With so much focus on streamlining business practices and revenues, it’s easily forgotten that Digital Health is ultimately about improving patient health. We’ll look at four great digital health solutions to offer in your pharmacy in 2021 which benefit your patient as much as your pharmacy.
There are lots of services to offer in your pharmacy, but we’re highlighting some of the top ones for 2021.
The Digital Health services to offer in your pharmacy
TympaHealth’s range of ear health has brought another service for pharmacies to offer to their communities, and it’s absolutely taken off across the UK.
As shown in the video above, TympaHealth integrates health technology with mobile technology. It also combines the ability to conduct hearing tests and micro-suction into one piece of kit.
Benefits of the service
With most GP’s dropping the ear wax removal during COVID-19, patients are actively seeking out the service. If your pharmacy is appearing on search engines when people search for “ear wax treatment” or similar, you’ll be reaping the rewards already.
Micro-suction, for example. typically takes between 10-20 minutes per appointment, with most prices around £50. So it’s decent bang for your buck. If you automate the process for booking appointments, you really begin driving your profit/minute conversion into an attractive proposition for your pharmacy.
The TympaHealth offering provides more than just ear wax removal, and the process is one that assures patients that their overall ear health is in good hands. This assurance and professional service gives confidence in your pharmacy’s ability to deliver other services, too.
The world has never been more self-aware and proactive when it comes to intolerances and allergies. One only has to stroll down the dairy aisle of a supermarket and see all the Lactose-free products on offer to know that intolerances and allergies are at the forefront of people’s minds nowadays.
PharmaDoctor partnered with Klarify.me who innovated DIY Allergy Test Kits for people to order and carry out at home. The Klarify test kits detect the body’s reactions to allergen extracts and components, which allows for comprehensive precision testing on hundreds of allergens.
The PharmaDoctor service gives you the accredited training necessary for delivering the service for patients. It’s a useful service, as a lot of patients struggle extracting blood themselves.
Someone buying Antihistamines? Just as you look for warning signs with health conditions, allergies are now something you can screen for and test, without having to refer anyone externally.
Benefits of going private
Of course, allergy tests are available through the NHS, but an allergy test service offers the benefit of not having to a) wait months to find out if you can eat or drink a certain foodstuff and b) keep a food diary in attempts to try and determine the source of intolerance.
If you’re in an affluent area where people invest money to save themselves time, this service could be very popular.
Pharmaself24 brings ATM technology to prescriptions. Think about that. How much more convenient did the banking experience become when withdrawing cash didn’t require queueing up and speaking to someone? Not only for the patients but for the banks. It meant the tellers could give more useful services to people who needed more complicated problems solving.
It’s hardly a secret in the industry that margins on prescriptions have put a lot of pressure on pharmacies to come up with alternative solutions to increase their revenue, in some cases to stay afloat. It doubles up as both a convenient service and efficient automation, Pharmaself24 is a great way for your pharmacy to automate the collection of medicines, become more convenient for patients, and free up your staff’s valuable time.
The tech works in a similar way to an Amazon lock-box.
In a post-pandemic world, the value of a Prescription Collection Machine is intrinsic to customer convenience. And customer convenience is in turn, crucial to customer retention. 24/7 collection is so convenient for the working population, as well as people whose work shifts change.
Why would you queue, or collect at hours that don’t suit you, when you don’t have to?
Competitive Customer Convenience
Customer convenience isn’t a problem when you don’t have convenient competition. But the second someone else is offering 24/7 collection nearby, you’re going to start losing customers. Why wait until you’re losing customers? You could be the one with the machine and accumulating more customers.
Another source of this competition is online pharmacies. They already offer an extremely convenient service. But people might actually prefer to collect their prescriptions. People living in a block of flats for instance may have delivery difficulties. People who aren’t at home a lot might not want their prescriptions sat on their doorstep getting rained on. It’s not going to be the biggest source of people signing up, but it’s another string to your convenient bow.
With digital health in mind, this is a great service for patients. Many patients often complain about their prescriptions not being ready on time. Their dependence on their medication makes timeliness a major concern for them. Streamlining the process and giving round-the-clock access to collections severely reduces prescription dispensing time and decreases occurrences of patients going without medication (whoever’s fault it is).
For so many reasons, Prescription Collection Machines like the Pharmaself24 are absolutely one of the top digital health innovations to adopt in 2021.
When it comes to convenience, and tech which disrupts industries, Dental Health is a prime example.
Dentists have one of the ultimate reputations for being hard to get an appointment with. By the time a toothache gets seen to, it’s too late – it’s either gone away or there was no stitch in time to save the nine. The attraction of Instant Dentist is banishing that barrier.
As you can see in the video above, Instant Dentist works via photos and questions uploaded through an app, which Online Dentists then use to make assessments. (It’s probably a good idea to dedicate a private space in your pharmacy for people to take these photos to avoid embarrassment.) The Online Dentists then communicate with the patients via the app to prescribe treatment or products for their issue.
Why should I offer the service?
Boots on the ground, to use the old military phrase. People will love the very concept of Instant Dentist, so it’s a great thing to stick in your windows, preferably on an eye-catching digital screen, but posters would work too. (The reason I prefer digital screens for pharmacies offering digital services like that is that it sets the tone for a hygienic, clean, modern facility.) Footfall, at the time of writing, is still a touchy subject, with lockdown only just now beginning to ease.
However, if you market Instant Dentist digitally, (which you absolutely should) then it’s a lockdown-proof service anyway. People have to leave their homes to go to a dentist. The Instant Dentist service is just a different location to get an available dentist consultation.
The service is a completely free setup. As it’s a remote service that simply connects the patients to dentists, there isn’t any additional work for you or compliance to meet.
And you get a revenue split.
Increase visitors to your pharmacy and increase revenue.
It’s that simple.
5. Video Consultations
Even coming out of lockdown, video consultations are a super convenient solution (which also broadens your geographical catchment area) and are now culturally normalised.
Pharmacy Mentor can integrate Video Consultation software into your Pharmacy Mentor Website
Even the elderly market adopted the use of this technology during the pandemic to stay in contact with family. And for the elderly, video consultations solve the problem of mobility. Offering video consultations alongside in-person appointments makes your service accessible to everyone.
The important considerations when offering video consultations are the experience and security.
No one wants a laggy video call where you struggle to see and hear someone. A solid pharmacy internet connection is a necessity to offer this service.
Safeguarding & Security with Video Consultations
There are significant differences between video calls with friends versus patients. Be mindful of confidentiality over video calls. Treat them with the same respect you’d give to face-to-face consultations is key.
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Attention is an opportunity for relationship building, identifying problems, and presenting solutions. A well-planned email campaign gets you regular attention and the results that follow.
Sending emails requires email addresses to send them to. It also requires permission to comply with GDPR. We covered this in our article on Data Collection for Pharmacies, so we won’t include it here. But it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re serious about emails for your pharmacy.
Email Marketing for Pharmacies – Where to start
Probably the first thing to establish in your own head is that email has replaced post for most people. Mail used to be the primary form of communication to people. But the world has changed. If I wrote someone a letter nowadays, I wouldn’t expect a response within a week at least. There’s no interaction or functionality with a letter. I can’t touch it and visit a website. I don’t have to store it safely in my house if I want to refer back to it later. It’s expensive and time-consuming and it just can’t do what emails can.
That doesn’t mean there’s no room for letters in a marketing campaign, but if you sent letters as regularly as you sent emails, it would cost you a fortune and you’d probably get complaints. It’s a lot easier to delete an email than it is to throw away a letter.
Email Marketing for Pharmacies by Pharmacy Mentor
The benefits of Email Marketing for Pharmacies
Email marketing isn’t flash or showy, and that’s generally why it’s underused. It’s private, so it never really gets the publicity of a popular social media post, or a glamorous TV ad. Out of sight, out of mind. But here’s why it should be on your mind and on your to-do list…
Even if you value time and have us do it, our admin fee and your email software are the only costs. There’s no additional budget necessary. Compared to paid marketing, another fantastic customer acquisition tool, email marketing is inexpensive and generally performs better than any other form of marketing for the investment.
Splitting your customer base up to personalise and tailor your emails.
