How the Health and Wellness Trend Affects Pharmacies

Posted by Robert Walthall on Wed, Oct, 28, 2015 @ 01:09 PM

shutterstock_330844712Three specific trends in society that are becoming increasingly popular are starting to affect pharmacies nationwide, as their impact seems to be here to stay. These include:

The Focus on "Natural" Products

Today's consumers want "natural" products whenever possible, with a focus on holistic health, sensible lifestyle choices, healthy diet, and wellness, and customers like to feel as though attention is being paid to the health of the environment as well.

How can you address this trend in your pharmacy?

While it's not always possible to completely step away from the "medical model" in regard to disease prevention and control, you can make your customers feel much more comfortable by moving away from a sterile medical environment in your pharmacy. Replace harsh overhead lighting, glaring white walls, bland institutional shelving, and tile floors with soft full-spectrum lighting, a pleasant decor, custom millwork, attractive pharmacy shelving and fixtures, and homey floor coverings like carpet and wood.

The Popularity of Nutritional Supplements

Today's consumer is concerned about what they ingest and is as focused on the foods they eat and the supplements they embrace as much as the medications they take. While the medications you dispense are necessary and indeed life-saving for many of your patients, when possible, many patients would prefer the opportunity to learn about how to adopt certain lifestyle changes and nutritional supplements instead.

How can you address this trend in your pharmacy?

  • Provide information on healthy lifestyles. You, along with your patients' doctors, can provide counsel on dietary and lifestyle changes that could reduce the need for certain medications. In addition to one-on-one advice, provide organized displays of literature that discuss these lifestyle changes.

  • Work with patients and their doctors to reduce medication-induced nutritional deficiencies. Many prescribed drugs can cause side effects as a result of those nutrient deficiencies, and you, as the pharmacist, are in a position to know even more about the drugs you dispense – including their side effects – than patients' doctors know. Use private consultation spaces to discuss what supplements, foods, and lifestyle changes they can incorporate to address these deficiencies.

The Emergence of New Health and Fitness Technologies

Among the biggest trends in health and wellness today are the so-called "wearable" health technologies that allow users to monitor their health data on an ongoing basis. Wearable monitors and smart phone technologies dovetail neatly with the increased focus on fitness and wellness.

How can you address this trend in your pharmacy?

Simply put, your customers are going to want help with deciphering the data they receive. In addition to current technologies that measure heart rate, calorie burn, and (by default) fitness levels, these devices may soon be measuring blood sugar levels, nutritional profiles, and more – and this information is dispensed in real-time, with an immediacy not seen previously.

This means that in addition to dispensing medication and supplement advice as you do now, you should also be prepared to dispense advice and direction on the information that this personalized health data provides.

Pharmacy trends are changing. While it's still your job to provide advice on prescribed and over-the-counter medications, you should expand your focus to the health and wellness trends your customers are embracing. You can provide much-needed advice there, too – and a welcoming, "non-medical" environment to match.

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