There is currently a huge unmet demand for ear and hearing health services in the UK.
With most GPs discontinuing earwax removal services, it has become increasingly hard for patients to access this care on the NHS. Average wait times (pre-Covid19) were approximately 12-16 weeks. However, many patients are now waiting over a year to receive treatment.
It is vital patients are able to access this type of care because hearing loss causes problems with balance and falls and is known to be the single largest modifiable risk factor for the prevention of dementia.
Offering an Ear & Hearing Health service, plugging the gap
Many pharmacies have already expanded their services. Helping support their local communities in accessing ear and hearing healthcare services and reduce the burden on secondary care settings.
The Tympa system is the world’s first, all-in-one hearing health assessment system. It empowers pharmacists to perform HD digital otoscopy, microsuction wax removal, and a hearing screener, in a single 30-minute appointment. What’s more, pharmacists can access remote advice and guidance from Audiologists & ENT specialist surgeons when required. This means you’re never without support if you need it.
Secure Patient Data
All patient records and data are kept in a fully secure digital system. This can be quickly and easily shared via a professional PDF, with ENT surgeons or audiologists, should the patient need onward specialist treatment.
The Tympa service offers a brand-new revenue stream for your pharmacy. Generally, you only need to deliver two appointments per month to cover the cost of the Tympa device. What’s more, the increased footfall within your pharmacy can lead to boosts in cross-selling potential for other ear-related products such as Earol and decongestants.
“We have traditionally been all about dispensing the medicine, and yet now we can dispense care, we can dispense health, we can dispense a better quality of life and that’s an honour to do that. The bottom line is this service is invaluable. Bernadette Brown – Pharmacy Owner
“Patients are getting more than just ear wax removal, they’re getting an ear check-up, they’re getting a healthcare professional looking in their ear, who can then actually prescribe for them. Kara McIvor, Pharmacist
The Tympa System is a win-win. Your pharmacy can benefit from increased revenues, and deliver vital ear and hearing health services to your local community. With hearing loss rapidly becoming one of the UK’s top disease burdens – overtaking diabetes and cataracts by 2030 – now is the time for your pharmacy to be at the forefront of ear and hearing healthcare.
The Tympa Health Kit
Want to find out more about bringing TympaHealth services to your local community?
A big thanks to TympaHealth for contributing this article, giving our audience some great insights into the benefits of the Tympa Service.
You can find all our articles and subscribe to our mailing list on our website. We’re always helping pharmacy owners to make the most of their pharmacy business with the very best in pharmacy marketing tips and guidance. We’d love to see you join our community!
https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/TympaHealth-Featured-1.png10801920JP Quinnhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pharmacy-Mentor-Logo-Header-Website-300x56.pngJP Quinn2021-11-29 17:12:072021-12-01 10:03:59How Your Pharmacy Benefits from offering Ear & Hearing Health Services
Independent Prescribing will soon be the standard in pharmacy. (It’s already here, with early adopters already in full swing.). The move is the next logical step in Pharmacy becoming the true gateway for the NHS. And it’s the next logical step for your pharmacy if you’re growing your clinical provisions.
Want to run a pharmacy clinic as an independent prescriber? This guide shows you how to set yourself up in a way that:
Makes it easy for patients to find you and book appointments
Makes your clinic easier to manage
Gives you more time for customer care and less time on admin
Gets you good reviews
Maximises your profitability to help your pharmacy thrive
Works for any specialism you choose as an independent prescriber
Whilst independent prescribers (IPs) can be set up in a wide range of healthcare settings, this article focuses on independent prescribing in a clinical pharmacy setting.
Getting Started: Laying the groundwork
If we’re building a successful model, we need a solid foundation. The element that underpins the entire operation. That foundation is your website. The easiest way to explain the value of a website is thinking of it as the hub in a hub & spoke model. It’s the backbone of all the various points of your operation, including:
Capturing patients when they’re looking for a healthcare service
Selling POMs and P-medicines
Automating the Qualification/pre-consultation stage
Recording data to review and analyse
Answering FAQ’s so you don’t have to
Making sure you’re legally compliant
Your website is your pharmacy, just online. Being online means it never closes, a massive benefit when it comes to convenience.
Review those bullet points. The only part of the entire prescribing journey the website doesn’t cover is consultations/clinic appointments and the supervision of dispensing medicines. It stands to reason that if you’re the only person who can do those things, those things should be your sole focus. The website should take care of the rest.
Now, will there still be phone calls? Naturally. Will there still be issues you have to handle? Sure. But with a proper website, they are anomalies, not the norm.
Getting a proper Independent Prescriber website
Emphasis on the word “proper.” This is the foundation of your prescribing business we’re talking about. Cutting corners is not the way to go. Otherwise, cracks you can paper over become crevices that swallow your revenue. Not only that, you have to be super sharp in that the GPhC will inspect your site and if it’s not built “properly”, they will ask you to shut it down. A major issue if you’ve already generated a tonne of SEO and rank.
Ever heard “this website has caused us so many issues”? It’s all too common with the so-called “cheap” solutions. If you’re creating a car on a budget, it’s the frills you’ll want to cut back on, not the engine.