For instance, customers who come in for clinical services may not have prescriptions. If you’re sending them emails about prescriptions, they may unsubscribe. The same is true for any irrelevant communications. There’s only so much attention people pay to things that aren’t relevant to their interests.
With most email software, you can track the number of opens, link clicks, and unsubscribes. All these help analyse the effectiveness of the emails. So if something isn’t working, you know about it and adapt. And if it is working, you continue doing what works. Combine this with Google Analytics on your website, and you can track where your website traffic comes from. Since marketing effectiveness varies for a whole host of reasons, tracking and analysis are massive.
Convenient for mobile and desktop users
Your market consists of both older and younger generations, each with their own preference for devices and software. Almost everyone has an email address and when people check their emails, they often have more time on their hands. (Checking emails replaces the time that less mail through the door has saved, which people only did when they have time to read full letters.)
Regular + Relevant = Revenue
For memory’s sake, you can break down the three key things you want from an email campaign into 3 R’s. Here’s why.
This doesn’t mean every day. Regular means predictable, and as you’d expect. I might expect to hear from a pharmacy once every two weeks. But if I signed up for a holiday deals bulletin, I expect a daily roundup of any deals. The right amount of emails for one person might be too many for another. Like anything in marketing, it’s worth testing to see where the sweet spot is in your audience.
Of course, you could have a great one-off email you send out and then not send another one all year. This isn’t a failure, but it’s not maximising success.
In other words, not spam. Spam targets everyone and hopes it’s relevant for some people. You want your marketing lists as relevant as possible. You can segment your mailing list to maximise relevance. People engage more when they feel an email is really speaking to them as an individual. Targeting women for a period delay service? If you segment your mailing list, you can talk in a way women respond to, but men wouldn’t.
If you’re not getting revenue, you might as well not show up. It’s last because you need the first two before you get it. But ultimately, revenue is the main reason you’re marketing in any form. Using call-to-actions is key here. Fortunately, people are familiar with taking action after reading an email, so you’re playing into an already existing mindset.
As with all aspects of your marketing, you want to be proactively pushing the right services at the right time. It’s no good promoting flu jabs in July. We have a Pharmacy Marketing Calendar which we use to develop strategies for your pharmacy if you need help structuring your campaigns.
If you’re not already set up to take online payments – you should be. Not accepting payments online nowadays is the equivalent of not having a card machine. You lose out on so much customer spend because you can’t take their money the way they want to give it.
Ready to adopt email marketing for your pharmacy?
Get in touch! We can help with everything you need to get started, including which software works best for pharmacies.
Sometimes the path of improvement for your pharmacy is obvious. Struggling with too many phone calls? Let people communicate with you online instead. Need to increase your revenue? Start offering private clinical services. But sometimes there are things that can drastically improve your fortunes that don’t immediately spring to mind.
Communicating with people when they’re not in your physical location was, once upon a time, a tricky accomplishment. Often costing hundreds of pounds every time you did with ads on TV, Radio or in the newspaper, or physically sending someone letters, which costs P&P. Data collection for pharmacies and squeezing the value out of the data with technology has changed the game.
Data collection for pharmacies
An Unexplored Goldmine
This is the usual scenario in a pharmacy…
A person walks into the pharmacy
That person comes and collects a prescription or buys something over the counter
The person walks out of the pharmacy
If that person experienced great customer service, it’s likely that they will come back again. But who knows? They’ve got the Amazon app and it might just be a bit more convenient for them to do what they needed to do online. This issue is once they have left your pharmacy, how are you going to make sure you can continue communicating with them so that they continue using your services?
How many people have walked into your pharmacy in the last 10 years? 10,000’s. That’s 10,000’s of opportunities to intervene and collect the data from a customer/patient to communicate with them digitally and directly thereafter.
But what data do you collect?
In an ideal scenario, you want to collect:
Services they are interested in
As you can imagine, this information for your pharmacy is extremely useful when targeting certain demographics with the various services you provide and the products you sell.
Easy. Ask for it. Saam, Pharmacy Mentor’s CEO, used to have a simple script he’d use every single time when working as a pharmacist.
“Hey Mr. Smith, we’re trying to improve communication at the Pharmacy, would you mind filling in this form whilst you wait?”
No one ever said no. That form can be a paper form or you can have a pre-populated form on Mailchimp or a similar subscription tool. With that one simple form, you can get their details and permission to contact them directly and build up an email list over the years that can have a direct impact on patient retention and business revenue.
But that seems a bit slow to grow?
How many people come in to collect their prescriptions every day? Conservatively speaking, collecting 20 sets of contact details every day gives you a list of 400/month. That’s a lot of attention. You’re in a unique position as a community pharmacy that people aren’t skeptical of leaving you their details.
Hotel Chocolat, Hugo Boss, they offer discounts on their products just to get their hands on the customer emails. That’s how valuable contact details are for big brands. And why do they do it? Because targeting customers with special offers around Valentine’s Day and Christmas, or letting them know when there is a sale on, makes them money.
Next week we’ll be releasing an article on making the most out of email marketing for pharmacies. But for now, start growing your mailing list!
Email opt-in forms on your website capture visitors’ information whilst they’re on your site. Utilising pop-up windows to capture visitor information works well, especially when paired with an incentive to sign-up. Pairing a Pharmacy Mentor website with our email marketing campaigns is a great way to get an email list up and running quickly.
This is a slightly separate tactic, though it’s related to Data Collection. It’s all about capturing the person who’s walked into your pharmacy and making sure they come back to you. That way you grow your revenue and stay in business. Sell a man some Bonjela, you’ll remove his toothache for a day. Sign him up to your loyalty card whilst you’re doing it, and you’ll remove his toothache for life. Because now he’ll come back when you target him with your special offers on Bonjela.
There’s only one word required to convince you of the power of a loyalty scheme in pharmacy…Boots. Their Advantage card lives in the memory as one of the first. Since 1997, it’s offered customers money off for returning to their stores. It’s one of the biggest loyalty schemes in the UK. So why wouldn’t you want to copy that?
Upfront costs of loyalty schemes
Boots invested £30million into their Advantage scheme. There’s a small chance you think that’s too much? But there are solutions for small businesses.
Swipii is a loyalty card app for local businesses, without the upfront cost. Instead, you get charged a percentage when people take advantage of the cashback offers. As always, a smaller profit on a sale is better than no profit on no sale. There are multiple options out there offering similar solutions, some may suit your pharmacy more than others.
As the title of this article suggests, these are just the sparkling nuggets sticking out of the rock in the goldmine that is Data Collection for pharmacies.
You might think Nextdoor is just another social media app, and too much like hard work to adopt. Here’s why you should reconsider using Nextdoor for your pharmacy…
Why use Nextdoor for your Pharmacy? So much of the internet is engineered for remote, geographically neutral business. You buy without ever meeting anyone or even leaving your home. Most social media & online apps are focus on connecting you to communities based on interest, rather than proximity.
This works in the mainstream because there is more that connects us than living in the same area.
But living in the same area does connect us. If living through a lockdown has taught us anything, it’s to appreciate the things on our doorstep.
Nextdoor specialises in local community
Harnessesing the power of local in a simple way that most other apps don’t, Nextdoor specialises in connecting local people and takes it to the next level. They’ve recognised how popular those local neighbourhood groups you get on Facebook are, and based their entire app on making that experience as good as it could be. Instead of one page where everyone is talking about everything, you’ve got local interest groups, events, and Local Deals – all of which you can take advantage of as a pharmacy.
The range of features on Nextdoor.
1. It’s for Local People & Local Businesses
The challenge for small businesses with big social media platforms like Facebook & Instagram is how over-populated and commercialised they are. Nextdoor isn’t overcrowded. There isn’t so much noise that it’s hard for anyone to get heard. Nextdoor is about connecting local communities with local events and news.
This is what attracts the attention of so many users. Look at this local community facebook page and see how active it is (and this is just a village). Nextdoor plays on this popularity. When you want to advertise your services, you want attention from a relevant target audience. A Community Pharmacy should be at the heart of every neighbourhood on Nextdoor, because Nextdoor gives you both.
