HealthFebruary 22, 2024

Future-focused pharmacy: Offering personalized care and helping consumers manage costs

Retail pharmacies have the opportunity to help meet consumers' needs by offering new care services and positioning themselves as central care hubs.

Building the retail pharmacy of the future 

Today's increasingly empowered and educated healthcare consumers are seeking care in alternative settings that are convenient, cost-effective, and provide a superior experience. Care delivery as we know it is rapidly evolving, and the retail pharmacy industry is playing a significant role in that transformation.

Simply filling and dispensing medications is often no longer enough to sustain a profitable pharmacy, as they now face a complex financial environment with increased prescription and dispensing costs and declining reimbursement rates. Adding new care services is necessary for retail pharmacies to achieve financial sustainability by moving into a more visible, frontline role in care delivery.

Opportunities for retail pharmacies to ready themselves for the future include:

  • Offering new care services.
  • Meeting consumer demand for more personalized experiences.
  • Helping consumers manage costs.

Expanding clinical care: Pharmacies as the first stop for non-emergent care

According to the 2023 Wolters Kluwer Pharmacy Next consumer survey, almost half (45%) of Americans have recently visited a local pharmacy to receive care, and 58% are now likely to visit pharmacies as a first stop for non-emergency medical issues.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people turned to their local retail pharmacy to get vaccines. These days, Americans feel comfortable going to a retail pharmacy for other services as well, including: 

  • Getting a new prescription
  • Treatment for injuries
  • Health advice

Future-ready retail pharmacies can expand their role as direct care providers for common issues by adopting the same tools providers trust in traditional healthcare settings. Employing a widely used clinical decision support solution such as UpToDate®, which is relied on by more than 2 million healthcare providers worldwide, allows pharmacists to access the latest, evidence-based, point-of-care recommendations and medical information to deliver high-quality care experiences and outcomes with greater confidence.  

Engaging patients through convenience and personalization 

Most Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy – a major advantage for pharmacies when it comes to convenience. Retail pharmacies can take advantage of this unique convenience factor and solidify their role in the patient’s care team by offering more personalized care experiences. 

Retail pharmacies can improve patient treatment, adherence, and satisfaction by providing consumers evidence-based patient education materials catering to different learning styles and populations. Many pharmacies are seeking a more modernized, tailored approach to educate and engage patients. By integrating digital health technologies, retail pharmacies can help ensure seamless care transitions, track outcomes, and manage social determinants of health to address accessibility challenges. The forthcoming UpToDate Digital Architect Digital Medication Education solution can serve as this digital front door, driving safety, adherence, and applicable clinical services.

Prescription costs affect adherence: Pharmacists can help

Higher costs and inflation are not only creating financial pressures throughout the healthcare ecosystem, they are also impacting patients. Americans aren’t filling prescriptions because of cost, and more than 90% of Americans believe their pharmacist should inform them of generic medication alternatives to save money on prescriptions.

As Americans prioritize their own care decisions around costs, retail pharmacies must continue to position themselves as trusted advisors and adopt highly streamlined, flexible workflows to help their consumers manage their healthcare spending. 

The future of pharmacy is now: Download the whitepaper 

The retail pharmacy of the future will need to address Americans’ demands for affordable and consumer-centric experiences by adopting new workflows and technologies. As Americans become more comfortable receiving care in non-traditional settings, retail pharmacies can play a central role in healthcare by supporting their patients and communities with convenient, high-quality care.

To learn more, download the “Creating a future-ready retail pharmacy: Challenges and opportunities” whitepaper.

Download the whitepaper
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