using AI in pharmacy

Using AI in Pharmacy

The pharmacy business is changing all the time and using artificial intelligence (AI) to help develop your business plan has become more popular than ever. AI has some super powerful data-processing and predictive tools that can streamline the development of a pharmacy business plan. But before you bring up your favourite AI assistant and tell it to write you the best business plan ever, you need to understand where AI shines, where it falls short, and how to effectively integrate it into your planning process. Otherwise, you could be facing some costly or embarrassing mistakes. This blog looks at the benefits and limitations of using AI to write a pharmacy business plan, providing actionable insights for UK pharmacy owners.

What AI Excels At

Data Analysis and Insights: AI is particularly good at processing large volumes of data quickly and accurately. For pharmacy owners, this means AI can help analyse market trends, customer demographics, and competitive landscapes. You can take a simple Excel spreadsheet of buying data or other information, drop it into ChatGPT and it will provide graphs, insights and other interesting information. You can also ask specific questions like which products or services are selling best by location and time and the AI will produce some great analytics. This is done in minutes whereas you would need quite some time to set this all up by hand in a data processing program.

Forecasting and Predictions: AI’s predictive analytics can be amazing at forecasting sales, inventory needs, and financial performance. There are a number of AI models out there that can be used to predict future sales but the more advanced ones can be a bit complicated or expensive. However, if you are not in the mood to spend big, the simpler AI programs like julius.ai are great at looking at your historical data and picking out seasonal trends or other patterns. This can help even the smallest pharmacies pull valuable insights out of their data. With all the new information you have, you can start improving things like stock levels, staffing, and promotional strategies.

Customer Segmentation: AI is absolutely amazing at breaking your customers down into marketable groups. By looking at what and when your customers buy, AI can identify all sorts of useful information. That is gold dust if you are thinking of doing some marketing or even if you just want to offer your customers a discount for being loyal. You will need to keep track of customer buying patterns for this to work but you can use a simple loyalty program for that. Once you have the data, ChatGPT or any other readily available data processing AI can quickly show you patterns and help segment customers. This is particularly valuable if you want to offer promotions as you will be able to pinpoint products that clients are most likely to need or want. This can then be worked into your business plan so you are able to more effectively target each customer group. If you are interested in connecting segmented customer data to your marketing, we can help. Contact us today.

using ai in pharmacy

Where AI Falls Short

New Service Creation: AI is excellent at analysing data but as a pharmacy owner or manager, you are best positioned to translate that into new or updated services. For example, AI can tell you that there was a spike in the sales of acetaminophen in October. However, it is going to have no idea that acetaminophen can be used to reduce fever and connect that to the fact that October is the start of flu season.

Strategic Vision and Creativity: AI can process data and give you some killer insights, but at the end of the day, it just isn’t very creative. That is where you (the person) come in. The ability to think outside the box, develop innovative solutions, and set a clear direction for your pharmacy are inherently human skills. Think of it like Lego. AI provides you with all the pieces you need to make what you want, but you still need to assemble them in your own way.

Understanding Regulatory Compliance: This is a pretty simple one. Regulation is complicated and you really need to understand how all the rules fit together. AI may be able to help you out but at the end of the day, you are responsible for following the law so you need to be the one working on compliance.

What You Need to Check/Write Yourself

Mission and Vision Statements: These are foundational elements of your business plan that should reflect your personal aspirations and strategic vision. AI can assist with language suggestions, but the core ideas must come from you.

Regulatory Compliance: Ensure that your business plan adheres to all relevant UK laws and regulations. While AI can help identify regulations, interpreting and applying them correctly is a task for human expertise.

Customer Service Strategies: Develop strategies that emphasise personalised customer service and patient care. AI can provide data on customer preferences, but designing programs that foster loyalty and trust should be done by humans. This is because you understand at the deepest levels what your customers care about and AI simply can not match that.

SWOT Analysis: Conduct a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis yourself. AI can assist by providing data and trends, but the critical evaluation and strategic thinking should be human-driven. Remember that AI is only as good as the data you give it. So if you have a weakness, it may now show up in the information you are feeding to the AI.

using ai in pharmacy

What to Leave to AI

Data Analysis: Let AI handle the heavy lifting of analysing data. This includes market research, customer behaviour analysis, and competitive analysis.

Financial Projections: Utilize AI to create detailed financial models and forecasts. AI’s ability to process historical data and predict future trends can be invaluable here.

Inventory Management: Use AI to optimise your inventory levels and supply chain operations. This ensures you have the right products in stock without overburdening your storage or finances.

Marketing Analytics: Leverage AI to track and analyse the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. AI can provide insights into which strategies are working and where adjustments are needed. Then you can call Pharmacy Mentor and we can help you put your analytics to use generating new customers.

What You Need To Know

Embrace AI for Data-Driven Insights: Use AI to analyse data, helping you make informed decisions about your pharmacy’s operations and strategy.

Combine AI with Human Expertise: While AI provides valuable insights, ensure that critical decisions, especially those involving customer service and strategic vision, are made by humans.

Focus on Personalisation: AI can process the data and show you lots of great stats but you need to figure out what that means for your customers. Then you need to take what you learn and use it to make the best possible service for your patients.

Stay Updated on Regulations: Keep abreast of UK regulations and ensure your business plan complies. Use AI for monitoring updates, but rely on human judgment for compliance.

Regularly Review and Adjust: Continuously monitor the effectiveness of AI-driven strategies and make adjustments as needed. Regular reviews will help you stay agile and responsive to market changes.

By strategically integrating AI into your business planning process, you can enhance efficiency, gain valuable insights, and stay ahead of the competition. Just keep in mind that AI is no substitute for human expertise and the personal touch.

brad girtz

pharmacy booking calendar

Choosing a Pharmacy Booking Calendar

Do you have an online booking system that you think works well for your team? What if we told you that the system you thought was a modern convenience was actually driving patients away and sabotaging your sales? It’s a thought that might worry you, especially in this competitive market. Well, that is why we have written this blog. Here, we explore how the right system can boost your business, and how a poor one can do just the opposite. We will also provide guidance on what we believe to be the best online booking systems for pharmacies and how we can help you make the shift to a better platform if needed.

Why Online Booking Matters

First, let’s talk about why online booking systems are so critical. Today’s patients are accustomed to convenience. They expect to be able to book appointments, order prescriptions, and access healthcare services with a few clicks. By offering an online booking system, you can meet these expectations and make your pharmacy more accessible.

But it’s not just about convenience for the patients—an efficient online booking system benefits your team too. It reduces the time staff spend on the phone, frees them up to focus on in-store customers, and helps manage the flow of appointments, reducing wait times and improving service.