The competition and standard on Nextdoor from businesses is…practically zero, especially compared to Facebook. In fact, in my neighbourhood, the only actual business set up and using it in the right way is a local pharmacist.
As an added bonus, to sign up for Nextdoor, users must enter their address and verify their mobile phone number. This means Nextdoor doesn’t suffer from anonymous, spam, or abusive accounts, so you won’t get the type of negative comments you sometimes see on Facebook or Twitter.
2. It’s Word of Mouth, Online
Word of mouth – often touted by business owners as the best form of marketing. There’s certainly nothing like other people recommending your business. You can shout about how great you are, but coming from an independent source means twice as much.
People in the community are constantly asking for recommendations. Whilst you can be recommended regardless of whether or not you’re on Nextdoor, people can link your profile when recommending you. Your profile keeps all your recommendations, so people see how trusted you are in the community. This separates you and the competition when you’re both receiving recommendations.
These community pages are often untapped for the targets that matter most, like EPS & delivery sign-ups. You can advertise this as well as waiting for recommendations.
3. An Active, Engaged Audience
Nextdoor doesn’t have anywhere near as many active users as Facebook, but Facebook is a diverse crowd. Some people Facebook to post pictures, others to catch up with friends. In fact, very few people go on Facebook to keep up with the businesses on there! It just happens you can attract their attention whilst they’re there. Nextdoor is about what’s going on in the local community. It’s about finding the best places to go in the area. Showing up to people on Nextdoor has a higher chance of converting into paying business, because that’s often why people are there in the first place.
The Local Deals is the PERFECT place to promote any clinical services you offer. It’s basically like Groupon, but for local businesses. Just by discounting your service slightly, you’ll get free exposure and advertising in the Local Deals section and attract markets that wouldn’t otherwise find you.
The Local Deals section on Nextdoor – criminally underused by businesses. This is an opportunity for instant visibility to people with purchasing intent.
There’s also a functionality where you can create a local interest group. Because you register as a person before you register your business, you could start a “Health & Wellbeing” focus group in there for people interested in staying healthy. As a trusted pharmacist, you can use your personal brand to enhance your pharmacy’s reputation by offering relevant advice and products to your community when they’re asking questions about it.
The time is now to use Nextdoor for your Pharmacy
Nextdoor #4 Top Free Apps in Social right now, with over 10 million downloads. The app is absolutely on people’s radar right now. How long it remains so is the question always asked of any new popular app. But that doesn’t matter. Opportunities don’t have to last forever to be opportunities. Right now, people in your community are on Nextdoor. It’s so under-utilised by businesses right now, that Ad-spend and organic reach are through the roof value for money.
If Nextdoor is only hot right now, then now is exactly when you want to be utilising the attention. If Nextdoor rises in popularity, then now is the perfect time to establish yourself before there’s any competition. Either way, now is the right time to sign up to Nextdoor.
TIP: When signing up for your Nextdoor account, visit the email notifications. You don’t want an email every time Mary from Manchester Road thinks her cat is missing.
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Our level of personal service hasn’t changed, but we’ve improved our processes. And they’re here to stay.
We avoided most of the disruption caused by COVID-19 globally. Pharmacy Mentor was already set up in a way that lends itself to remote, digital working. Most changes we made are more a result of growth than the pandemic.
Though we’re fully remote until we can get back to the office, the work ethic of our team remains strong. We use Slack for immediate internal communications, meaning issues are still solved promptly and efficiently. The only thing we miss is interacting with each other at the office.
Our Improved Customer Service Process
Pharmacy Mentor focuses on providing an excellent standard of customer care. Previously we’ve managed this through direct support channels like Telegram & WhatsApp. where every client gets a dedicated channel upon signing up for a service with us.
With our team and client base growing, however, this needed streamlining.
Our new Support Portal guarantees your request is logged and follows a rigid protocol of action and double-checks. meaning your request is efficiently and accurately dealt with.
Sales & Upgrades
Getting in touch with us hasn’t changed
If you aren’t already a client, then you can get in touch through either Contact Us or the LiveChat on our website.
If you are a client, you can still get in touch with us in all the usual ways: Email, Whatsapp/Telegram, or booking a call through Calendly with the team member you need.
Transparency in how we work on your projects
We’ve shored up other internal processes so they’re manageable remotely. This actually works better because everyone in the company has visibility over exactly which stage a project is in. For clients, this means if they want to know timescales or where their project is up to, we can give answers with a high degree of detail, even if the person working on the project isn’t available to discuss it.
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The ideal prescription reordering app is user-friendly, available on Apple & Android, improves your workflow, and integrates not only with your other systems (like your website) but with the GP surgeries’ systems too.
Finding the best prescription reordering app for your pharmacy is an important part of setting up your pharmacy digitally. It allows the patient to nominate you as their pharmacy easily, which secures them to your business and improves your workflow significantly, with regular orders all digitally stored and secured ready for you to process. Data shows that patients who use an app for their repeat prescriptions are loyal to those pharmacies.
From a patients’ point of view, they just want the damn thing to work.
The four apps we’ll review are all great and, by and large, meet those criteria. If you don’t already work with an app, any option will be a marked improvement to your working life. However, there are unique aspects to each app making each more appealing to some pharmacy owners than others.
Obviously, there’s also the option for you to create your own custom app. There is naturally a development cost to that upfront, but it does mean a completely customisable app that does everything you need it to. There’s the added bonus that once you’ve paid for it, it’s yours forever.
In this guide, we highlight the USPs for:
The NHS App
Please note: As of this publication, we are not affiliated with any pharmacy prescription app provider and this has been written with no bias. It is for information purposes and comprises of what we know when doing our research into them on a top-level, some feedback we’ve naturally been given from our clients, and the experience we have in using the apps ourselves. We are by no means indicating one is better over the other and it’s up to you to decide which will be right for your particular business. Furthermore, these apps are in no order of priority and numbered randomly.
Healthera couldn’t really feel more on-trend for the pandemic if it tried. A “direct line” to your pharmacist is not only a great offering for the app, but for you as a pharmacist. With phones ringing off the hook, it’s a frustrating experience for the patient trying and failing to get through to order vital medication, especially if they only have a limited window to call.
The ability to send a message with the same ease as sending any text message as well as ordering repeat prescriptions directly through an app is a big win for the patient – and therefore you as well.
Your Branding (optional extra)
A big plus of Healthera is their White Label option, which is the ability to have their app but with your own branding. This also avoids the problematic issue of sending your patients to an app that shows them your competitors, especially when competitors are more geographically convenient. Healthera also acts as a signpost for your business. If people sign up via Healthera from their GP with no pharmacy in mind, and see your free delivery, you could end up acquiring a new patient. When signing patients up directly, you give them a direct link (or QR code) which takes them straight to your pharmacy on the app (so this doesn’t happen to you!)
Healthera’s White Label option is popular with big pharmacy groups like Weldricks & Alphega.
Healthera also offers the option to book services online at your pharmacy, which is great functionality at a time when demand is high. It’s a great function if you don’t already have a way for patients to book online. But if you have a booking calendar on your website as well, Healthera’s booking calendar won’t integrate – so monitor carefully to avoid double-bookings. If you have capacity to take two appointments at the same time, it’s great. If you don’t and two people show up at the same time for the same service? Less great.
A great option catering for people who look after younger or older members of their family. Carer mode allows management of multiple patients’ medication through one log-in.
Registering once as yourself is fine on other apps, but when setting up a Child’s account on the same phone – which you would if, I don’t know, you’re a perfectly normal parent in a perfectly normal scenario – the app has a full-on meltdown. Not with Carer Mode.
Overall, Healthera is a safe horse to back. trusted by so many pharmacies already in the UK. It might not have every feature you could ever wish for, but neither will any mainstream app.
MedAdvisor is brand new into the UK market, so if you haven’t heard of them, don’t fret. They’ve arrived on the back of great success in Australia with an offering that rivals any existing app.
They have a web app and dashboard, meaning elderly patients who aren’t comfortable with mobile apps can still use the service. I know elderly people don’t tend to need a lot of medication or healthcare, so you could probably ignore that demographic. You know, if going out of business is on your to-do list. Seriously though, even if 25% of your elderly patients used the app instead of calling your pharmacy, imagine how much time that saves your team.