The engine drives the car forward. Your website will drive your business forward.
The websites we create have in-depth features, created specifically for Independent Prescribing.
For example, a patient ordering Treclin for acne through your website will be prompted to start an online consultation. They’re then taken step-by-step through a comprehensive consultation – just like you’d take them through in the pharmacy. Questions don’t become answerable until the last one is completed, ensuring 100% accuracy. But this is an example user journey, not the only one. It depends on how the GPhC sees this as regulatorily sound.
A megamenu taken from a Pharmacy Mentor website for an Independent Prescriber
They agree to a few conditions such as reading the patient info leaflet supplied, the medication is just for them, and that all questions have been answered truthfully.
Only then can they order the medication after signing up to your website (to confirm identity). Crucially, before any medication is supplied, the pharmacist must “approve’ the medication is fit for purpose for that particular person. You can’t cut corners here and you need to be fully confident that you’re supplying the POM ethically and within your own SOPs.
It mirrors the process of a patient visiting your pharmacy. But it’s far more convenient. For both you and them.
These pre-consultations are unique for every service and P-medicines/POMs you provide. Of course, GSLs are able to be ordered without the need for a consultation. For clinical services, it means that the only thing that both you and the patient need to do during the appointment is the treatment itself. Doesn’t that just make you want to breathe a big sigh of relief?
Pharmacy Mentor create these websites tailored specifically for Independent Prescribing Pharmacies. I could go on and on describing the functionality, but it’s a bit like describing a painting. The only way to experience it is to look at it yourself.
Ok, so you’ve got a website, now how do we capture the patients when they’re looking for a healthcare service or a consultation?
The traditional healthcare model has been GP or hospital first, then the pharmacy to collect any medication. As we know, that’s highly inefficient for the majority of most patients and the healthcare system itself. But, it’s what people are used to.
So how do we change that?
One of the most common sights in the NHS…patients waiting
Marketing Your Independent Prescribing Clinic
The problem pharmacies face when changing public perception of what they offer is indifference.
Think about how much information is thrown at us on a daily basis. Our brains have adapted to filter out irrelevant information. If you’re healthy, you don’t need to hear about where to go when you’re unwell. So your brain filters it out. Short of making a Netflix documentary, changing public perception in the macro is hard work. But we’ll return to that idea later.
One trick is marketing to people actively looking for healthcare services. Disrupt the existing journey they take. Give them a more convenient option. I can’t stress that enough. Convenience wins this game.
A more efficient, convenient service provided directly to people who need it, will, over time, change this perception of what pharmacy is.
You are the most convenient option
Fortunately, Independent Prescribing in a Community Pharmacy is the most convenient option, especially when coupled with eCommerce. All you have to do is appear when they need you, and you’ll most likely pick up the business. When people are faced with long GP waiting times for appointments, they’ll seek other avenues, and the place they’ll look is online.
Make search engines your biggest ally
Search engines have one job. To connect the person using them with the information they seek. One of the primary aims of your website should be having that information, and presenting it in such a way that the search engine connects the person searching for the information to your website. This is called Search Engine Optimisation for your Website and it’s pretty critical to success.
This is as true for the medicines you can sell online as it is for private clinics you operate. Give as much information as you can, as concisely and clearly as you can. When people are searching for help with their symptoms, your website should then show up with the clear, relevant information they need to solve their problem.
Social media is an incredible tool. And just like all tools, how you use it determines its utility.
Social media’s primary benefit is that it connects. It unites people with common interests into communities.
Earlier I mentioned a Netflix documentary being one of the only effective ways to get people engaged with health conversations when they’re feeling perfectly healthy. Your social media strategy should be to be like a Netflix documentary. Not in production quality. Just this:
Capture things people care about and talk about them.
As a community pharmacy, you already have a community waiting to connect with you. Their common interest is health. But as an Independent Prescriber, you’ll have a specialised common interest. It might be hair loss. It might be weight management. No matter what it is, you’ll have a topic that some people care about, because it affects them. You can create a community out of this.
Use your specialist knowledge and give your advice out for free through social media. The formula for using social media is quite simple. You can scroll through the slider below to check it out.
When you’re the one giving out the advice, building the trust that you know what you’re talking about, patients will come to you for the clinic. They’ll come to you for the medicines. And if they don’t? They wouldn’t have done anyway.
A pharmacist told us recently they stopped their team giving out GSL medicine advice over the phone, because the people were then just going to supermarkets to get the medicine. They’re giving their time for no return.
But with social media, it’s not like you’re spending any extra time on these people. You’re creating the content anyway. If 100 people see it and 10 people visit your pharmacy, that’s a net gain of 10 customers, not a loss of 90. They weren’t your customers anyway.
Talking about an example of an audiologist using Social Media to grow a community.
Accelerating the Process with Ads
Money makes the world go round. So, naturally, if you’ve got a budget for it, why wouldn’t you advertise? You’ll get more business and make more money as a result. Absolutely.
My first bit of advice, however, is tread carefully. As an agency for pharmacies, we’ve had to learn and understand the rules around advertising on various platforms, especially Google and Facebook-owned ones.