How a Poor System Can Hurt Your Business

Not all online booking systems are created equal. A poorly designed or implemented system can be a significant barrier. Imagine this scenario: a patient tries to book an appointment online but encounters a confusing interface, pages that take forever to load, or worse, a system that crashes halfway through the process. Frustrated, they abandon the booking and either call in (if you’re lucky) or, more likely, take their business elsewhere. Instead of streamlining operations and increasing patient satisfaction, a bad booking system does the opposite. It drives patients away, leading to lost sales and potentially damaging your reputation. Looking at it from the point of view of the pharmacy, if you are reviewing your customer’s bookings and the system is disorganised or hard to use, it means you have to spend more time reviewing your scheduling when the system should be taking care of that for you.

pharmacy booking system

Identifying the Right Online Booking System

So, how do you ensure your online booking system is working for you and not against you? Here are some features to look for:

User-Friendly Interface: The system should be intuitive and easy to navigate. Patients shouldn’t need a user manual to figure out how to book an appointment. Clear buttons, straightforward steps, and a clean layout are essential. You also should not be asking for more information than you need. For example, if a user has to sign up to the booking system just to make an appointment, they are less likely to convert.

Mobile Compatibility: Many patients will access your booking system from their phones. Ensure the system is mobile-friendly by trying it for yourself before you roll it out across your site. A good system should offer a seamless experience across all devices.

Speed and Reliability: Your system needs to be fast and reliable. Pages should load quickly, and the system should handle multiple users without crashing. We recommend you test your system regularly to make sure it is still running as expected.

Automated Reminders: Features like automated appointment reminders via email or SMS can reduce no-shows and keep your schedule on track.

Integration with Other Systems: Your booking system should integrate smoothly with your existing pharmacy management software or calendar, making it easy to track appointments, manage patient records, and handle billing.

The Benefits of a Good System

A good online booking system does more than just prevent frustration—it actively enhances your business. Here’s how:

Increased Accessibility: Patients can book appointments 24/7, not just during business hours. This accessibility can attract more patients, especially those with busy schedules.

Improved Efficiency: With less time spent on the phone, your staff can focus on providing excellent in-person service and managing other tasks.

Better Patient Experience: A smooth booking process sets the tone for a positive experience. Patients appreciate the convenience and are more likely to return and recommend your pharmacy to others.

Data Insights: A robust booking system can provide valuable data insights, helping you understand peak times, popular services, and patient demographics. This information can guide your business strategies and marketing efforts.

pharmacy booking calendar

Comparing Good vs. Bad Systems

Let’s illustrate the difference between a good and bad system with a hypothetical example.

Good System: Your patient, Sarah, decides to book a flu vaccine. She grabs her smartphone and searches for a pharmacy near her. Due to high Search Engine Optimisation and an excellent blog, written by Pharmacy Mentor of course, she finds you ranking first on Google. She hits this link and visits your website where a prominent “Book an Appointment” button catches her eye. She clicks it and is taken to a simple, mobile-friendly form. She selects her date and time, enters her details, makes her payment and receives a confirmation email within minutes. The day before her appointment, she gets an SMS and email reminder. On the appointment day, everything runs smoothly, and she’s in and out within 15 minutes.

Bad System: Sarah tries to book the same flu shot, except this time you haven’t had SEO work done on your website meaning it was harder for her to find your website online in the first place. When she eventually does, she struggles to find the tiny “Book Now” link buried at the bottom of your webpage. When she does, the booking page takes forever to load and isn’t optimised for mobile, so she has to zoom in and out to fill in her details. Halfway through, the page crashes. Frustrated, she tries again, only to encounter the same issues. Sarah gives up and books online with your competitor instead.

Your Next Steps

If you suspect your online booking system might be more of a hindrance than a help, it’s time to take action.
Investing in a high-quality, user-friendly booking system will help to secure your pharmacy’s future. It’s a way to enhance patient satisfaction, streamline operations, and ultimately boost your bottom line. Here are our favourite online booking systems:

Bookly

Bookly is an online booking system designed to streamline appointment scheduling and management for businesses. Here are its key features and benefits:

User-Friendly Interface: Bookly offers an intuitive, easy-to-navigate interface for both customers and business owners. This makes it simple for users to book appointments and for businesses to manage bookings.

Mobile Compatibility: The system is fully responsive and mobile-friendly, ensuring a seamless experience across all devices, including smartphones and tablets.

Automated Notifications: Bookly sends automated email and SMS notifications to confirm bookings and remind customers of their upcoming appointments. This helps reduce no-shows and keeps both parties informed.

Customisable Booking Forms: Businesses can customise the booking forms to collect the necessary information from customers, tailoring the experience to their specific needs.

Real-Time Availability: Bookly provides real-time availability updates, allowing customers to see open slots and book appointments accordingly. This helps prevent double-booking and scheduling conflicts.

Payment Integration: The system integrates with various payment gateways, enabling businesses to accept online payments during the booking process. This streamlines transactions and secures payments.

Calendar Sync: Bookly can sync with popular calendar apps like Google Calendar, ensuring that appointments are always up-to-date and avoiding scheduling mishaps.

Staff Management: The system supports multiple staff members, allowing businesses to assign appointments to specific employees and manage their schedules efficiently.

Reporting and Analytics: Bookly offers reporting and analytics tools that provide insights into booking trends, customer behaviour, and business performance. This data can help inform business strategies and improve services.

Multilingual Support: Bookly supports multiple languages, making it accessible to a diverse customer base and suitable for businesses operating in different regions.

In summary, Bookly is a robust and versatile booking system that can significantly enhance appointment management for businesses, improve customer satisfaction, and drive operational efficiency.

GET BOOKLY

 

SimplyBook.me

SimplyBook.me is an online booking system designed to help businesses manage appointments efficiently. It offers a comprehensive set of features tailored to enhance the booking experience for both clients and businesses. Take a look at its offering:

User-Friendly Interface: SimplyBook.me provides an intuitive and easy-to-use interface, allowing customers to book appointments seamlessly and businesses to manage their bookings without hassle.

Mobile Compatibility: The system is fully responsive and works smoothly on mobile devices, ensuring a consistent user experience across smartphones, tablets, and desktops.

Automated Notifications: SimplyBook.me sends automated email and SMS notifications for booking confirmations, reminders, and updates, helping reduce no-shows and keeping clients informed.

Customisable Booking Website: Businesses can create a branded booking website using SimplyBook.me, customising it with their logo, colours, and service information to match their brand identity.

Multiple Payment Options: The system integrates with various payment gateways, enabling businesses to accept online payments during the booking process. It supports multiple currencies and payment methods.

Calendar Sync: SimplyBook.me can sync with popular calendar applications like Google Calendar, Outlook, and Apple Calendar, ensuring that appointments are always up-to-date and preventing scheduling conflicts.

