us about what works best for you commercially and for your patients.

It is clear that funding will increasingly be directed at service provision and as a result our sector must adapt to this and that means changing the way we work.

2. Embrace the power of digital

Digital is no longer an option, but a necessity: it is what patients expect and demand. If we do not offer digital ease of access we will lose out to others who do. The good news is that digital can work in the interests of community pharmacies. Our innovative Hey Pharmacist repeat prescription service has demonstrated how digital can actually boost footfall in bricks and mortar pharmacies: people want and value the best of both worlds – the convenience of digital combined with professional advice at their local pharmacy. We can help members make digital work for them.

Digitisation is another way community pharmacies can bolster operations and maintain salience among different patient groups, creating increased ease and convenience. Through innovative offerings, such as our Hey Pharmacist platform, which provides Numark members in England with an end-to-end online repeat prescription proposition, community pharmacists should look at how digital services can revolutionise process. And, of course, it’s vital that any new digital processes are combined with best-in-class face-to-face support, so pharmacy teams can continue to support their customers in-person.

3. Broaden service propositions

We need to broaden our service provision with a clear ‘think pharmacy first’ message. Too many people are presenting at GP surgeries, often waiting days or weeks, only to be referred to their local pharmacy for appropriate treatment. The more services on offer, the more likely people will seek advice and support from their local pharmacy. We need to be better at explaining to people their local pharmacy is not simply somewhere you go to pick up your prescription. Our accessibility is our USP.

To really pharmacy like never before, it’s time for community pharmacies to offer a broader range of services that can help customers with a whole host of health issues. Everything from weight management to ear wax removal to excelling in new vaccination services that go beyond flu. By providing a wider range of services, pharmacy teams can create even more compelling reasons to keep patients coming back and deliver first-class support that improves customer experience and ultimately community health.

4. Optimise profitability

Against the backdrop of a constantly evolving sector, pharmacy teams should ensure they optimise profitability through promoting own brand products, which provide a value for money alternative to the household brand names, as well as focusing on over-the-counter products which will impact positively on margin. Additionally, pharmacy teams can use data to unlock transformational changes that will affect profitability. From buying products to handling staffing, data, when accessed through technology from trusted partners such as Numark, can empower opportunities for true retail growth. For advice on how to maximise profitability in both over-the-counter, prescription only medicines and general sales list categories, our service provides expert advice, tailored to a pharmacy business at any point of its life cycle.

Pharmacy like never before is our commitment to build a better future for our sector. We are developing the tools you need to prosper commercially, meet changing patient demands and adapt to a new healthcare commissioning environment. Numark members together can create a positive and progressive future.