You don’t want to get yourself banned from platforms for advertising things you shouldn’t have.
Now, obviously you can’t advertise POM’s online. But you can carefully advertise your clinics. You can advertise your pharmacists. It’s usually all in the wording.
And it’s where I’ll cheerfully advertise our services. Because we’re Facebook and Google partners. As an agency partner, we have reps to talk to about what’s allowed and what isn’t. We can get pharmacies authenticated for certain medicines e.g. Pneumonia vaccines (though there’s never a 100% guarantee on this.)
But the main reason I’d advise using us, or at least another professional ads agency (who is aware of the delicate nature of pharmacy advertising) is that your return on your spend will be far greater.
It’s the equivalent of paying a stockbroker £5k to manage your £100k portfolio. You spend that £5k because they’re far more likely to make more money from your £100k than you are. And it’s the same with advertising.
If you want to understand more about the advertising process, check out some of our other articles on advertising for your pharmacy:
Since Independent Prescribing will be a new service for you, you’ll want to get as many reviews and bits of feedback as possible. Build it into the process. Whilst website review prompts can often be ignored, when you do interact with patients, asking for reviews and feedback is critical to both improving your service and giving the patients of tomorrow confidence in your service.
It’s important to remember that even negative reviews can be turned into positive experiences. Responding to the review is always the first step. Thanking them for taking the time, and empathising. If you feel the review is constructive, you can then let them know you’re taking their feedback on board to improve your service going forward. A lot of the time, people leaving these reviews just want to be heard.
Talking about how to use negative reviews positively.
Once you’ve refined the process for one clinic, rinse and repeat with new specialities.
If you’re a newly qualified Independent Prescriber, starting a new clinic, then you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the process streamlined. It’s a lot easier to handle one clinic if something isn’t quite right than it is three or four!
But when your website is fully functioning, you understand the customer journey, and you’re raking in positive reviews, it’s definitely time to expand the offering. Naturally, you’ll have a personal workload you won’t want to overburden, but this is where we’ve seen several pharmacies we work with expand by hiring new IPs with different specialities.
If every pharmacy sets up successfully, the NHS and how the public interacts with pharmacies will already be changed. It’s an exciting time for pharmacy, and a rewarding one for those pharmacists willing to adapt to the new digital landscape.
After all, you went into healthcare to help people, not do endless administration.
Found this article helpful?
You can find all our articles and subscribe to our mailing list on our website. We’re always helping pharmacy owners to make the most of their pharmacy business with the very best in pharmacy marketing tips and guidance. We’d love to see you join our community!
https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Pharmacy-Clinic-as-an-IP-1.png10801920JP Quinnhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pharmacy-Mentor-Logo-Header-Website-300x56.pngJP Quinn2021-11-17 13:01:402022-02-22 15:23:47How to Build an Online Independent Prescriber Clinic (UK) in 2022
Moving towards a modern healthcare hub, service-focused model of pharmacy, setting up an Aesthetics Clinics in your pharmacy makes perfect sense. It’s a business that can completely stand on its own, being a high-end luxury service rather than the lower-end necessities.
Why should you set up an Aesthetics Clinic in your pharmacy?
They’re incredibly profitable. Successfully run, an aesthetics clinic can be more profitable than a pharmacy.
See number 1.
No, but seriously, there are many reasons to set up an aesthetics clinic. Perhaps you enjoy doing it. Perhaps you believe the industry practice could be improved with more highly qualified clinicians. But, if done well, (which we’ll cover below) it will make you lots of money and as a business, that’s a real consideration. And as a healthcare institution, you’ve already got a great awareness of the medical side of the business. Because ultimately, although it is a luxury boutique, it’s founded in healthcare.
The problem is, a lucrative business comes with lots of competition. Who doesn’t want to make lots of money? But…
Pharmacies are perfectly placed to deliver Aesthetics Clinics as a trustworthy healthcare institution
Luxury customer experience is idealised by the people seeking these treatments, but ultimately their health is their main priority. They want 100% confidence their procedure will go well. Whilst levels of qualification are required to perform these cosmetic treatments, a pharmacist’s experience and qualifications stand head and shoulders above people whose only medical qualifications are the cosmetic ones.
Being at the heart of your local community also offers the convenience of proximity for a service where a lot of patients want repeat services every few months. Most pharmacies have a consultation space, allowing procedures to be conducted privately and comfortably. Your Consultation room may not offer the luxury feel of other Aesthetic clinics. A great experience is often the difference between a one-time customer and a repeat customer. It might be worth investing in a facelift for your consultation room as a facility.
How’s your consultation room game?
Why shouldn’t you set up an Aesthetics Clinic in your pharmacy?
It’s easy to get swept away in the idea of making lots of money, but Aesthetics Clinics are a big commitment and shouldn’t be undertaken without being properly thought through. Here are 3 reasons you shouldn’t set up an Aesthetics Clinic.
Aesthetics is, perhaps unsurprisingly, utilised by people who place a lot of emphasis on looks and a luxury experience.