Service Add-Ons: Businesses can offer additional services or products during the booking process, allowing clients to customise their appointments and enhancing the overall service offering.

Client Management: The system includes a client management feature that stores client details, booking history, and preferences, enabling personalised service and effective follow-up.

Staff Management: SimplyBook.me supports multiple staff members, allowing businesses to manage their schedules, assign bookings, and track performance.

Reporting and Analytics: The platform provides detailed reports and analytics on bookings, client behaviour, and business performance, helping businesses make informed decisions and optimise their operations.

Marketing Tools: SimplyBook.me includes marketing tools such as promotions, discounts, gift cards, and integration with social media platforms to attract and retain clients.

Multilingual Support: The system supports multiple languages, making it accessible to a diverse client base and suitable for businesses operating in different regions.

SimplyBook.me is a comprehensive and versatile booking system that enhances appointment management, improves customer satisfaction, and drives business growth. Its wide range of features and benefits make it an excellent choice for businesses looking to streamline their booking processes and optimise their operations.

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Setmore


Setmore is a powerful online booking system designed to streamline appointment scheduling for businesses across various industries. Here are its key features:

User-Friendly Interface: Simplifies the booking process for both clients and businesses with an easy-to-use interface.

Calendar Integration: Seamlessly syncs with popular calendar platforms like Google Calendar and Outlook to ensure appointments are synchronized and up-to-date.

Mobile-Friendly: Fully responsive, allowing users to book and manage appointments on the go via smartphones and tablets.

Automated Notifications: Sends automated email and SMS notifications to keep clients informed about their bookings, reducing no-shows and enhancing customer satisfaction.

Staff Management: Supports multiple staff members, enabling efficient management of individual schedules and appointments.

Online Payment Processing: Integrates with Stripe and Square, allowing businesses to accept secure online payments during the booking process.

Customisable Booking Pages: Provides options to create branded and professional booking pages that reflect the business’s identity.

Analytics and Reporting: Offers detailed analytics and reporting tools to provide insights into booking trends and business performance, helping businesses make data-driven decisions.

GET SETMORE

 

Comparing Booking Systems

While all of these systems are excellent and can truly transform your pharmacy, it’s important to understand their pricing structures and how their unique features can integrate with your business and processes. You can find information on their prices here: Bookly Pricing Structure, SimplyBook.me Pricing Structure & Setmore Pricing Structure. Should you wish to discuss these systems in depth please feel free to contact our team.

Let Us Help You Make The Switch

Your pharmacy booking calendar should be a bridge, not a barrier. By choosing the right system, you can ensure it serves its purpose—making healthcare accessible, efficient, and convenient for everyone involved.

So, take a good look at your current system. Is it time for an upgrade? Book a consultation with our team and let us help you get on to the best online booking system.

GET IN TOUCH

courtney ashby

 

pharmacy first

With the Pharmacy First (PF) program rolling out in the UK, pharmacists have a great new opportunity to engage with their community and offer treatments for a range of common ailments. This makes care more convenient for patients and eases the burdens on traditional healthcare facilities. Many pharmacists are also looking at Pharmacy First as an opportunity to increase revenue.

After all, each consultation is £15 and if you meet the minimum activity threshold you earn an additional £1,000 each month. The question is, which service has the potential to bring in the most traffic, and sales, to your pharmacy?

Here at Pharmacy Mentor, Brad, our Marketing Manager who has 11+ years of online marketing experience sat down and ran the numbers. He found that if you are interested in bringing in the largest number of pharmacy first appointments, UTI treatment is likely the way to go.

You may be saying to yourself, but PF only covers UTIs in women which means half my potential customers are not eligible for treatment. While that is true, there are some great reasons as to why it is still likely the most profitable of the Pharmacy First offerings.

First of all, there is the amount of search in the UK. Check out the monthly search in the below chart. You can see that UTIs get more searches (volume) each month than any other treatment-based search for a PF condition.

pharmacy first

This indicates that by sheer volume of demand, UTI treatment is more likely to earn you money.

Seasonality

Next, we can look at seasonality. Infected insect bites are most likely to happen when bugs are out and active so those searches spike in summer and drop way down in the colder months. That makes them a great service to market starting in spring but if you want consistent volume and high numbers, this is not the service to focus on.

Sinusitis is most common after a cold or the flu. These are far more likely in the colder months of the year. As such, we can see a drop in search volume as the weather improves in spring and summer. The seasonality for these conditions is less drastic than for infected insect bites. That is likely thanks to pollen and lower air quality in spring and summer.

Vaccination and Age

Shingles and impetigo have relatively stable demand across the year but they have their own issues. Shingles are very uncommon in people under 50 and people who got the chicken pox vaccine are far less likely to get shingles according to the centres for Disease Control and Prevention. That means the market is technically shrinking for shingles patients.

Impetigo can be caught at any age but it is most common in younger children. That means most of the population is unlikely to need help with this ailment.

The final two conditions are sore throat and earache. These are not directly tied to any seasonal factors, nor are they restricted to a certain age group or vaccination status. However, they have significantly less search than UTI treatment. This could be because these conditions tend to go away on their own or they may just not be something people need help with as often.

By contrast, demand for UTI treatment is high and there is not much seasonality. The below graph shows Google search data from the past 5 years on UTI searches.

pharmacy first

While there is some fluctuation, it is remarkably stable.

Finally, we look at something that is very important, repeat business. For most of the 7 conditions Pharmacy First covers, once they are treated, they may never recur. However, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services, 4 in 10 women who get a UTI will get at least one more within 6 months! That means if you provide a good service, you could see them again multiple times in the same year.

This means UTI treatment offers high demand across the year, a large audience and the opportunity for repeat business. As such, it may very well be the most lucrative PF service you can offer at your pharmacy.

Let Pharmacy Mentor Help You

If you are interested in advertising/marketing your pharmacy first or other services, Pharmacy Mentor is here to help. We offer a variety of solutions to help you build your business and improve your online presence. Contact us today to learn more.

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chat gpt hacks

When it comes to pharmacy management, harnessing the power of artificial intelligence can significantly streamline operations, enhance patient care, and improve overall efficiency. Some pharmacies have already begun using AI to handle a wide variety of tasks. ChatGPT being the most popular tool right now. However, the vast majority of pharmacies (and we’re talking about 90% or so) are still in the dark about it, and are not using it. This is probably because of time constraints.

To help you take advantage of this new resource, we have compiled ten innovative ways ChatGPT can transform your pharmacy. For each one, we have also included a sample prompt to guide you in implementing these ChatGPT hacks effectively.

Did you see our original article on ChatGPT for Pharmacy?

1. Crafting Business Plans

Hack: Utilise ChatGPT to draft a comprehensive business plan that outlines your pharmacy’s vision, mission, target market, competitive analysis, and financial projections.

