Your patients and customers are the lifeblood of your independent pharmacy. And indeed, you're just as important to them. You are a healthcare liaison for them, but you differ from other professionals because you really get to know the people you serve. This gives you a unique responsibility – and opportunity – that you cannot overlook.
The day-to-day responsibilities of running your pharmacy may take much of your attention, but you shouldn't forget your patients and customers. Fortunately, there's a way to make sure you have enough time to take care of everything.
First, optimize your pharmacy workflow by using automated technology and technicians
You could spend your time filling prescriptions, but automating the process makes much more sense. Much of what robotic technology can't do, technicians can – and that frees you up to devote more time to patients.
The buck still stops with you, of course, so you'll still have to oversee the prescription filling process and keep your pharmacy workflow efficient. You're not doing it yourself most of the time, though, which makes your job much easier and lets you focus on doing things only you can do.
Then, tend to the 4 things your customers really want from you:
- Your time
You could probably be "efficient" in some sense when you spend one-on-one time with your customers, but you could also leave your customers feeling neglected and with unanswered questions. That's an important flaw that needs to be addressed. Your customers deserve your time and focus, not least because your knowledge of the medications they take is something you need to pass on to them; doing so gives them the ability to manage their own health concerns when you're not there. Besides that, a little TLC goes a long way when patients aren't feeling well or just need a pep talk.
- Your expertise
Sure, doctors know a lot about their patients' medications, but they don't have the time, necessarily, to fully explain just what their patients' medications are supposed to do, or what to expect in terms of side effects. You have the time, if you're efficient with pharmacy workflow, to be that expert for them.
- Your uniquely personal knowledge of your patients and customers
There's another reason your expertise trumps most doctors' expertise: you have the unique ability (and time) to cross-reference any medications your patients are taking so that you can determine whether or not unforeseen reactions between medications could happen. You help keep your patients safe because you have this knowledge.
Additionally, you have the ability to collaborate with other healthcare professionals (including doctors) to determine proper substitutes for contraindicated medications if necessary so that patients' health is protected. Few other healthcare professionals – if any – in your patients' and customers' lives can play this key role.
- Your friendship
You wouldn't normally think of "friendship" as a key factor in a healthcare professional's relationship with customers or patients, but for you, it's true. Because you're an independent pharmacist, and because you are an integral part of your community, you almost certainly will develop friendships with your customers and patients that go beyond a mere passing professional concern. That makes you special to your customers and community in a way no retail pharmacy can match.
Make your pharmacy workflow as efficient as possible so that you can focus on what's most important – spending time with your customers and patients. You'll have better profits, true, but you'll also have the satisfaction of knowing that you've truly made a difference. That's something money can't buy.