If your pharmacy doesn’t look modern, this could hamstring any efforts to attract people to your clinic. If your consultation room isn’t up to scratch, again this will dent your appearance as “high-end.” People won’t spend a lot of money somewhere they don’t perceive to be high-end. Your medical and clinical experience is already high-end compared to most cosmetic clinicians. But your experience needs to match to make the very best profits.
Neither you nor your team has an interest in aesthetics and learning to be competent.
To re-iterate: the experience of aesthetics treatments should not feel like going for a vaccine, and the treatment is also more complicated. People want an experience to make them feel valued. What this entails varies from individual to individual. But if you’re only interested in a money-making machine, people will find somewhere else that gives them the experience they seek. Either that, or you’ll have to make your model low-cost, high volume. It’s a lot harder to make a margin this way. It’s also a lot of time being spend doing aesthetics treatments if you have no real interest in it. Superdrug offers an extremely cheap option, but with their marketing budget, their margin might come from increased footfall in their store. The hope that by attracting aesthetics patients they’ll also cross-sell make-up or other beauty products. (something you should consider doing no matter your price)
You have no marketing strategy for it.
If you don’t know how to connect your service to your paying customers, then there’s really no point investing in not just this, but any service. Our Powerful Aesthetics Marketing service is perfect if you don’t want to do this yourself.
If you’re in this position currently, consider improving these areas. It’ll massively ramp up your chances of success.
Marketing your Aesthetics Clinic – Setting yourself up for success
Let’s just make it clear what I mean by marketing – connecting your product/service to your customer. Without that, you’re not going to get anyone into your clinic. If no one knows you offer the service, how can they buy it from you?
Relying on people seeing your service in your pharmacy is going to be slow, slow going. Generally speaking, the market for your aesthetics clinic and the market for your pharmacy will have limited crossover. We’re talking about very different customers. So you need a very different marketing strategy. Your offering could be completely different from an Aesthetics Clinic down the road from you too. So you could need a very different strategy from them.
Your logo, your branding, your website, your social media, your content, even your premises will need to reflect the service you’re offering. And that might sound like a lot of work. But Aesthetics Clinics can make you lots of money. No one ever gets that without work. Set up in the right way though, you can reap handsome rewards. But it’s all dependent on the marketing.
Image is everything. For the vast majority of your customers, their first impression and their decision to visit your Aesthetics clinic will be made online. So you have to look, sound, and feel like a brand they’d expect to buy a treatment from.
If you want to have your Aesthetics Clinic share a website with your pharmacy, then the bar for visual appeal needs to be set for the Aesthetics business, not the pharmacy. Your pharmacy customers won’t be put off by a website that looks excessively good for a pharmacy, but your aesthetics customers will be put off by a website that doesn’t look good.
The impression it gives? “If you can’t make your website look good, how can you make me look good?”
Let’s go back to the definition of marketing. Connecting your service to your customer. The perfect time to do this than when the prospective customer is searching for the service.
At it’s core, SEO means that your website gets found when people search for things. Want your Aesthetics Clinic to be found when people search for “Botox Injections?” You have to optimise your website for that phrase. The video below demonstrates Google searches for different key phrases “botox injections” and “aesthetics injections” and shows how different websites show up for what is a very similar phrase.
Your average ignoramus like me wouldn’t have a clue about the difference between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery. So it’s important to be found for all the different search terms that people will use when they want your service.
Understanding what people are searching for is critical to getting your service found. If you’re trying to be found for “Aesthetics Clinic” instead of “Plastic Surgery” for instance, you’d be barking up the wrong tree. Plastic Surgery is searched for around 30x more on average and sometimes 50x more. Even though you don’t offer Plastic Surgery, you could optimise a blog post with the title “Plastic Surgery vs Cosmetic Surgery? What’s the difference and which one fits your needs?”
The same is true for “Botox Injections” – and any other service you’d offer. Just like people don’t search for a pharmacy when they want an earwax removal or a travel vaccine, people don’t search for an aesthetics clinic when they want treatments, they search for the treatments.
A Google Trends graph showing the difference in search terms between “Botox” (shown in blue) and “Aesthetics Clinic” (shown in red)
The Social media strategy for Aesthetics Clinics differs from a pharmacy strategy in a number of ways. Aesthetics is a visual domain and needs a visual strategy to match. The primary audience for aesthetics is on Instagram, but that doesn’t mean ignoring Facebook, or even Nextdoor. There are tools to utilise on each platform that can help to not only capture new business, but also retain your existing business. This is super critical for aesthetics, as treatments like fillers require repeat visits every few months. Customer retention should be a big focus of your strategy.
You’ll also need to build and optimise your Google My Business profile and begin generating reviews on there. Social proofing is everything when it comes to Aesthetics.
Paid ads combine the best of Social Media and Search Engines and hand it to you on a plate. Top of Google. Seen on Social Media. Guaranteed.
What’s the catch? You have to pay for it, naturally. But don’t let that put you off.
Digital advertisements provide better value, better analytics, and better targeting than any other form of advertising. Why does anyone advertise? Because the money it costs you to advertise is far less than the money you make by advertising. Creating and developing a successful ad campaign can be the difference between success and failure.