Example Prompt: “Create a detailed business plan for a community pharmacy focusing on personalised medicine, including an executive summary, market analysis, marketing strategies, operational plan, and financial projections.”

While ChatGPT will not be able to fill in the numbers for your finances or other bespoke metrics, It will provide you with a great business plan structure which saves you time and allows you to focus on running your business.

2. Developing Marketing Plans

Hack: Generate a strategic marketing plan tailored to your pharmacy’s needs, highlighting unique selling propositions, digital marketing strategies, and customer engagement plans.

Example Prompt: “Develop a marketing plan for a pharmacy that specialises in holistic health solutions, including online and offline marketing strategies to increase customer base and engagement.”

This is a great option because you can feed ChatGPT a huge amount of data about your business like your focus, core products, information about your customers etc. Then it will generate a marketing plan tailored to your brief. That can save hours of work, and you can even use the data from your marketing plan brief to generate other marketing materials using ChatGPT. This includes advertising text, emails to customers and social media posts.

Need help creating a plan specific for your business? Get in touch.

3. Designing Pharmacy Floor plans

Hack: Use ChatGPT to brainstorm and outline a customer-friendly and efficient floor plan that enhances the shopping experience while optimising the workflow for staff.

Example Prompt: “Suggest a layout for a small pharmacy that maximises retail space efficiency, improves patient privacy at consultation areas, and ensures a smooth workflow for staff.”

Remember, you can also include things in your prompt to ChatGPT like what products you want to push, what products your customers are most likely to buy and what services you offer. This gives you tailored advice and the ability to quickly generate updated floor plans if you add new products or services in the future.

 

chatgpt hacks

 

4. Creating Training Plans

Hack: ChatGPT can help design comprehensive training programs for pharmacy staff, covering topics like customer service, product knowledge, and compliance with health regulations.

Example Prompt: “Create a training plan for pharmacy staff that includes modules on customer service excellence, understanding pharmaceutical products, and adherence to health and safety regulations.”

You can also add things to your prompt like, “Make sure each deliverable is measurable”. This will help you create goals that you can easily track so you can stick to your plan without having to spend loads of time keeping track of nebulous objectives.

Did you see Saam’s LinkedIn post on 10 ChatGPT Pharmacy Hacks? We’ve embedded it here too:

10 ChatGPTpt Pharmacy Hacks

5. Setting Up a Chatbot

Hack: Leverage ChatGPT to set up a chatbot that can handle customer enquiries, provide information on medications, and even assist with refill requests, freeing up staff for more critical tasks.

Example Prompt: “Design a chatbot script for a pharmacy website that can answer FAQs about medications, store hours, and services offered, including handling refill requests.”

You can actually see an example of an AI chatbot by checking out Sam The Pharmacy Assistant. This type of chatbot can be used to answer basic questions, but you can also add in more complicated functionality if you wish.

6. Personalising Health Plans

Hack: Utilise ChatGPT to create personalised health and medication plans for patients, taking into account their medical history, lifestyle, and specific health goals.

Example Prompt: “Generate a personalised medication management plan for a patient with diabetes and high blood pressure, including lifestyle advice and medication reminders.”

This is a great option for streamlining what would otherwise be a long and repetitive task you would need to complete for multiple clients. You can even generate a generic prompt and then just fill in different information based on the patient’s needs. For example, you could include the recommended number of daily calories, dates and times for each medication, and recommended exercises. Plus you could ask ChatGPT to include a daily schedule for each day of the week so your patient had a bullet-pointed list they could follow.

7. Analysing Pharmacy Data

Hack: ChatGPT can assist in analysing pharmacy data to identify trends, improve inventory management, and optimise the product mix based on customer preferences and seasonal demand.

Example Prompt: “Analyse sales data from the past year to identify trends in medication purchases and suggest adjustments to inventory levels and product offerings.”

This hack will rely on your current data as well as ChatGPT. You will need to be able to feed in good sales information to ensure ChatGPT can provide proper analysis. Depending on your data and what you want to know, you may need to ask more specific questions than the above example prompt, simply because ChatGPT will need clear direction to isolate the information you are interested in.

 

 

8. Managing Dangerous Situations

Hack: Develop protocols with ChatGPT’s help for managing emergencies or dangerous situations in the pharmacy, such as handling aggressive customers or responding to medical emergencies.

Example Prompt: “Create a protocol for pharmacy staff to follow in the event of a medical emergency within the store, including steps for immediate response and when to contact emergency services.”

It can be difficult to think of all the potential situations that could arise, so you may want to start by asking ChatGPT something like “What are the most common dangerous situations that occur at a pharmacy”. This will then allow you to generate protocols for the list it provides.

9. Generating Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Hack: ChatGPT can help draft clear and comprehensive SOPs for every aspect of your pharmacy’s operations, ensuring consistency and compliance with regulatory standards.

Example Prompt: “I’m a pharmacist independent prescriber. Create an SOP that ensures I can confidently and ethically prescribe Viagra for ED.”

This is a great tool because it allows you to quickly set up SOPs for a variety of medications and situations. That helps you manage your team and ensures all your employees are adhering to the same guidelines in your pharmacy.

10. Providing General Advice

Hack: Utilise ChatGPT for a wide range of general advice, from managing daily operations and customer service tips to staying updated with industry trends and regulatory changes.

Example Prompt: “Provide advice on improving customer satisfaction in a pharmacy setting, including tips on enhancing the in-store experience and effectively responding to customer feedback.”

This last hack is great because it essentially tells you to treat ChatGPT like Google. If you have a question or need something done, start by asking ChatGPT. Often times it can provide a great answer or at least give you the framework needed to solve your problem more efficiently.

Using ChatGPT Hacks For Your Pharmacy

By integrating these ChatGPT hacks into your pharmacy’s operations, you can not only streamline processes and improve efficiency, but also significantly enhance the level of care and service provided to your patients. Embracing AI tools like ChatGPT opens up a world of possibilities, allowing you to stay competitive and responsive in the fast-evolving healthcare landscape.

Want more advice on how to use ChatGPT to power your pharmacy business? Get in touch and organise a coaching call with one of our experts.

 

 

Pharmacy First

Pharmacy First – An Opportunity

The NHS Pharmacy First service is an initiative in the United Kingdom that is aimed at providing convenient and timely access to healthcare services through community pharmacies. The service allows patients to seek advice and treatment for common, minor ailments directly from their local pharmacy, without the need for a visit to a general practitioner (GP) or another healthcare professional.

Read more about the Pharmacy First Scheme here for Community Pharmacy.

The Pharmacy First Goal

The primary goal of the NHS Pharmacy First service is to relieve pressure on GP practices and other healthcare services by empowering community pharmacies to handle a range of minor ailments. This not only enhances patient convenience but also ensures that individuals receive prompt care for conditions that can be effectively managed within the scope of community pharmacy services.