Your Branding (optional extra)
MedAdvisor, like Healthera, also offers the option of White Label apps. So if you’re looking for a branded solution, this is another great option for you. MedAdvisor works in the same way as Healthera, you send your patient a link, which when followed will onlyshow your pharmacy. On other apps, all your competitors and their distance from your patient are displayed for them to select you as their pharmacy. This eliminates a big risk factor if the patient has no real loyalty to your pharmacy that they’ll go elsewhere for more convenience.
This, as mentioned, is an ace in the hole for your patients, and MedAdvisor comes equipped with this as well.
The ability to register as a Carer and manage your family’s prescriptions is so central to most of your target market, which is mothers. As a general rule, mothers rule the roost when decision-making on a pharmacy so catering for them will always yield positive results.
Do you struggle to promote your clinical services? If you do, the first thing you should check out is Google Ads for your pharmacy which is by far the most effective way of getting your services in front of people who need them.
But as well as that, Patient Access is well worth thinking about. Even if you already use another prescription reordering app. Here’s why.
When a patient signs up to Patient Access, the experience is (digitally) the best introduction they could have to the benefits of your clinical services. It’s simple, relevant and beautifully presented.
They’re asked about conditions they have or are interested in, such as quitting smoking. There are blogs, explanations of treatments, and recommendations of local service providers (like you, if you’re registered with Patient Access).
They have a web app and dashboard, meaning, again, elderly patients are catered to. It’s also got great review questions for the patients when they’re investigating health advice such as asthma. Keeping patients within a regulated healthcare app searching for help for their symptoms is a great holistic solution. Otherwise, they’re left to the whims of the internet, advised to rush to the emergency room for their headache and touch of the sniffles.
Accessing “Patient Access” as a patient…
It’s tragically ironic that, of all the apps I’ve tested as a patient, this is the hardest to access. As well as fingerprint access (which seems fairly secure already) I was asked to set up a memorable word. I set up an 8 character word. At times when signing-in, it has asked me for the 9th character of my 8 character word. Fairly tedious. A quick check of the online reviews suggests this is a recent addition, and wildly unpopular. I’m sure this will get looked at, but it’s always worth bearing in mind that by adopting this software, you are recommending it to patients. A frustrating experience will reflect negatively on you.
There’s a one-off cost for setup, and Patient Access takes a 15% cut of the price of any clinical service that is booked through their app. But 85% of a sale is better than 100% of no sale. Patient Access is another source of referrals for you to potentially grow your business.
If you want a trusted name, look no further. One mention of the NHS sells patients on this as essentially an official part of the process. It’s perfect if you just need a stock offering that does what it says on the tin. It’s hard to distance yourself from an app when something goes wrong if it’s branded to you, or if the patient never heard of it but you recommended they use it. If something goes wrong with the NHS App, it’s unlikely you’ll be associated negatively. Public perception will just be that it’s the “NHS” in general, not you specifically.
It also makes it possible for anyone to nominate you as their pharmacy, as the NHS App doesn’t rely on the GP’s IT enabling this option.
Being the NHS comes with its drawbacks though. As it’s publicly funded, the internal processes for app updates may well be slower than a private company. Features that aren’t seen as mainstream won’t be available through this app, as the NHS App will cater to the majority.
The NHS has a web app which as previously discussed for Medadvisor, is a critically good inclusion. Even if people are comfortable with using mobile devices, sometimes it’s just more convenient to use a desktop. Having more ways to access your medication is always a benefit.
Some see it as a positive, some unnecessarily fidgety. With the NHS App, patients must prove their identity before reordering prescriptions. This is great to reduce fraud, but it may also increase patient frustration with the setup process. This could dissuade them from using the service altogether.
You’re on the NHS App whether you like it or not
This is the bare minimum you should recommend to your patients, as it’s an option you’ll already be featured on. This gives patients the ability to nominate you for EPS and order their repeat prescriptions electronically without you investing anything into the service.
An up and coming player…Manage My Meds
Manage My Meds isn’t yet as popular numerically with some of these other players, having only launched in December 2020. But it’s got lots of the features that make these other apps great and is well worth a look in.
Whichever Prescription Reordering App you go for…
Always consider not only your current parameters but also what your pharmacy will need in the next few years. Once you have a few hundred patients signed up to an app, it isn’t the easiest thing in the world to switch providers. This isn’t a decision to take lightly, as it will significantly impact your business.
Have you been using any of these Prescription Reordering apps for your pharmacy? Finding a solution useful or poor? We’d love to hear from you.
If you’re looking for help in selecting the prescription reordering app for your pharmacy, please get in touch with us. Our Director, Saam, is a pharmacist of 15+ years, and we speak to literally 100’s of pharmacists every week using a variety of different prescription reordering apps, we’re in the know.
https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/IMG_6312-scaled.jpg18192560JP Quinnhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pharmacy-Mentor-Logo-Header-Website-300x56.pngJP Quinn2021-01-30 09:23:362021-03-17 14:55:54Prescription Reordering Apps – Which one is best for your pharmacy in 2021?
The Patient Medication Record (PMR) world has long awaited revolution. Is the solution (and the revolution) finally here?
PMR Systems – A critical analysis
A PMR system determines the Quality of Life of a pharmacy team. You don’t want something you use so frequently giving you headaches. But it isn’t just your experience that improves with a good PMR. Your patients’ experience is dependent on a system that enables both communication and efficient service. As we discussed in our guide to choosing an online payment provider, with increasing competition on prescriptions, customer experience is paramount to retaining their business.
The whole EPS system works better for patients, but there is a world of potential for PMR’s to grow into to improve customer experience. With big automated giants like Amazon Pharmacy wading into the prescriptions market, you can be damned sure they’ll have the best system in place for prescriptions. The focus on clinical services is pivotal. Your PMR should both freeing up Pharmacists’ time and making patients’ lives easier.
Industry-Leading Pharmacy PMR Systems in the UK
All the providers we’ll look at in this article are “industry-leading”, using their own words. So, it isn’t really clear who the industry leader is. Or what they even mean when they say that. Is industry leading the best? Or is it the first to be released? Hopefully, our guide will provide direction and a bit of clarity with what you can expect from each provider. We’ll update this guide routinely so it’s always a useful source for you when you need it.
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Does any PMR System fit a modern pharmacy?
The name Patient Medication Record shows the focus of PMR systems. And this way of thinking, along with a lack of cutting-edge competition, held back PMR development (and pharmacies) for some time. You’re undeniably reliant on prescriptions as a baseline to your business and require a system to manage that. But the historic reality of PMR systems was no matter how good they are at managing medication, they’re focused on – and therefore limited to – managing medication. As a business, when your infrastructure is limited, so is the service you’re able to offer. If you want to grow (or you’re forced into it by ever-decreasing prescription margins) into something more than a dispensing pharmacy, you’ll naturally need more from the system you’re using.
There’s an issue with complaining about PMR’s when thinking about the system that a modern pharmacy needs. The intuitive thing to do is to think of what already exists and try to make it better, but that’s like trying to make a plane and starting with a car. You can slap a pair of wings on a car, but it’s going to take you a lot longer to make it fly than it would if you just started from scratch and designed a plane.
Think about designing a system from scratch to manage your patients now. How would it function? What is it capable of doing? Understanding that the focus of a modern pharmacy is now multi-dimensional, the chances are you wouldn’t even call it a Patient Medication Record System, but a Patient Management System. (Or a Patient Integrated Care System, if only for the abbreviation PICS)
With all that in mind, what’s the best existing PMR system on the market?
Which PMR System does the best job?
Whilst no system is perfect for every pharmacy (one size rarely fits all), which existing provider comes closest to ticking all the boxes you want?
The five PMR systems we’ll review all offer unique elements to improve your working life. However, there are unique aspects to each system making each more appealing to some pharmacy owners than others. We’ll also include the company’s own video (where available) to give them a chance to speak for themselves.