Ads are especially useful for getting business in the first few months while your organic strategy is growing.
Want help marketing your Aesthetics Clinic?
Our Aesthetics Marketing makes your clinic visible, accessible, and convenient to the relevant people and sets you up to capture the market and the profits which follow.
Understanding what people search for is critical in getting your service found. If you’re targetting “Aesthetics Clinic” instead of “Botox” for instance, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Plastic Surgery is searched for around 30x more on average and, in this spike,100x more.
Harnessing these trends both on Google & Social Media is fundamental to a successful Aesthetics clinic, which is a great opportunity to grow a large revenue stream.
(Taken from our current poll on LinkedIn #impartial)
Our Aesthetics Marketing makes your clinic visible, accessible, and convenient to the relevant people and sets you up to capture the market and the profits which follow.
Interested in the opportunity to run an excellent aesthetic clinic in your pharmacy? Check our Powerful Aesthetics Marketing and talk to us about how we can help you set up.
https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Aesthtics-Clinic-Pharmacy-1.png10801920JP Quinnhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pharmacy-Mentor-Logo-Header-Website-300x56.pngJP Quinn2021-04-29 11:26:482022-09-20 11:27:59How to set up a successful Aesthetics Clinics in Pharmacy
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.
As technology and artificial intelligence has evolved significantly over the past decade, so has the way we consume information in our daily lives whether it’s at work or at home.
As professionals and as patient’s we are using technology more and more intuitively to help support us in all aspects of life.
I firmly believe to provide the best service to your patients, you need to have the most up-to-date knowledge base and there are many apps that can help you with this.
The best clinical pharmacy apps I feel that you should be using in 2019 to ensure you have the latest and most relevant information to deliver the best possible care are:
This is a must-have app as a pharmacist. Admittedly the old version was pretty poor. It was slow, required you to pay and login via open Athens. However, this new version is a lot more refined and responsive. It is logically presented, with hyperlinks in the text to help guide you through the content. The interaction checker is really helpful and is a quick way to check drug interaction without having to flick through the pages from the book.
Contains all the latest guidelines for you on the move. It also allows you to send the guidelines to yourself as a PDF document. The iPad version even has the split screen feature, really useful if you need type and read. NICE too had an app however, they have recently withdrawn it from the app store.
Amazing app! Definitely one of my personal favourite of all the clinical pharmacy apps out there! It is a great app for all healthcare professionals. It offers the latest medical news, expert-opinions, point-of-care drug and disease information and relevant professional education. It also has many more reference materials, online calculators, formularies, etc. Plenty of CPD’s can be done from this app alone!
One stop shop for patients and professionals! Patients can use this app to make appointments with their GP’s and repeat prescription service. For professionals, there are featured articles, medical tools, and resources available for their development.
Have you felt confused by the number of inhalers that are now available in the market? Gone are the days of just a ‘blue’ and a ‘brown’ inhaler. So many combinations of molecules and devices are now available, it’s difficult to know where to begin from. This is a fantastic
app to supplement your counselling on inhalers. It has information for all the inhalers available in the market and video tutorials for each of them. For healthcare professionals, they have made available treatment pathways for Asthma and COPD recommended by BTS, SIGN and NICE.
So there you have it. The best free clinical pharmacy apps of 2019. I hope you find these apps as useful as I do in my daily life as a hospital pharmacist and as a locum community pharmacist. Technology is here to make your life easier, so harness it at work and deliver better care to your patients.
Mikin Patel– MPharmS, PG Clin Dip
Mikin is currently a Lead Pharmacist in Gastroenterology at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. His daily life as a hospital pharmacist entails of providing clinical pharmacy services, optimising medicines management, policy & guideline writing, financial reporting and liaising with local commissioners in producing commissioning pathways for high-cost drugs (e.g. biologics). He also locums in community pharmacies on weekends to ensure his practice is up-to-date in both sectors.
Mikin is a contributing writer for Pharmacy Mentor with a keen interest in digital health. If you’re a healthcare professional passionate about how the digital revolution is transforming pharmacy and healthcare and would like to write for us, please get in touch!
Pharmacy Mentor is a marketing agency specialising in the pharmacy sector but we also help pharmacists understand what and how to use technology to improve business, practice and patient care. You can access more CPD modules here.
There are many important factors in the running of a safe and profitable pharmacy business but the one that remains top priority are the people that work for you. Investing in your staff is investing in your business, and much of this investment has to come in the form of training.
The problem in pharmacy today is that once staff members complete the mandatory training required to do their job, continued training gets neglected through the day-to-day running of the business. This results in stagnant performance and demotivated staff which ultimately affects business profitability. Not ideal in the current economic climate.
However, we, as pharmacists, also understand the complications in organising and completing training in the pharmacy. Time is never on our side and keeping track of who has done what can be a frustrating experience.
MediaPharm is a complete all in one training solution for pharmacy businesses. Unlike other training suppliers, MediaPharm not only provides professional and certified GPhC training for your pharmacy staff, but their state-of-the-art software also allows you to automate the entire process.
