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An Observation on Successful Pharmacies
Over the next three weeks, I’m excited to be heading to a couple of major pharmacy conferences. A fact not even this Southwest Airlines plane chock full of high school choir students can change (thank you, noise-canceling headphones).
I’ll have the opportunity to speak with pharmacy leaders who take the new challenges in pharmacy head on. I’m always struck by how different the conversations are between those succeeding and those falling behind.
Those on the tip of the spear are innovating and adapting at a rapid pace. When I speak to them, there’s excitement about where their practice is heading. There is an energy they have about creating better outcomes for their patients. Driven by an unrelenting faith, they believe continuing to do the right thing for their patients will lead to a healthier bottom line.
They see new clinical services, not as something they need to do, should do, might look at doing – but as something they must do. Now. They tell me it’s necessary to step outside their comfort zone to implement new ideas because bringing about change means they can’t simply continue to do what’s always been done.
Then there is the opposite conversation.
When I speak to the pharmacy owners who are having a hard time keeping the lights on, they can rapidly spout off five different reasons they aren’t making money. Yet, they can rarely name one thing they are doing to evolve their business. They want to keep their head down, continue to put pills in vials, and send patients out the door. Oftentimes, they’re just not ready to try something new. It’s sad when they can’t or won’t see the writing on the wall – the time to make your future is now. Many allow fear and uncertainty to hold them back, doing nothing and hoping for the best. It’s never a fun conversation.
I don’t presume to know everything about running a pharmacy, and I certainly understand it’s not easy. Pharmacy owners are under more financial pressure now than any time in the recent past. After 15 years in the industry, I am still surprised by all the ways pharmacies find to do the exact same thing. There is no single formula to guarantee success. Every pharmacy takes a unique path; it’s true. There are many outstanding potential partners in the industry ready to help figure out what could work.
I want to find out how we can help pharmacies provide better patient outcomes. Could you use more time for your staff to complete higher level tasks? Vial filling automation can help. Would you like to improve medication adherence? Compliance packaging might be just what you’re looking for. Maybe Parata isn’t a good fit for your pharmacy at all. Or you’re not ready. That’s okay. We still like hearing what would help you even if it isn’t one of our robots.
If you’re heading to an industry event this year, spend some time in the exhibit hall. Stop by a Parata booth and get some swag (those are Red Hots we give out, not mints). Talk to the people in the booths; see if they can help you. Be open to new ideas, new ways to be successful. It may not be how you are doing things today, but don’t be afraid. We might be just the partner you need.
I look forward to seeing you Orlando, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Las Vegas (again), or one of many other cities!
Our hidden gem of a storyteller, Brad has been in the industry for over 15 years. A USAF veteran and career Parata multitasker, he started as a Customer Support Representative and has worked in Engineering, Account Management, and Project Management roles. Brad’s unique approach to his most recent role in sales is a with a powerful combination of stock-piled Parata know-how and a genuine interest in organizational behavior. From pharmacies that fill 100 scripts/day to pharmacies that fill 35,000 scripts/day, he loves to listen to business owners and staff talk about their challenges and offers novel solutions. Do you call that sales? At Parata, we do. Brad’s blog entries are just one more way he reaches out, helping pharmacies grow their business. Follow him on Twitter @B_RadSlater.