This is huge for Community Pharmacy, and we believe that this going to help change the patient mindset from “prescriptions”s to “health clinic”, which is what a pharmacy is today.

Patients can access the NHS Pharmacy First service for the following conditions, currently:

  • Sinusitis
  • Sore throat
  • Acute otitis media
  • Infected insect bite
  • Impetigo
  • Shingles
  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women.

Under each of these conditions, the pharmacy will be able to prescribe certain prescription-only medicines under a Patient Group Directive (PGD). For example, they’ll be able to prescribe Clarithromycin for a sore throat.

This represents a big opportunity for Community Pharmacy.

pharmacy first

The Opportunity

As Pharmacy First begins to become more mainstream throughout the United Kingdom, we’re going to see increasing trends for related search terms on Google. We’re already seeing more searches for the term “Pharmacy First”, naturally, and we’ll be seeing an increase in searches for treatment and condition-specific terms like “clarithromycin sore throat”.

The search term “Pharmacy First” is naturally gaining popularity on search engines.

So where’s the opportunity?

Well, we want the patient to find you first for those search terms. We want them to land on your website, learn about what conditions you can treat, and then book in to see you.

While the funding model is relatively fixed right now, this needs to be seen as a long term strategy for success. Not only are you going to be generating revenue from the model, you’re going to be gaining a new patient (customer or user) where, if you give great service, will be loyal to you. You will have got their details (email and phone number) and if you’re GDPR complaint, can market your other services to them.

This is where the biggest opportunity lies. Repeat business acquisition.

How to Market Pharmacy First

To ensure the success of Pharmacy First and capitalise on the opportunities above, pharmacies must adopt effective marketing strategies. Yes, the NHS will market Nationally for us. However, nothing beats more targeted, local marketing. Here are three key approaches:

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

Pharmacies should optimise their websites with the relevant keywords, create informative content about the common ailments and available treatments, and ensure their online platforms are user-friendly. If you do not have a website for your pharmacy or if your website has a poor user experience, it’s a good idea to get a new one. You can find out about our website development packages here.

Paid Advertising

Investing not too heavily in paid advertising can significantly boost the visibility of your pharmacy and its Pharmacy First services. Platforms like Google Ads allow pharmacies to target specific demographics and geographical locations, ensuring that their services reach the right audience. Crafting compelling ad copy that highlights the convenience, expertise, and benefits of Pharmacy First can drive increased traffic and conversions.

pharmacy first marketing

Social Media

Harnessing the power of social media is essential for connecting with your community and promoting Pharmacy First services. Pharmacies should maintain active profiles on popular platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. Sharing informative content, success stories, and engaging with followers can build trust and awareness. Additionally, targeted social media advertising can further amplify the reach of Pharmacy First initiatives.

The Pharmacy First Development Module

If you’ve been following us for a while now, you know that we at PM are always pushing boundaries and developing new initiatives to help pharmacy excel. The Pharmacy First scheme is a prime example of how we’ve adapted to create something unique in the pharmacy marketing area.

We’ve built what we call a “Pharmacy First Development Module” designed to help promote your Pharmacy First service locally and help people find you easier. The module consists of (but is not limited to):

  • A specific Pharmacy First website bolt-on, built into your menu
  • Technically optimised condition pages
  • Booking calendar integration

If you’re keen to understand more about how this might work with your website, be sure to get in touch with our team today.

Contact Our Team

 

6 ChatGPT Pharmacy Hacks
The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence is revolutionising industries across the board, and the pharmacy sector is no exception. As AI technology continues to develop, tools like ChatGPT are emerging as catalysts for change in how pharmacies operate.
a list of pharmacist and chat GPT related jokes told on the ChatGPT platform: Why did the pharmacy owner hire ChatGPT instead of a new pharmacist? Because it doesn't require coffee breaks or vacations! How do you know when ChatGPT is working in a pharmacy? The shelves are always stocked, and there's never a line at the counter. Why did ChatGPT make the perfect pharmacy assistant? It had a "prescription" for success. What did the pharmacist say when ChatGPT correctly identified a drug interaction? "I guess we'll call it a 'pharmACEutical.'" Why was the pharmacist impressed with ChatGPT's knowledge of medications? Because it had access to the entire "data-scription" list! What do you call ChatGPT when it's integrated into a pharmacy's software? "The Digital Druggist." What did the pharmacist say when ChatGPT predicted the exact number of pill bottles needed for the month? "That's a tough pill to swallow!" Why did the pharmacist never have to worry about ChatGPT running late? It's always on "cloud nine" and ready to work! How do you know when ChatGPT is working at the pharmacy? The staff meetings are unusually quiet! Why did ChatGPT become the pharmacy's most popular employee? It always had the right "dose" of information! Please note that these jokes are intended for entertainment purposes only and should not be taken as an indication that ChatGPT will replace pharmacists. The primary goal of AI tools like ChatGPT is to assist and augment human professionals, not to replace them.

Probably the worst application of ChatGPT I’ve ever done, asking it for jokes for this image. Comedians can sleep easy.

In this article, we explore 6 ways ChatGPT can integrate into pharmacy practice, streamlining processes, enhancing customer service, and optimising operations.

Can you start doing all these overnight? No.

Should you start a journey for integrating them today? Absolutely. Unless you’ve got plans with your kids. In which case, do that first. Then, and only then, should you start your pharmacy journey with GPT.

1. Automated Customer Support and “Virtual” ChatGPT Pharmacist Consultations

One of the key applications of ChatGPT in pharmacy practice is automating patient interactions – at least, the ones that happen all day every day. By integrating ChatGPT into pharmacy systems, pharmacies provide instant and accurate answers to customer queries, saving time and resources while maintaining a consistently high level of customer service.

Moreover, ChatGPT can also facilitate virtual pharmacist consultations, giving patients convenient access to professional advice without requiring a physical visit to the pharmacy.

We’re now exploring how we can use ChatGPT in your pharmacy website.

How would this work?

ChatGPT operates by processing and understanding data it’s given. By using Open AI‘s API, then coding a bespoke model/application for ChatGPT, it could understand your pharmacy’s data, such as the data held in your PMR system. Using this would enable it to respond to patient queries about their medication, including anything from asking when their prescription will be ready, to reporting side effects they’re experiencing and asking for advice.

The code could then tell ChatGPT to tell the patient to either seek the advice of a pharmacist or, potentially, raise a red flag in the PMR system based on the Patient’s interaction.

I think an initial issue is patients accepting that they were talking to AI – there are lots of trust issues there (You would absolutely have to be up front about it being an automated response). But this is a barrier to all new tech, and the more people used it, the more used to it they’d get.