With a MediaPharm subscription, you’ll have access to your own customisable and professional training dashboard, where you’ll find a load of cool features. Alerts are sent out automatically to those colleagues who are falling behind their training and managers can view real-time reporting that makes compliance a walk in the park.
Colleagues have unlimited access to a huge library of e-learning modules that are fun, engaging and quick to complete. They’re rewarded with digital badges to keep them motivated and we’re releasing new courses all the time meaning they will always be in the know.
And as new colleagues join the business, the volume of training doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Everything is organised, in one place and courses are unlocked at their own pace. No more course fees and costly delays waiting for enrollment – everything is included in your subscription and happens automatically.
Furthermore, you’ll have expert and continued support from their pharmacist-led team who are always there to make sure things are running smoothly.
A trusted pharmacy training provider
Mediapharm is a pharmacy training solution you can trust. They have courses accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council and the Royal Society for Public Health. They’ve been around since 2001 and proud to have hundreds of happy businesses using our platform. With our service, you can be sure that your staff will get the continued training they need and your pharmacy remains safe, effective and profitable.
The Mediapharm team have recently released the most effective and easy mandatory training modules for pharmacy teams. Check them out!
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Have you ever seen the film Elysium? I love it. Not just because I’m a sci-fi nerd, but also because of the future concepts of digital health displayed throughout it, such as the medical machine in this scene. Yes, I know. It seems a bit far-fetched to suggest that a machine would be able to clear up cancer.
Or is it?
The film is set in 2154, 136 years from now. Can you imagine what we could achieve in that time considering what we’ve achieved in the last 10 years alone?
I am completely fascinated by how the digital world is being integrated into pharmacy and healthcare, an idea known as Digital Health. The fact is, the digital revolution is shaping how we look after our health and therefore, we as healthcare professionals, need to be up-to-date with the new innovations causing this shift.
I was kindly invited to speak at an event held by International Investors and Founders in Barcelona to talk about “The Evolution of Digital Health”. It was a great occasion with some brilliant speakers and I’m really happy I could provide some value for the day.
Below is the transcript of the slides above so you can understand what on digital earth I was going on about.
If you like me to speak at your event, then please don’t hesitate to contact me. Because I’d love to!
There was a point in time when I was 16 yrs old. One day, I came back home after school to find my brother very excited.
“What is wrong with you?” I said.
“Just have a look at this….” he proudly replied, raising his shiny new phone in front of me, exactly the same one you see on the screen in front of you.
I was confused yet completely blown away by what I was looking at.
“Mate. How am I seeing through your phone…?”
He looked at me slightly disappointed and said: “It’s got a camera on it, you idiot”
A camera on a phone. I couldn’t believe my eyes. And it was that precise, mesmerising moment of my life that gave me the sudden realisation that the world was changing big time.
That was almost 20 years ago. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking….how is this guy ageing so well? (Crowd goes wild with laughter) I’ll tell you my secrets after the presentation for those of you who are interested….
But the point I want to make here is that this was 20 yrs ago and the camera phone concept did change the world! It has revolutionised pretty much every major aspect of our lives since. The way we communicate, the way we work, the way we shop and is now rapidly advancing the way we look after our health.
This is the part I’m interested in.
Camera phones, which are now smartphones, are completely disrupting the healthcare system. Let say I’ve had a rash on my arm for 2 weeks and I now want to see a Doctor.
Less than 10 years ago, the only way of doing this was to:
Call the doctor’s surgery and book an appointment.
Visit the doctor 2 weeks later and get a paper prescription
And then go to the pharmacy with that prescription to collect the medicine
But now, because of the digital revolution, this system, although still very much in motion, seems archaic and very time-consuming.
Because what I can do now is simply:
Take a picture of the rash using my smartphone
Upload the image via the app where my doctor is there on a live feed
And in 2 hours, I’ll have the medicine delivered to the door of my house
The camera phone just made my life easier and saved the NHS time and money.
The combination of a digital device, such as the smartphone, and the healthcare system is a tiny part of the digital health revolution that is exploding in today’s society. As a pharmacist working in the tech industry myself, I’m extremely passionate and excited about the concept of digital health, and today, I’m going to give you a brief insight into what digital health means, how parts of it have evolved in the last decade and what the future might hold.
Presenting “The Evolution of Digital Health” in Barcelona, Spain.
Paul Sonnier, the founder of Story of Digital Health and a person who has been working in the field for over 20 years, has defined the term “Digital Health” as:
“the convergence of the digital and genomic revolutions with health, healthcare, living, and society.”
A group on Facebook dedicated to Asthma is Digital Health. An app designed to help you improve yoga is Digital Health. A wristband that measures your heart rate is Digital Health.
It’s where both digital and healthcare worlds collide and overlap. And by digitising healthcare, it’s empowering us to better track and manage our own health, but also to make healthcare delivery more efficient, improve access, reduce costs, increase quality, and make medicine much more personalized and precise.
Now, this is a very top level description of what digital health is. Its roots extend into a complex array of factors which we will have to save for another session, but for a deeper understanding, I’d highly recommend you venture over to Paul Sonnier’s site and have a look a the information he gives there.