Please note: As of this publication, we are not affiliated with any PMR System provider and this has been written with no bias whatsoever. It is for information purposes and comprises of what we know when doing our research into them on a top-level, some feedback we’ve naturally been given from our clients and the experience our CEO has had in using some of the systems as a pharmacist himself. We are by no means indicating one is better over the other and it’s up to you to decide which will be right for your particular business. Furthermore, these PMR systems are in no order of priority and numbered randomly.
An immediately striking element of Titan is it’s clearly created to be used by anyone. One of the biggest issues in any business adopting new technology is “buy-in” from the staff, and the training needed to get them using it effectively.
Titan’s system undoubtedly reflects modern software expectations. Anyone familiar with using a smartphone will find the system intuitive.
The Titan system has individual logins that are completely customisable for the users too. This means that your pharmacy technician and Superintendent Pharmacist can work with information and functions that make sense to their job role, whilst working from the same system
The genius behind Titan’s PMR is that it brings in modern business solutions, such as the ability to monitor individual performances such as completion rates and mistakes. This allows for detailed performance analysis and gives good insights into where training is required. On the topic of training, the system has an inbuilt guide/tour of how to use its functions – so face-to-face training isn’t required. However, it’s important that staff understand the full functionality of what’s available to them. Quickly skipping through the tutorials will lead to inefficiencies down the line.
It integrates, unsurprisingly, with Invatech’s Care Home Management system, Atlas PCS. If you already work with Atlas, it makes sense to adopt Titan too in the same way if you have an Apple or Microsoft laptop you’re better off with the same make of phone. The compatibility outweighs so many other pros and cons.
However, Invatech claim Titan PMR should be able to integrate with any healthcare app created using approved structures. This relies on other healthcare apps being built in the right way. So there might not be a raft of apps you can immediately integrate with, but it’s certainly future-proof.
Where it gets really exciting with Titan PMR though, is the “building blocks” approach to a tailored system. As much as one size can never fit all, this building blocks feature allows you to create different models of PMR for different models of pharmacy. As such, with a bit of time investment, you can mould your PMR system to your exact business model. Their claim “if you can imagine it, Titan can probably do it.”
A new player in the PMR market, Titan PMR has reimagined what PMRs should be. Whilst it might not be the complete package just yet, that might only be because other healthcare applications need to catch up to the level of integration that Titan can offer.
Titan’s offering is focused on helping Independent Community Pharmacies, mainly as that’s CEO Tariq Muhammed’s vision. “Leaving good pharmacists to do great services,” is the mantra behind his foray into technology in the pharmacy industry. So, provided you’re an Independent Community Pharmacy, Titan could well be the PMR for you.
Integratable API – Allows for integration with other systems
Forward-Thinking/Future-Proof – The reason for Titan’s creation was a frustration with the existing systems. As long as Titan doesn’t become the very thing it set out to beat, it looks like a strong horse to hitch your wagon to. The way it’s designed stands it in good stead for the future.
Building Blocks Model allows you to model your system on your pharmacy model, rather than try and fit one to the other.
Flexible Support Channels including WhatsApp –Customer service is obviously a huge factor. Whilst we can’t attest to the service provided, the flexibility to speak to people is a good sign.
Only recently released. With other more established PMR’s, it’s easier to find and read the experiences of people like you with reviews and testimonials online. Whilst there’s no telling if there are user issues, you’d be an early adopter at this stage, and therefore open to potential teething issues and bugs. It’s also unclear what the customer service is like. However, their eMAR product Atlas has positive Trustpilot reviews.
Cegedim Rx is already a big player in the PMR world when it comes to Medication Management. But the big advantage – the name. Pharmacy Manager. Not just the name, obviously. (Though it does sound like a fun computer game.) The benefit is more in how Cegedim Rx views Pharmacy Manager. Which is to say, they also view it as something that should reflect the whole of Pharmacy, including the incorporation of delivering services.
Switching PMR systems can be an administrative pain, so if you’re looking to switch to a new provider, it’s worth thinking about the future as well as the present. What’s the company’s vision for their PMR offering? Does their vision match up to your strategy as a pharmacy?
Cegedim Rx appears keen to listen to feedback from their users, and understand the direction Pharmacy as an industry is headed to develop their product into one that works for its users.
This is taken from the Cegedim Rx website:
“We have embedded our commitment into a product experience goal that commits to delivering products and solutions that precisely match our customer’s needs, enhance the UK healthcare systems, and facilitate improvements in patient care and outcomes.”
It’s promising to see both pharmacies and patients involved in product development.
Aesthetically, the Cegedim Rx is great to look at, having undergone a facelift in a recent update.
The dashboard design is useful, with a useful colour-coding alert system to prioritise tasks. It has good links to NHS services, including the prescription tracker and NHS mail within Pharmacy Manager, meaning find out what stage prescriptions are at without having to leave your PMR.
We know that Cegedim have big plans to advance Pharmacy Manager even further so in terms of innovation, they are helping community pharmacy evolve in its operations. This is a strong feature of the PMR and the company as a whole.
As mentioned, Pharmacy Manager is integrated with the NHS Prescription Tracker, which makes handling customer calls a breeze, as you’ll always know exactly where a prescription is up to.
If getting and giving great customer service is your main priority, Cegedim might be your best option.
User Interface – With a focus on making sure you never forget anything ever again by making the important things visible.
Reliability – Cegedim Rx support is widely praised for their communications and the system held up even during the Pandemic.
Updates –Cegedim Rx are constantly listening to customer feedback and improving the system with updates which improves the issues that people want fixed.
Consider the functionality of this PMR and compare it to other PMRs. Does it have the required variety of spec to do what you want to do in the pharmacy?
Rx Web divides people more than pineapple on pizzas. Whichever way you slice it, (#PizzaPunIntended) Rx Web is a forward-thinking solution. But can they deliver? (end of pizza puns)
A cloud-based platform enabling access from any PC or terminal instantly is a smart solution for pharmacies with more than one branch, or even just a large pharmacy with lots of terminals.
Cloud-based is so much better for so many reasons – there’s a reason Microsoft & Apple use it.
Imagine your pharmacy was broken into and your IT equipment was stolen. On the cloud, your data is still safe and accessible. Storing your data on your hardware isn’t secure.
Multiple pharmacies under the same umbrella? Working from the cloud makes it as though you’re working as one. Instead of your teams working in isolated branches, the cloud is a tree to connect them all. This means if you have a branch that’s busier than another, the one that isn’t as busy can be taking the prescription workload off the busy branch. Not only that, but the prescriptions will appear to be coming from the pharmacy they were ordered from. From the consumer’s perspective, it’s seamless.
Rx Web gets a lot of praise for its range of features, even from its critics. It even includes some Clinical Service support, though the list of supported services is limited to basic services like MURs, Flu Jabs, and Health Checks.
It also integrates with Care Home systems and its features around Care Homes specifically are quite extensive.
Whilst it’s great that they offer patient communications, and even give you 200 free texts per month, but it feels like 200 free texts won’t get you very far. Meaning there’s almost certainly additional costs in there if you wanted to truly use this system. They also, bafflingly, offer fax functionality with this. I don’t know how many of your customers have a fax machine sat at home. But perhaps you’re a pharmacy set in the ’80s. If you are, look no further. Rx Web has fax support.
Trying to get exact prices from PMR companies is a tricky task, especially as they often range based on individual needs. However, Rx Web has a reputation as the cheapest on the market, so if reducing your outgoings is your main priority, Rx Web might be your first port of call. We believe they only charge per pharmacy, so even if you have 10 terminals in your pharmacy, you pay once.
Where Rx Web seems to fall down is on its system’s integrity. Whilst some users report no issues, there are a lot of negative comments around Rx Web’s ability to run properly at busy times, suggesting their server isn’t big enough to cope. The technical support also receives mixed reviews. Their contract claims to be simple, but there are reviews that claim there is also no cooling off period. So simple it might be, but make sure you check what you’re signing up to. All things considered, it looks like a bit of a lottery when you sign up with Rx Web. You might be a big winner, but you might be a big loser.
Depends if you like pineapple on your pizza, I guess.
Low Fees – Users often remark on Rx Web being the cheapest on the market
Features –Especially considering the price point, Rx Web provides a lot of bang for your buck.
Server unreliability is concerning – though apparently, the servers are better now than they were.