2. Drug Interaction Checks and Prescription Validation

Patient safety is paramount in any healthcare setting, and pharmacies play a critical role in ensuring the safe dispensing of medications. ChatGPT can be employed to analyse drug interactions, alerting pharmacists to potential risks and helping to minimise the likelihood of adverse drug reactions. Additionally, ChatGPT can assist in automatically validating prescriptions, identifying potential errors, and ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

Could Pharmacy PMR Systems then harness ChatGPT? We think so.

3. Inventory Management and Predictive Analytics for Demand Forecasting

Effective inventory management is essential to the smooth operation of a pharmacy. By leveraging ChatGPT, pharmacies can track and manage their inventory more efficiently, optimising stock levels and preventing running out of meds. Furthermore, integrating ChatGPT with external pharmacy data (such as the RPS, GPhC, PharmData) enables better demand forecasting, allowing adjusting inventory and staffing in anticipation of future needs.

4. Staff Training and Education

Pharmacies utilising ChatGPT as an educational resource to train staff on new medications, procedures, and regulations, ensuring a highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce would be possible right now, with the right development.

This AI-assisted training can help employees stay current with industry developments and provide the best possible care to patients.

How can pharmacy owners trust ChatGPT enough to use it for training their staff?

Pharmacy owners concerns about relying on an AI system like ChatGPT for staff training are understandable.

Establishing trust in the technology requires:

  1. Validating the information provided by ChatGPT: Pharmacy owners can cross-check the information generated by ChatGPT with reliable sources, such as regulatory guidelines, drug databases, or educational materials.
  2. Combining AI assistance with human expertise: ChatGPT can be used as a supplementary resource alongside traditional training methods, providing staff with a comprehensive learning experience.
  3. Monitoring and adjusting: Pharmacy owners can regularly review and assess the quality of the training materials generated by ChatGPT and adjust their approach accordingly.

Regarding the validation of the information provided by ChatGPT, it should be possible to code ChatGPT’s API to integrate with the resources you yourself as a pharmacist would trust…meaning it has access to all the right information.

So far, my partner, who is a tax advisor who hates ChatGPT conceptually, has begrudgingly conceded that it knows the tax legislation pretty well. It’s answered things it took her 20 minutes to look up, instantly. Of course, it’s human nature to want to double-check this, but overall, AI is only as good as the data it’s trained on.

Giving it access to the same data you have means it’s probably going to be fine.

5. Personalised Medication Reminders and Patient Engagement

Improving patient adherence to medication regimens is crucial in achieving better health outcomes.

Pharmacies can use ChatGPT to send personalised medication reminders via text or email, making it easier for patients to remember when to take their medications. Additionally, ChatGPT can help pharmacies engage with their patients through tailored content and targeted marketing campaigns, promoting specific products or services and fostering long-term relationships.

Sending personalised medication reminders via text or email using ChatGPT requires integration with the pharmacy’s software systems. Here’s how this can be achieved:

  1. Establish a secure connection between the pharmacy’s software and ChatGPT API, allowing the AI to access relevant patient data, such as medication schedules and contact information.
  2. Develop custom scripts or applications that utilise ChatGPT to generate personalised reminder messages based on the patient’s medication regimen.
  3. Integrate the ChatGPT-generated messages with the pharmacy’s existing communication systems, such as email or SMS platforms, to automatically send reminders to patients.

6. Continuous Process Improvement

Pharmacies can harness the analytical capabilities of ChatGPT to evaluate operational data and identify areas for improvement. By continuously refining workflows and customer service, pharmacies can ensure they remain competitive and provide optimal care to their patients. Again, this would require investing into custom development, but the investment would be a fraction of the value generated, especially since the investment is ad-hoc and the benefits are ongoing.

Conclusion

The integration of ChatGPT into pharmacy practice holds immense potential to revolutionise the industry and change pharmacists’ lives by automating key processes, improving customer service, and optimising overall operations. As AI technology continues to advance, the applications of ChatGPT in pharmacy practice will only expand, paving the way for a more efficient and patient-centric healthcare experience.

Much of these require additional development on the pharmacy’s own site. Using ChatGPT’s API as a foundation, however, this is possible.

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pharmacy design - a blueprint for success
How a well-planned pharmacy design can boost revenue, streamline operations, and enhance the patient journey.

An interview with Chris Jones of T3 Pharmacy Design.

Pharmacy design is a critical factor for the success of any pharmacy, but especially community (or retail) pharmacy.

The layout and aesthetics of a pharmacy not only influence its overall profitability but also play a significant role in shaping the workflow and patient experience.

In today’s challenging landscape, it’s more important than ever for pharmacies to optimise their physical space to facilitate efficient operations and ensure a comfortable and satisfactory visit for patients.

This article delves into the impact of pharmacy design on profitability, workflow, and patient experience, offering valuable insights for businesses looking to maximise their potential.

The Profitability Factor: Pharmacy Design as a Revenue Driver

The physical appearance of a pharmacy substantially impacts its profitability.

Think about your own shopping experiences. Where are the places you love to be? You’re more likely to visit them, making you far more likely to spend money there than anywhere else.

But pharmacies aren’t solely a retail space. You’re judged as a healthcare setting, too.

Especially when there’s pharmacy competition in your area, being a nicer place to be is a huge advantage.

It doesn’t only give a better experience, but gives a better overall impression of your professionalism. (Note, for those of you setting up Aesthetics Clinics, the importance of the aesthetic of your pharmacy is amplified.)

A well-designed pharmacy space allows for:

  • Increased capacity – or at least, more space for the people in the pharmacy, important for distancing from potentially infectious patients.
  • Better product visibility – obviously, the better the layout, the more visible your products are.
  • Enhanced patient experience – an aesthetically appealing pharmacy design is pleasing to spend time in.

How does Pharmacy Design enhance Patient Experience?

We now understand that design can have a huge impact on the experience our community has in our pharmacy. But what exactly improves it? Here are some of the ways you could look at improving your existing space.

Creating a pleasant shopping environment can be as simple as:

  • Comfortable seating
  • Accessibility Measures
  • Clear signage
  • Adequate lighting

However, more improvements which elevate you from bleak to chic include:

  • Clutter-free spaces
  • Integrated Technology (e.g. Digital Screens)
  • Having Private Consultation Rooms resemble professional medical facilities
  • Branded Colour Schemes
  • Outstanding Displays

The Workflow Advantage: How Pharmacy Design Impacts Operational Efficiency

Pharmacy design greatly impacts workflow efficiency. An optimised layout allows pharmacists to work seamlessly, reducing errors, saving time, and enhancing overall productivity. The opposite is like trying to organise an Olympic diving contest in a kitchen sink.