In the last decade, we’ve seen huge advancements in the digital health sphere. One of the biggest movements came right at the beginning of 2007 when the iPhone was launched and “Apps” began dominating the world. Ten years on and in 2017 alone, 3.7 billion downloads of health apps were recorded and they are now paramount in our healthcare. They help us meditate better, track our sleep, build relationships with fellow cancer sufferers and order medication super quick.
A couple of years later, wearable technology dented the health sector. You may have heard of Fitbit. Their first device, launched in 2009, clipped onto your trousers and tracked only your movement, sleep and calorie burn.
Fast forward to today and the wearable has evolved into your highly advanced health and fitness companion. Wrist-worn with high definition digital displays and a plethora of functionality including 24-hour heart rate monitoring, guided breathing sessions and dynamic on-screen workouts.
Right at the beginning of the presentation, I gave you the example where I was speaking to a Dr via an app. That is what we call Telehealth or Telemedicine and is now becoming much more commonplace. And rightly so. It’s saving the healthcare system tonnes of money but also improving mortality rate.
The rise of portal technology is allowing both patients and physicians to access medical records and interact online. By giving patients more access to their records, it’s actually empowering them to become more involved and responsible with their healthcare, and look after themselves better.
This decade has also seen the shift in human replacement. Self-service kiosks have replaced the registration tasks in many hospitals and GP surgeries. Not only is this saving time and money by reducing staffing levels, most patients find this an easier and more confidential process.
Startups in the digital health scene became more popular by the launch of venture capital platforms, such as Rock Health. In 2014, it was recorded that over 3 billion dollars had been poured into digital health startups. The Digital Health scene was officially booming.
And the big health regulatory bodies around the world are now evolving with the digital revolution. Personalised medicine continues to edge closer to the forefront of the healthcare industry, and is where treatment plans will be tailored to the individual instead of a “one size fits all approach”.
To get to this goal, technology is advancing something called pharmacogenomics, which is helping us understand how the genetic makeup of an individual affects their response to drugs.
And, of course, we can’t forget about Social Media either. Social media has also been a huge driver in the advancement of digital health.PatientsLikeMe, launched in 2004, is a social platform that helps connect people with medical conditions and now have a user-base of over 600,000 people worldwide with over 2,800 conditions. Not only do these people feel more connected, the data that this company has collected is being used to develop better healthcare services and devices, which is ultimately improving people’s lives.
And there’s the big word…DATA. It’s all about data. The more data we are collecting in the healthcare space, the more amazing things we can be doing with the technology we have and will build.
So, what does the future of digital health look like? Well, of course, I can’t and no one else in this room can be sure what it’s going to look like exactly. However, it’s the prospects of things likeArtificial Intelligence, Big Data andMachine Learning that can certainly give us an indication of what the future might hold.
Dr Meskó Bertalan of The Medical Futurist sums up really well how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being applied to the healthcare sector and what will come from it in the very near future.
One of the most obvious applications of AI is data management. Google, through Deep Mind, is already using AI to mine medical records in order to provide better and faster health services.
It’s also being used to develop treatment plans. IBM’s Watson has the ability to assess clinical records and actually choose a treatment plan for a cancer patient.
One of the big ways it will help the medical sector is by assisting in repetitive tasks. Medical Sieve, is an algorithm, again launched by IBM, that is currently helping cardiologists make clinical decisions quicker and easier. This technology will no doubt take over basic decision-making, leaving the clinicians with only the most complicated of cases to deal with.
AI is now being used to triage patients. Babylon is an app that allows patients to enter their symptoms, and based on the answers, your medical history and common medical knowledge, will actually tell you what you should do and where you need to go. This kind of technology will look to save the NHS millions of pounds each year through unnecessary GP and A&E referrals.
And AI is also being applied in the creation an manufacture of drugs. This is revolutionary because drug testing often takes years to complete. With the use of AI, lots of time will be saved in the process, and therefore millions of dollars too.
Digital is impacting healthcare on a huge scale and as we head into the future, it will become more and more integrated. It makes complete sense. It’s going to save us time, money and ultimately improve our health.
But where does it stop? How intelligent are they going to become? Is this the beginning of the rise of the machines?
I’ll let you and Arnie ponder over those questions.
Thank you. For more information on how I’m helping the pharmacy sector in England, please visit Pharmacy Mentor. Please feel free to connect with me on Facebook and LinkedIn too.
If you’d like to talk to me about getting digital, or anything related, please feel free to contact me and I’d be glad to assist you. Also, don’t forget to check out The Ultimate Guide to Driving Your Pharmacy Business in the Digital Age, a free 70-page manual, that is really helping pharmacists understand the importance of going digital and how to create a strategy going forward.
Thanks for visiting and see you in the next learning module!
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Something that I believe to be just as important as having the BNF, MEP and Drug Tariff in the Community Pharmacy setting is the Smartphone. Let’s face it, the iPhone 6 is probably the most advanced piece of equipment you’ll have in your pharmacy and it’s packed full of extremely useful apps. I’m gonna mention 6 of those which I use on a very regular basis which are helping me with my business and practice.