Ranging reviews on Customer Service implies it depends who you get through to on the day.
ProScript’s reputation is that they’re the best PMR system, but also the most expensive. Logically, that makes sense. If something frees up more of your time, it’s more valuable. But how exactly does ProScript Connect do this? And does it stand up to the new kid on the block?
This video isn’t a promotional video, and it’s four years old. But it’s the only thing available and might give you some idea of what to expect with ProScript Connect.
Works even when your broadband goes down
With even the best internet prone to disconnect for no discernable reason, the idea that your PMR system (and effectively with it, your ability to do prescriptions) is tied to such whims is less than ideal, to say the least. ProScript’s “Constant Connect” automatically connects you to your NHS network via a 3G/4G connection in the event of a broadband failure. Pretty useful, if things like working are important in your pharmacy.
Clinical Services Provisions
Helpfully, there aren’t specifications for exactly which PGDs are covered, but that suggests you could feasibly assume that all PGD’s are included. The fact that there’s a Service Hub included does make ProScript Connect a really useful engine if you’re big on clinical services.
Wide Range of Features
Many of the benefits of ProScript come through the many modules they’ve developed as a part of the software, as above. Without going through them all one by one, it’s safe to say that each one is useful and thought through.
Communications wise it’s the same as many other providers, where you are able to send email or text notifications to patients…but again, what we’d really love is the option to text message back. Whilst it’s not imperative for prescriptions, communicating whether a patient needs to cancel or rearrange an appointment is valuable automation that just isn’t catered for at present.
It seems simple, but the ability to open tabs and work with different windows is useful. It makes so much sense in fact, that it makes any system where you can’t do that, look a bit silly.
Does ProScript Connect play well with others? Integrations are a big feature of what ProScript is aiming to do, with a big focus on linking with NHS systems like GP Connect & SystmOne. It uses SNOMED CT, which is required now by all NHS systems and enables information to be shared accurately without duplicitous re-entry by hand.
They also have an open API, so any third-party apps can build their apps to work with ProScript. (whether or not they do that will be down to the third-parties). But it’s certainly a plus point from ProScript. Integrations are so important for saving time on tedious admin tasks.
Integrations – With a focus on working well with NHS systems, there’s no doubt that ProScript plays well with other applications you might have or want.
3G/4G connection to cover internet failure is a big win.
Tabs! I get they aren’t the tidiest, but tabs are so useful to work with.
Cost – ProScript is high-end, which means paying high-end prices. But you get what you pay for in life.
Positive Solutions isn’t just a PMR provider. Although their PMR system is a solid standalone offering, what probably makes them the right option for you is if you’re interested in their Integrated Pharmacy Solution. It’s a fairly comprehensive solution including an ePoS system that completely integrates with your PMR. They offer other products like Analyst Head Office, which gives analysis on things like retail sales, profits, dispensing volumes across pharmacies, etc. Or Analyst Handout, demonstrated in the video below, which takes the power of your PMR into mobile terminals.
Switching PMR systems can be an administrative pain, so if you’re looking to switch to a new provider, it’s worth thinking about the future as well as the present. What’s the company’s vision for their PMR offering? Does their vision match up to your strategy as a pharmacy?
No Dispensing Downtime
Just like ProScript, Positive Solutions understand the frustrations with system downtime on a PMR, and provide 3G coverage if and when your broadband fails.
Incorporates Delivery Mates into your PMR
Your driver simply scans all the prescription bag label barcodes with the eDelivery app and the app does everything else.
Maps the best route with all traffic information for the driver and this includes keeping your patient informed of estimated delivery times. A dashboard in the pharmacy gives you all the information you need. It’s especially useful managing volunteers, proving you have a robust system to protect against fraud.
Most PMR suppliers tend to opt for either face-to-face training or online training. Positive Solutions have both. Face-to-face training upon installation, and an eLearning platform for training whenever it’s needed.
Integrates with your Robots
If you’ve got a robot or an automated collection point, Analyst PMR can be synced up with them so there’s no gap in your workflow.
Services Functionality – With a focus on making sure you never forget anything ever again by making the important things visible.
Good All-Rounder – Positive Solutions provides almost all the benefits and features other providers offer. Sometimes not as good, but at least the functionality is there.
Reliable Customer Service – With instant responses during working hours, so if something goes wrong it can get looked at straightaway.
Reports – Included in the price, unlike with some PMRs.
Some of the extra products in their ecosystem appear to come as standard in other PMR packages.
That’s the golden question. Which one is right for your pharmacy business?
It depends on how your business operates but we think the following are major reasons to influence your decision:
Customer service – Stuff goes wrong. It’s inevitable. The PMR record will not load or the system my go down. And making sure that the PMR company are responsive and accessible is key. If providers have limited access or don’t get back to you, simply avoid them.
User reviews – Does the company have social proofing? What do your colleagues say about them? Word of mouth goes a long way but if they are actively generating reviews online, this is a very good indication to go with them.
Integration – Does the software integrate with other third-party providers? Or is the software totally inflexible? If providers aren’t collaborating with other companies or their software/hardware does not integrate with other solutions, you’re limiting yourself.
Innovation – If when having a demo of the PMR provider, the user interface still looks like that from Windows 95, it may be a sign that the company lacks forward vision. Is the PMR provider using cloud-based or hybrid solutions, modern interfaces and state of the art software and hardware? If yes, then this is a green light.
Time-saving – The ultimate limiting factor for a pharmacist today is time. Will the provider will save you time in your operations and streamline workflow? This is an extremely important factor. More time = less admin = more room to develop and grow your business.
Have you been using a particular PMR system for your pharmacy? Finding a solution useful or poor? We’d love to hear from you.
If you’re looking for help in selecting the PMR for your pharmacy, please get in touch with us. Our Director, Saam, is a pharmacist of 15+ years, accompanied by the fact that we speak to literally 100’s of pharmacists every week using a variety of different PMR solutions, we’re in the know.
The new Distance Selling Pharmacy Websites Regulations come into effect on both January 1st and then April 1st, 2021. What do the regulations mean for you? We break everything down so you understand what you need to do.
We’re working in collaboration with Rushport Advisory, a leading consulting firm covering the pharmacy market. They have helped us curate this article and are guiding us to deliver the most robust and legally compliant distance selling pharmacy website on the market.
What do the new regulations say?
The exact wording for the Distance Selling Pharmacy Website Regulations are as follows:
28B An NHS pharmacist in respect of distance selling premises must ensure that there are arrangements in place at those premises which enable a person performing pharmaceutical services to communicate confidentially with a person accessing pharmaceutical services—
(a) by telephone or another live audio link; and
(b) via a live video link.”
This regulation is effective from January 1st, 2021.
28C “An NHS pharmacist (P) in respect of distance selling premises must ensure that P has a website for use by the public for the purpose of accessing pharmaceutical services from those premises, on which there is an interactive page, clearly promoted to any user of the website when they first access it, which provides public access to a reasonable range of up to date materials that promote healthy lifestyles by addressing a reasonable range of health issues.
This regulation comes into effect on April 1st, 2021.
What does that mean for you?
A closer look at 28B
Most pharmacies already have a telephone line and internet access already. But the requirement of confidentiality from the pharmacy premises means you need an area where a member of the pharmacy staff cannot be overheard when communicating with patients.
As well as communicating by phone (or an “audio link”), note the regulations state AND via a “live video link”. This means you need to have both options available. This is fairly straightforward to implement provided you have a laptop and internet connection through apps like Zoom, Teams or Skype.
We’re in the digital age. So people expect digital communication.
A closer look at 28C
This regulation is a little bit trickier to get into place and is also quite vague. Terms like you must provide access to a “reasonable range” of up-to-date materials clearly depends on who you are reasoning with.
The local NHS area teams ultimately will decide and so it’s likely to be their standards you must match. But don’t try and match the requirements. Blow them out of the water. The difference isn’t big between the two and will ultimately benefit your business anyway.
Here’s everything you need to comply with Regulation 28C
Most DSP’s still do not have a website, believe it or not. If you’re operating without one, you need to get one.