Key elements of great workflow design include:

  1. Dispensing areas: A well-organised dispensing area minimises errors, improves patient safety, and speeds up the dispensing process.
  2. Storage and inventory management: Efficient storage systems reduce stock discrepancies, minimise out-of-stock issues, and optimise space usage.
  3. Consultation areas: Private consultation rooms should be accessible, soundproofed, and comfortable for confidential discussions.
  4. Staff productivity: A well-designed layout reduces the time it takes for staff to locate and retrieve medications, leading to quicker customer service and higher prescription fulfilment rates.
  5. Staff wellbeing: Adjustable workstations, comfortable seating, and sufficient lighting create an environment that fosters productivity and reduces workplace injuries.
  6. Strategic equipment and supply placement: Logical, easily accessible locations reduce the time it takes for staff to complete tasks, allowing for quicker service.

The Patient Experience: Designing for Comfort and Confidence

Pharmacy design directly impacts patient experience, influencing their perception of the business and their likelihood of returning. A welcoming, well-organised space fosters trust, encourages repeat visits, and contributes to a positive reputation within the community.

  1. Signposting: Can patients navigate your pharmacy with ease? Clear signage, organised product displays, and logical layout contribute to a stress-free shopping experience, which encourages patients to explore the pharmacy’s offerings and make additional purchases.
  2. Privacy and confidentiality: Pharmacies must ensure that their design provides adequate privacy for patients, particularly in the consultation and dispensing areas. By incorporating private consultation rooms and separate dispensing counters, pharmacies foster a sense of trust and comfort amongst their patients.
  3. Accessibility and inclusivity: A well-designed pharmacy caters to the needs of all its communities, including those with disabilities or limited mobility. Incorporating features such as wide aisles, ramps, and accessible counters demonstrates a commitment to inclusivity, which has reputational benefits, as well as opening your doors to a broader range of patients.

Rethinking your Refit?

Pharmacy design is a determining factor in a pharmacy’s overall profitability, workflow efficiency, and patient experience.

Like most “expenses”, professional design is an investment. The more you put in, the more you get out. It isn’t an expense to skimp and save on.

Remaining competitive in pharmacy’s ever-evolving landscape means recognising the importance of effective design and adapting your spaces to accommodate the changing needs and preferences of your community.

By prioritising pharmacy design, pharmacy business owners optimise the pharmacy’s foundation and framework for success.

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how is wearable tech impacting community pharmacy?
The surge in popularity of wearable technology extends well beyond retail Smartwatches. The technology continues revolutionising the way people lead their lives, and it has significant potential for revolutionising the healthcare industry. Community Pharmacies in the United Kingdom and beyond are no exception.

Wearable Technology in Numbers

  • 216 million global smartwatch users (Statista)
  • 1%/Year – The increase in growth of the population who own smartwatches in the US (Insider Intelligence)
  • 13 – Different categories of wearables. Smartwatches are almost synonymous with wearables, but there’s far more to wearables than watches. (Tesla Suit)
a graph showing the number of wearable technology devices globally

The number of connected wearable devices worldwide has more than doubled in the space of three years, increasing from 325 million in 2016 to 722 million in 2019. The number of devices is forecast to reach more than one billion by 2022.

Retail Opportunities for Pharmacies

Before we dive into the practical applications of how wearable tech can affect pharmacy’s day-to-day healthcare operations, a word on retail.

The vast majority of pharmacies in the UK still double-up as a retail shop, or a convenience store, for our American readers. Unless you’re based in a really remote location, you’re competing for little crumbs with multiple fish in the same pond as you.

Dress for the role you want, not the one you have

The way we change the public perception of what a Community Pharmacy is and does is by doing different things. People don’t visit pharmacies for cheap plastic toys.

If Pharmacies became outlets for Wearable Health technology, suddenly the advice of the professionals in-store adds value, giving you a huge advantage over online retailers who can’t offer that same tailored advice.

Take NuroKor LifeTech, as a working example, the wearable technology which manages and relieves Chronic Pain, amongst other things.

By offering continuous pain management consultations, having live demonstrations and group Q&A sessions on Living with Chronic Pain, you’re providing engaging options that add value to your community.

These products make sense for a pharmacy.

Applications of Wearable Technology in Medication Management

Wearable tech in medicine is still a new field. There’s still a lot of research being done, figuring out the best way for these devices for monitoring meds.

That said, the potential benefits of using them in the following areas don’t require much in the way of advancement of the technology.

  • Insulin – Monitoring blood glucose levels in people with diabetes and provide real-time feedback on insulin dosage and glucose levels.
  • Cardiovascular – Wearable devices can be used to monitor heart rate, blood pressure, and other cardiovascular indicators.
  • Pain management – Monitoring pain levels (through specific physiological responses) and monitor the effectiveness of pain management medications, helping doctors make more informed treatment decisions.
  • Mental health – tracking patients’ mood, sleep patterns, and other indicators of mental health.
  • Asthma medications – Monitoring a patient’s respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, and other indicators of asthma control.

The main area for improvement is the integration of data into healthcare practice, as well as advancements in, and adoption of, the Internet of Things (IoT) into pharmacy practice.

Remote Healthcare, revolutionised with data

One of the most significant ways in which wearable technology could impact community pharmacies is through the increased use of telemedicine.

We’re already seeing an increasing number of pharmacy clients requesting Online Doctor features adding to their websites. This will continue growing, and remote consultations along with it.

Wearable devices such as smartwatches and fitness trackers collect and transmit data on a patient’s health, allowing for remote monitoring and consultation with healthcare professionals. This enables community pharmacies to provide more personalised, real-time care to patients, and potentially reduce the need for in-person visits.

Thinking about the practical application of this with elderly patients with mobility issues is incredibly positive.

Wearable technology improves Chronic Condition Management

Another area in which wearable technology’s impact on community pharmacies will continue to grow, is in the management of chronic conditions.

Wearable devices can track vital signs such as heart rate and blood pressure, and provide alerts for any abnormalities.

This enables the proactive management of patients with chronic conditions and reduces the risk of potential complications.

Prevention is always better than a cure.

Improved Adherence with Reminders & Alerts

Wearable technology can also have a positive impact on medication adherence.

Smartwatches, for example, can be programmed to remind patients to take their medication at the correct time, and can even send notifications to the patient’s healthcare provider if the medication is not taken as prescribed. This improves patient outcomes and reduces the number of hospital readmissions.

Furthermore, wearable technology can also help community pharmacies to provide more efficient and convenient services. For example, by using wearable devices, patients can order their prescriptions and have them delivered to their home, reducing the need for them to visit the pharmacy in person. Additionally, some wearables can integrate with the electronic prescriptions system, making it easier for the pharmacy to manage and track prescriptions.

How far away is Wearable Tech from full integration into Pharmacy?

It’s important to note that the adoption of wearable technology in community pharmacies is still in early stages, and there are some challenges that need to be addressed.