1) Google Chrome
Number 1 is without a doubt, Google Chrome. You have literally the world at your fingertips with this app, so if you’re posed with a question you’re not sure about, just Google it! Let me give you a quick example of how I used it the other day.
A woman came into the pharmacy with a script for Zoff Adhesive remover for her diabetic son, which we didn’t have in stock. In fact, it was a manufacturing problem. So she asked us to see if we could get an alternative for her. While the dispenser I was working with scrolled slowly through the pages of the Drug Tariff and C&D, I simply flipped open Chrome and spoke to it, saying “zoff adhesive remover alternative for diabetics”. It brought me to a forum where there were loads of alternatives and actually, she ended up buying a Boots plaster remover spray which worked even better than the Zoff. Google just saved the patient loads of time and the NHS a prescription item every month. Just Google it!
Keeping on the Google train, Google Translate is an absolute gem of an app that all pharmacist must have. If posed with a patient who struggles with the same language as you, Google translate will help you. Simply select the language of the patient and speak into the app. Extremely useful and important in making sure the patient understands what you’re advising.
While the BNF remains the number one reference for clinical dosages in the UK, Medscape, in my opinion, is the best Clinical App for pharmacists out there. It’s the user interface that does it for me – very easy to navigate and the knowledge base is outstanding. It’s what I use to check clinical conditions, drug interactions, symptoms and treatment options.
Since I run a Social Media strategy for the pharmacy I’m contracted to, the Facebook app is imperative. But not only can I drive the business through the Facebook app, it’s extremely handy in helping me with specific pharmacy queries because of the groups I’m part of. If I have a query with a prescription I’m not sure about, for example, I can post it to the group where 5000 other pharmacists will see it and advise me of the best course of action.
Now, I lied at the start of this blog when I said I’ve used all of these apps because I haven’t used Pro Delivery Driver. I’m sorry about that. Having said that, I have full confidence that this app is going to be extremely useful for Independents and I’m trying to get the chain I work with to trial it. They claim to improve efficiencies and communication with customers and the Social Proofing seems to back this up. Are you using Pro Delivery Driver? If so, let me know what you think about it in the comments below.
And finally, I can’t not mention Trello – the best productivity app in the world. I use it every day to schedule my tasks in the pharmacy and share objectives with the team across the company. It just makes communication so much better.
So there you have it, the smartphone and some apps that go with it making life so much easier for me in the pharmacy. Of course, there are so many other apps that pharmacists and pharmacies are using to benefit their business and practice, and I’d love to hear about them. If you’d like to share how you might be using an app, comment below so our fellow colleagues can check them out.
Thanks for visiting and see you in the next learning module!
In this CPD Action module, I’m going to show you how you can use an application called Trello to help you organise the workload in your pharmacy, but also to help you organise most things in your life.
It’s something that I use every day and has significantly boosted my productivity as well as those I collaborate with on there.
What is Trello and how does it work?
Trello is an online productivity tool, free to use, and is essentially a dashboard where you’re able to create Boards and Lists for anything you like. Within each list, you can create cards, and within these cards, you can do all sorts of things, such as attach notes, links, pictures, and deadlines. Your boards, lists and cards can also be shared with others.
Trello is great for overseeing everything that you need to do visually. It’s simple yet powerful and diverse, can help structure your tasks very effectively and can be accessed pretty much everywhere.
How can it help you in the Pharmacy?
You can use Trello to organise all facets of work in the pharmacy, all under one roof – that’s why I love it so much. For example:
Use it to organise your staff
You can set up a board named “Staff” and within this, you can have a list for each employee you manage, and assign them various cards, such as keeping a record of holidays.
Create boards for specific pharmacy topics
You could name a board “Clinical Governance” and begin building lists in there to structure exactly how you’re going to get it done. Or you could name a board “Quality Payments” and then begin to list the criteria on cards with direct links their relevant instructions on the PSNC website.
Create a board for potential business and prospects
Let’s say you’ve created a Board for GP surgeries and in there you have a list specific for the Manchester Road surgery. A while back you made a card to arrange a meeting with the Practice Manager for a specific day. You can move this card to a list of things that need to be done today or tomorrow and it will show up in there.
Create a board centred around your CPD
You might have a board specific for your CPD learning. Create lists around certain topics and if you find a learning module that you’d like to complete, create a card with a direct link attached to it and set a date and time that you’d like to get it done by. The options really are endless with this tool.
Trello can be used to organise other aspects of your life
I don’t just use Trello for the work I do in the Pharmacy. I have various lists for personal and admin tasks that I need to get done, and I use it extensively for the business I run online. I’m continuously updating new tasks and archiving them once complete, and not only do I know I’m getting things done, I feel a sense of achievement as I do so.
I’ve used plenty of productivity tools in my time and this one tops all of them. The ease of its use and functionality make my work and personal life much more seamless and stress-free, and I’m only using the basic, free option. It might not be for everyone, but if you like to be organised like me, it can make a big difference to your overall productivity and getting things done quicker.
What other productivity tools do you use?
Do you have any other tips about using Trello?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below and if you found this module useful, it would be great if you could share it with your colleagues.
Thanks for visiting and see you in the next learning module!
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