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How Pharmacy Retailers Can Further Expand Their Role in Healthcare Delivery

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Healthcare delivery is continuing to focus on controlling costs by reducing the impact of chronic disease. Pharmacy retailers are uniquely positioned to expand their role in this context. They have potential to deliver programs that grow their business by helping patients to participate in self-management while simultaneously helping payers to contain costs.

Pharmacies are already well on the path toward doing this.  For example, they are already offering value-added services to help patients start and stay with the right medications.  These services include: engaging patients face-to-face at the pharmacy point-of-care or by phone, delivering online educational content and referring patients to disease management programs for additional support. Pharmacies are also providing specialized programs to support people with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. These are good examples of how pharmacy services can go far beyond dispensing the pill. In fact, pharmacists are now often recognized as being among the most trusted healthcare professionals.

Pharmacy retailers are also helping to address primary care needs by expanding their clinical offerings with conveniently co-located and often integrated walk-in clinics. These clinics complement primary care services and are able to address common acute events as well as chronic illnesses. Some of these clinics are even delivering biometric screenings and wellness coaching to help their customers manage chronic diseases. In the US, these services are starting to integrate with larger health service providers to improve adherence and outcomes while reducing cost through few avoidable emergency room visits.

So where can pharmacy retailers go from here? What are the next steps that will help pharmacies expand their role in healthcare delivery? There are many. We highlight just three here.

  1. Transform existing educational content into multi-media patient visit records. Pharmacies are already offering a wealth of content online as well as delivering advice face-to-face in stores. Unfortunately, this content is typically generic information and patients accurately recall only about 10 percent of what healthcare professionals share during consultations. NexJ Connected Wellness enables pharmacy retailers to convert their content into infographic teaching decks. Pharmacists can then use the decks to deliver and record a complete multi-media patient visit record. Patients can access this record any time and share it with anyone supporting them in achieving their health and wellness goals.
  2. Deploy tools that will help patients collaborate directly with their pharmacist:  
  • Care plans that patients can understand and will help to guide actions that complement pharmacist recommendations.
  • Private and secure messaging to help both patients and pharmacists conveniently communicate without having to manage inefficient live phone calls.
  • Online assessments that help pharmacists more easily understand patient history and context.
  • Online scheduling to more conveniently help both patients and pharmacists manage appointments when they need to talk live.
  1. Deliver scalable personal health coaching. Technology-enabled, personal health coaching cansupport large numbers of patients in adhering to their medications and adopting the associated lifestyle changes that will optimize their health, wellness and wellbeing. Using Connected Wellness, coaches connect to patients and work together to create a personal wellness plan that aligns to the patient’s health goals and objectives. Using the Connected Wellness mobile app, NexJ Health Coach, individuals can capture their self-assessed biometrics such as weight, blood glucose, and blood pressure, and track their daily activities such as exercise, food intake, and how they feel. Personal Health Coaches use online dashboards to monitor patient progress and support a large population of patients. Through this support, patients acquire a better understanding of the relationship between their behaviors, their biometric measurements, and how they feel. This helps patients achieve and sustain motivation to adhere with medication regimes and adopt healthier lifestyle behaviors.

These solutions offer pharmacy retailers the potential to amplify the scope, effectiveness and value of content they already have and services they are already delivering. They will help pharmacies grow their business by improving their customer’s health and wellness while simultaneously helping payors to contain costs. They are robust next steps in expanding the role of pharmacy retailers in healthcare delivery.