An “interactive page”
A website that doesn’t have interactive pages is known as a “brochure website” because it performs in the exact same way as a brochure or leaflet. That is to say, it doesn’t really do anything other than display information. An interactive web page makes the user actively engage with the site (think links to other resources.)
Your website needs to be interactive. We design the best interactive modern sites.
The interactive page must be “clearly promoted” to any user of the website when they land on your site. This is another term in the regulations that is open to interpretation with both terms.
What does clearly mean? It could just be that you don’t hide links to the page within a huge body of text (though it’s unclear why you’d ever do that.) In which case, having it as part of the “menu” of your website, accessible on every page would meet that requirement.
What does promoted mean? Do you have to draw attention to it? If so, a banner on every page encouraging visitors to the interactive page would meet the requirements.
It’s highly unlikely that the regulatory teams will nit-pick. If you show them a modern website with a great user experience (ie. it’s intuitive) and up-to-date information (rather than NHS regulations from 2013 – we’ll talk about that now).
A good range of health content
DSP’s need to showcase their service offering
This is where you may get frustrated. Only because creating content is a time-consuming process when you’re not familiar with it. Naturally, you want to be doing other things with your time. Outsourcing this work will save you a headache. We can help you with this (and the whole project) in a cost-effective way because we live and breathe health content and create pharmacy websites every day.
It’s tempting to simply copy and paste content from other pharmacy websites, but resist this temptation. Copied and pasted content is traceable and you could find yourself in breach of copyright laws with regards to someone’s intellectual property.
The crux of the new regulations is there’s no hiding as a product-only pharmacy, where you do little more than package prescriptions. Offering a channel of communication for consultation with the patients using your service is now mandatory.
You’re expected to carry this into your website. It can’t be just a prescription production line anymore.
We mentioned this before, but ultimately these Distance Selling Pharmacy website regulations improve your service to patients. That isn’t something to begrudge, but something to embrace. Realise that with an amazing website that is simple for your patients to use, those same patients will show you more loyalty.
Looking for help in meeting the new Distance Selling Pharmacy website regulations? Please get in touch with us. As we offer website services almost exclusively to pharmacies, we have all the knowledge already of what you’ll need to get set up.
https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Screenshot-2021-01-05-at-19.56.45.png19663298JP Quinnhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pharmacy-Mentor-Logo-Header-Website-300x56.pngJP Quinn2021-01-05 20:28:552021-01-06 07:54:56Distance Selling Pharmacy Websites – What the New Regulations Mean for You
The demand for a Covid-19 Vaccine will be sky-high. How do you market the Covid-19 vaccine as a pharmacy professionally and effectively?
How and when will Community Pharmacies be able to offer the Covid-19 vaccine?
The Covid-19 vaccine is getting its first major rollout in the UK. Community pharmacy is expected to play a part in the massive vaccination drive. However, because of the specific storage requirements of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, it’s unlikely many will play a part initially, so it might be a while until you can market the Covid-19 Vaccine for your pharmacy.
We won’t go into how to offer a Covid-19 vaccine in this article though, as that’s been covered plenty of times by the governing bodies in pharmacy.
What we’re going to cover is how to market the vaccine if you do end up offering it. The tips we’ll cover will both drive people to your Covid-19 vaccine service AND make your life easier.
How to use Facebook, including setting up auto-replies and posting.
Creating a dedicated COVID-19 vaccine page on your website
Updating your Google Business Profile
Advertising Your Service (without breaching policies)
1. How to use Facebook to generate awareness, build trust, and save you time
The vast majority of the UK will have Facebook profiles, and it’s a source of information that is widely shared. As a trusted healthcare provider, sharing accurate advice with links to the NHS or the UK Gov. site helps build trust in your community and keeps them aware of when they might be eligible for the vaccine.
An example of a Facebook post you should share with your community,
Every pharmacy gets those people who come in and want to ask you every question under the sun whilst 10 customers look at their watches in the queue behind them. Imagine being able to tell them that they can find all the information on your Facebook page, and if they still have any questions to send you a message on there. (More on this below!)
It is unclear at this early stage as to whether you will be allowed to promote a COVID-19 vaccine service on Facebook at all. During the pandemic, Facebook have been extremely strict on allowing any promotion of anything which claims to protect against COVID-19. Whether this changes with approved vaccinations remains to be seen. You should always check with your friendly neighbourhood Pharmacy Mentor before promoting via Facebook. We keep ourselves up-to-date with exactly what you are and aren’t allowed to promote on Facebook. You don’t want to end up with your Facebook page being banned.
Auto-replies on Facebook
Set Up Auto-Replies on Your Messages Inbox
This useful trick is for busy pharmacists who don’t have time to answer messages on Facebook. It also gives a channel of communication for your patients who prefer using Facebook.
Think of all the common questions you get asked about services.
Is it free?
What are your opening hours?
Do I have to book? Etc, etc.
We manage a lot of Pharmacy Pages, we know the types of questions people ask. It’s normally something they could Google, but prefer to stay on Facebook.
Instead of their message going into a black hole and making you look bad at responding, you can set up an automated response to Frequently Asked Questions.
You should always try to answer the question if possible. But you can also give them a call-to-action as well. Include links or phone numbers in this response, whatever your preference and tell them how to book or where to find out more information.
2. Create a dedicated Covid-19 Vaccine page on your website
Example page for a client of ours
Your website is your online shop window, so make sure you or your developer updates it to reflect that you’re providing the Covid-19 vaccine service. As soon as the user lands on the site, they can’t miss it. Have one button which leads to a blog post/web page about the service for the patient to learn more, and one that jumps straight to a booking calendar link for people who want to jump straight in.
Pharmacies we worked with did similar things for Covid-19 PCR Testing.
The content of this dedicated page should make both yours and your patients’ lives easier. Set expectations. Give information. Answer Frequently Asked Questions.
All of this helps streamline your processes and create more revenue.
Screening & Risk Assessment Forms
Most clinical services have elements of risk, meaning patients often need screening for pre-existing health conditions or other factors that can present risks such as age or current medications. Most recently at the time of writing, people receiving the Covid-19 vaccine appear to be at risk if they have strong allergic reactions.
Rather than waiting for the patient to come all the way into the pharmacy, or you having to phone them, why not have a form on your website that they can fill in? It saves both parties time and hassle.
Let people book their Covid-19 Vaccine online with you
Another amazing time-saver for you, and more convenience for your customer, keeping your phone lines free and your vaccinations organised automatically. Adding a booking calendar to your website allows you to take bookings not only for Covid-19 Vaccines, but for any other service you offer like Flu Jabs.
If your customer is booking at any time when your pharmacy isn’t open, the ability to book online is critical for making sure their experience with you gets off to a good start.
You aren’t just competing with other pharmacies for convenience….people can book their hair appointments online nowadays. They expect you to provide this option, and it doesn’t give the best impression of you if you don’t.
It’s worth mentioning that for most other services, it’s also a huge advantage to allow people to pay for their service when they book it. For one, it’s another major convenience for them. But it’s also a really committing action. People are a lot less likely to call up and cancel appointments when they’ve paid for them.
3. Update your Google My Business
Superb marketing tool
First things first, if you don’t already have a Google My Business profile, get one. For popular businesses like pharmacies they often get automatically generated. But if you’re not in charge of what’s on your profile, you don’t know what people are seeing when they find you online.
Presuming you’ve already got control of your account, for major pharmacy events like flu season and Covid-19, you want to make sure it’s updated so when people Google vaccines, they are reassured by your presence. Take the example above for Covid-19. People seeing this pharmacy are aware of the safety measures in place before attending. This lets your patient know what to expect and reassures them that you’re the right place to go.
How do people who don’t know about your pharmacy find you? Heck, how does anyone find anything these days? Google, of course! (Other search engines are available.) Though being found on Google is pretty competitive.
How do you make sure you appear on Google when people are searching? Well, two ways really.
The easiest way is Google Ads
As shown in the image above. See how many ads show up before you even get a look-in with an organic page? The downside to Google Ads? Cost. The cost gets higher and higher the more competitive the search you’re trying to be top of is.
Note: It may not be possible to run Google Ads for the COVID Vaccine through your pharmacy due to the changing Google Ads policies. Stay up to date today and seek our guidance if necessary.
