2015 – a New Year Breakthrough

We are at the end of another tumultuous year.
As I write there is a hostage negotiation under way in the Lindt chocolate cafe in Martin Place in Central Sydney CBD.
It’s hard to concentrate and we are certainly living in more violent times.
Who knows – this time next year we might be giving advice on having a terrorist plan in place.
But your business and the health of your patients must go on.

If you do nothing else in your planning for the New Year, you might consider that the best starting point is to housekeep.
Here is a checklist:

1. Clean out all old stock –price it down or give it away – but physically get rid of it.

2. Design a new layout for products and services – eliminate any sections or departments not carrying their weight.

3. Check your staff budget but make sure that you have a budget for a “forward pharmacist”.

4. Build a health bar for the front of your shop. Fit it out with a laptop and a small number of iPads, plus suitable drawers that can hold S3 items.
Also, a range of lightweight chairs.
Make this health bar the meet and greet area for the pharmacy and ensure that the pharmacist is always accessible.

5. Build a pharmacopoeia of remedies that you will be promoting to patients for various conditions. Make it a rule that nothing else enters the shelves in the medicinal field unless it can be included in the pharmacopoeia.

6. Include in your pharmacopoeia a small number of extemporaneous formulae to promote “personalised dispensing” for patients.

7. Gather evidence for complementary medicines and where suitable, include them in the pharmacopoeia.

8. Rationalise all workflows around the dispensary and eliminate any inefficiencies.

9. Plan to build a front window display and assemble suitable display materials to promote clinical services. The most obvious one is a price list for display in the window and around the pharmacy.
Draw up simple check lists to enable a systematic checklist of signs and symptoms, treatments and processes for the lifestyle diseases.
Work out a system for consultation and an area for interview that is private and ensure that it is properly signposted.

10. Draw up a complete price list for all clinical services.
For consultations, look to sell 15 minute segments at $30 each ($120 per hour).

11. Hone your writing skills and try and get a permanent health column in a local newspaper or radio program.

12. Develop a strategy to convert customers to patients:
* Have a patient detail form for customers to complete and be sure to have a space for their email address.
* Design a web-based newsletter that can be delivered by email. Include in this newsletter only health and wellness topics plus personal stories relating to key staff.

* Develop a voucher that will entitle a patient to one free consultation as an inducement for patient uptake of services and to establish the value of a service.
Do not provide free services – only valued services occasionally discounted.

* Be very clear about what your offer is and what it includes. Give it tangibility by branding it and extend your brand across your range of services.
Do not “muddy” your brand by allowing other external brands to promote similar activities within your clinical spaces.

13. Look to build a permanent private space for consultations using “Switchglass”.
When switched “on” the glass will present as crystal clear.
As you and your patient settle in for a consultation, the glass can then be switched to the “off” position, allowing the glass to become opaques white, and private.
Make this clinical space a “talking point” in its own right.

14. Design your communications system to link with the dispensing system and utilise a cloud system for patient records.
Because clinical pharmacists may eventually have to work in more than one location have a system like Evernote to utilise as a working system, including space for all your templates and access to information databases.
A prescription template would also assist when prescribing nutraceuticals, compounded items and S3 items so that you can interact with the dispensary via the patient – not directly.

15. Consider also a pneumatic tube system to connect the health bar, dispensary and consulting room so that documents and physical items can be safely transmitted to the appropriate location without having to leave your work station.
This will create efficiency and assist in holding down staff costs for “dead” time.

16. Plan your next 12 month timeline for the introduction of all the above but allow two years for the basic development of a good range of actual services.
Don’t wait for government subsidisation. Service the market that can afford to pay.

The above represents a simple market plan for the year ahead that is achievable.
If any help is needed please send me an email or contact me by telephone.

(02) 6628 5138 neilj@computachem.com.au


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