If you’re willing to test for a return on investment, Google Ads is a fantastic way to help you get the thousands of visitors that flow through Google every day to your website.
The most sustainable way is optimising your web page for SEO
Remember that dedicated web page we talked about earlier? Well, optimised in the right way, Google shows your article to more people. If your optimised web page is top of Google, that’s like being one of those department stores at the entrance to a shopping mall. People have to go through you first every time. Unlike those department stores, you don’t have to pay a premium rent (that’s Google Ads). With an optimised web page, Google rewards you for giving it a super relevant and optimised page to show people by showing it to people first, for free.
Interested in seeing this in action for a pharmacy? Check out this in-depth look at getting found on Google. It’s a case study of using the power of Google to promote COVID-19 PCR tests for a pharmacy, back when no one else was really doing it.
Avoiding Facebook Advertising
We won’t go into this in too much detail, but Facebook’s Ads Policy, which you won’t (and that’s fine), prevents you from promoting almost everything to do with COVID-19 right now. Recently you couldn’t promote so much as a face mask without facing a suspension of your Ads account. But this may change in the future.
You should also avoid posting too much on your Facebook page about any COVID-19 service, as we have seen pharmacies have their entire pages banned for such activity. Again, this may change, and we’ll update this article if it does.
But for now, avoid Facebook for directly promoting the COVID-19 Vaccine.
https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/How-to-market-the-covid19-vaccine-1.png10801920JP Quinnhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pharmacy-Mentor-Logo-Header-Website-300x56.pngJP Quinn2020-12-16 09:42:162020-12-28 09:52:32How to Market the Covid-19 Vaccine for your Pharmacy
I tell people all the time that they aren’t competing with other pharmacies, but the general expectation of the public to what they should be able to do online now. Is it really too much to ask that someone can book and pay for a service online from you?
Well, now you are competing against other pharmacies. Amazon Pharmacy isn’t just out for you, but for everyone. Everyone will be stepping their digital game up.
The Digital Wave
This isn’t the beginning of the digital wave. The wave has been swelling for a long time. But it’s only just now reaching Community Pharmacy. If you haven’t bought into the idea yet that things are going to change dramatically in pharmacy, then soon it will be too late to surf the wave. Soon the wave will be crashing down on you and pulling you under.
Fortunately, a lot of pharmacies are now taking action. Also, with the evolution of digital health and mobile technology, and the ability to provide a vast array of private services, there are so many more reasons why taking payments online is a fantastic thing to do for your patients. We’ve had a lot of questions recently about online payments for pharmacy. Which one is the best? The cheapest? Which one has the best customer service?
We’ve learned a few things over the last year about pharmacy payment gateways. For example, Stripe, a brilliant online payment gateway that we use for our own business, does not generally accept pharmacies as customers.
So we decided to write this article to give you an idea of the options available to you.
Here, in no particular order, are the Top 3 Online Payment Gateways for Pharmacy in the UK.
As we gather more data and build more eCommerce solutions for pharmacy, this article may change.
PayPal – Trusted Name, Transparent Fees
PayPal is probably the easiest payment gateway to add to any website. It’s also one of the most trusted names in online payments, which gives people convenience and confidence – two crucial factors when you’re looking to defend against convenience on an Amazonian scale.
PayPal is everything you’d want from a modern payment services provider: transparent, affordable and flexible even for the smallest of businesses.
It’s optimised for mobile and major eCommerce CMSs such as WooCommerce (WordPress), Magento, Wix, BigCommerce and Shopify – not something all gateways can claim.
PayPal’s pricing is also completely transparent. Their comprehensive list of merchant fees means you know exactly what you’ll be charged for depending on the kinds of transactions you’re accepting. There’s a high chance you only need to look at the Domestic Card Payment rates if you’re a UK-based pharmacy.
The ideal PayPal customer is going to be a small business with a relatively high volume of card transactions every month – some pharmacies definitely fall into that bracket. 2.75% transaction fees for UK-based companies are pretty steep by anyone’s measure. However, that rate decreases the greater the volume of sales you make is. If you can turn over £15k sales every month, it’s highly affordable at 1.0%.
Remember, having more than one gateway on your site gives people more options and flexibility with paying you. Including PayPal alongside another solution is sometimes a better solution for your customers. Ultimately, that’s the game here – making it easy for people to give you their money.
On the downside, PayPal business customers are known to complain about funds not being released for lengthy periods and getting a resolution can take too long in the case of customer disputes. This is often just whilst PayPal verifies you as a trusted seller, but it can still be a pain if your cashflow is tight. On a similar note, its customer support team is generally quick to respond but often slow to resolve issues.
Pharmacy Mentor are Partnered with PayPal, so if you want to get in touch to see if we can get you a better deal, please contact us and we will refer you to them.
Square – One of the simplest online payment gateways
Square is a straight-forward online payment solution for pharmacies. Square’s simple transaction fees are easy to understand, and their payment solutions are simple to implement. They offer Point of Sale (what you’ll see commonly referred to as PoS) card machines for your physical location as well as their online offering. Square offers all the same integrations with website platforms as PayPal.
Unified customer data
Collecting and understanding data from your existing customers is critical in getting them back into your pharmacy and spending more money. We wrote an entire article about Data Collection for Pharmacies and its value for pharmacy owners. Square generates helpful data from your payments, such as how frequently someone shops with you, average spend and when they first visited. These all enable good segmentation for your pharmacy’s email marketing strategies.
The fact that Square offers both in-store and online payment solutions means your data collection doesn’t miss anything. If people are paying by card, you’re collecting valuable information on customer activity. With real-time reports, understand what sells best, when you’re busiest, and who the bestsellers in your team are.
Making Both Yours and Your Customer’s lives easier
Square prides itself on being easy-to-use for both your staff and your customers. Anyone with retail experience with difficult payment systems understands how important that is. As an added bonus, if you’re one of these pharmacies that looks space-age, the design will slot right in.
Taken from the Square website:
“Most credit card processors charge a fee for payment disputes, but not Square. We also save you time by managing the dispute process on your behalf.”
PayPal protecting consumer rights above all else is not the ideal starting point from a business perspective, although it obviously gives great faith to customers for buying with confidence. Square’s impartial stance on payment disputes is a good sign for dealing with them.
Pricing starts at a lower rate than PayPal, 2.5%. But their volume discounts aren’t disclosed on their website. If you like mysteries, that’s great, but less so if you want to plan things meticulously. We recommend understanding futures rates before signing up with any provider. Square makes our top online payment gateways for pharmacy in 2021.
Cardstream is the only company in the UK to provide a fully independent “white-label” payment gateway, meaning you can use your brand and make yourself look ultra-professional. This system allows you to accept card payments on your website, whilst also providing a real-time virtual terminal so you can take payments over the phone.
The key difference with Cardstream? It’s entirely independent from banks and other payment companies that process the card payments. This means you can use Cardstream as your payment gateway whichever bank is handling your card payments, and seamlessly integrate a fully customisable gateway into your website.
While Cardstream is an independent company, it has connections with a vast network of global acquirers and payment firms. So if you don’t already have one on board, they can help.
Transaction Fees: 9.9p added to other fees after 350 transactions
So which is the best online payment gateway for your pharmacy?
The best online payment gateway providers for pharmacies in the UK enable you to take card details online and they’re all highly capable options. In reality, the best choice for your business is going to come down to additional factors, such as the other payment services you need from a provider and the transaction fees you can expect to pay. It also depends on what you prefer more, lower fees, or better customer service.
PayPal, Square, and Cardstream give you a varied selection to consider initially. Then it comes down to flexibility vs simplicity.
Have you been using a particular payment system for your online pharmacy sales and transactions? Finding a solution useful or poor? We’d love to hear from you.
If you’re looking for help in selecting the right online payment gateway for your pharmacy, please get in touch with us. We’ll be glad to help.
https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Online-Payment-Gateways-for-Pharmacy.png10801920JP Quinnhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pharmacy-Mentor-Logo-Header-Website-300x56.pngJP Quinn2020-12-04 08:05:542021-02-24 12:39:13The Top 3 Online Payment Gateways for Pharmacy in the UK (2021)