Data & Privacy Concerns

One of the main challenges is data security and privacy, ensuring that patients’ personal and medical information is protected.

Making sure the technology is reliable and accurate, and that the data collected is of sufficient quality for clinical decision-making is another critical factor.

What’s to stop someone lending their smart device to a friend in order to qualify for POM’s? Of course, there are workarounds in our current system too, but this isn’t an immediate fix with wearables in their current guise either.

Investment Costs & Priorities

Another challenge is the cost, as wearable technology is expensive, if you were using it for every patient. Of course, the savings made, margins widening and revenue generating implications of the technology mean it’s a sound investment. But long-term thinking and strategy is a rare bird in healthcare. So it may be some time before widespread adoption.

Diagnosis of Wearable Tech in Pharmacy

In conclusion, wearable technology has the potential to revolutionise the way community pharmacies in the United Kingdom provide care to patients. We’re talking years not months, but it’s likely on the way.

The technology enables remote monitoring, improved management of chronic conditions, and improved medication adherence.

However, the adoption of wearable technology in community pharmacies is still in early stages, and there are challenges that need to be addressed, such as data security, cost, and reliability.

As always, Community Pharmacies should be ready to adapt.

Interested in digitising your pharmacy business? Book in a consultation call with our Diagnose and Prescribe team.

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12 tiktok pharmacy tips
As a pharmacist, you’re 100% forgiven for not being “up” on TikTok. But these 12 tips will get you up and running with a Pharmacy TikTok account.

tiktok logo

Want to start a Pharmacy TikTok account? You’ve come to the right place.

Everything You Need to start posting on TikTok

  • One smartphone with a camera
  • The TikTok app
  • One TikTok Account (with unique username & profile picture)

And that’s it.

12 Pharmacy TikTok Tips

Getting involved with TikTok is honestly pretty simple, because it’s a platform where no one expects perfection. But with these 12 tips, you’ll feel like a pro in no time.

1. It’s never too late

Whilst it might feel that the TikTok ship has sailed, it isn’t too late to jump on. The immediacy and short-term nature of the platform means that, provided your content delivers value, you’ll attract followers and views. When it comes to having a TikTok presence, there’s no time like the present.

2. Remember, you’re a pharmacy

Silly dances and pouting isn’t necessary for success on TikTok. Whilst showing a personal side is encouraged, it isn’t necessary.

Pharmacies can create TikTok content around:

  • Mental health issues
  • Correct Medicine Use
  • Product Demonstrations
  • Behind the scenes – pill sorting and cream mixing is incredibly popular on TikTok!
  • Common minor ailments and treatments
  • Healthcare myth-busting
  • And so much more!

Really, the skies the limit. Get creative, or check out other Pharmacy Content Creators for ideas (just don’t rip people off!)

3. Think about who’s watching

You might think TikTok is a young person’s game and that your audience is, well, the opposite. But anxiety, and associated prescriptions are, unfortunately, on the rise.

And Gen Z are the primary sufferers and most at risk of anxiety, with excessive use of social media central in theories as to why this is.

Exploring medicine use and offering helpful advice around this subject, as well as many other mental health issues, would be a fantastic and engaging issue for exploring with your content.

TikTok is no longer just for young people, either. Like most apps that start this way, the target market has expanded with its popularity. The app has been downloaded 2 billion times globally. That’s a lot more people than just children!

4. Be prolific, not perfect

TikTok users are familiar with handheld videos recorded on phones – Hollywood edited videos aren’t necessary for success on this platform. Posting more often is far more useful than worrying about appearing polished.

In fact, more polished videos seem less genuine and your audience won’t engage as openly with them as a result. In real life, not every sentence you say is perfect, and nor should it be on TikTok.

The whole point is building a relationship with your community, which doesn’t happen if you only show up every few months. The more regularly you post, the better your results become.

5. Have a goal in mind

Building an audience is always a solid marker, as the more followers you have, the better the perception of your brand when new people encounter you. But building an audience is not the end goal.

Ultimately the end goal is nurturing trust with your audience and developing engagement.

6. Utilise your team

Whilst the younger members of your pharmacy team won’t have as much pharmacy experience as more senior members, they almost certainly have more TikTok experience. Use that! Offer them a pay rise and make creating content part of their job description, or give them cash incentives per video. That goes for the stars of the video too, not just whoever’s filming it.

Many staff members might feel uncomfortable on camera, which is fine. But with the right incentives, they might feel more comfortable

Encouraging having fun with the videos suddenly makes the task more appealing.

However you do it, getting someone who’s comfortable with the platform makes the process much easier.

7. Engage with others

It isn’t all about creating your own content. Follow healthcare hashtags, follow other small businesses in your community and comment on their content.

Start conversations that aren’t in your own environment, and you’ll attract people back to yours.

8. Reuse your content on other platforms

If you’re considering entering the TikTok space, the likelihood is you’re already on at least one of Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. TikTok content works well on other platforms! Don’t be shy in spreading your videos across your other platforms.

Do you have digital screens in your Pharmacy? Get your videos playing on your screen and bring the fun into your pharmacy! This also helps boost your followers as people in your pharmacy realise you’re on TikTok.

9. Short, sweet, and straight into the good stuff

Jump straight into the content of your video and try to keep videos between 15-30 seconds. Longer videos are okay occasionally, but people can immediately see if a video is long, and it’s possible that deters them from watching any of it.

10. Link your website in your profile

Your digital marketing works best if things flow nicely. Someone sees your TikTok video demonstrating how lip fillers are professionally applied might want to use you for their treatment.

They’ll click on your profile, and find out more.

Optimise your profile, and maximise the exposure to your pharmacy services.

The Day Lewis Pharmacy Profile doesn’t include its website link, and it’s missing a trick.

11. Use Hashtags!

#pharmacy #health #advice #CityName #TownName #PharmTok

Without hashtags, the TikTok algorithm doesn’t know what your content is about, so it won’t show it to people who like content associated with those subjects. Always hashtag your location, especially as a local community pharmacy. You’re fostering a community, what better place to start than…people in your community!

12. Track & Analyse

If you’re not measuring what you’re doing, you’ve no idea if it’s going to be effective or not. You know this, you’re a pharmacist.

Check your videos and discover which type works best. Double down on what works, and ditch what doesn’t!

If something really doesn’t look great on your account, you can always delete it later!

TikTok has its own inbuilt analytics, but these are only accessible with “Pro” accounts.

How do you get a Pro account?

Manage my account > Switch to Pro account > Select “Pharmacy” Industry > Your TikTok account will reload with the analytics section.

And that’s a wrap!

Those 12 tips are more than enough to get any Pharmacy started on TikTok…so in the words of Shia Laboeuf…

what are you waiting for? just do it!

Interested in setting up a TikTok account and having the account managed by us? We can help. Simply get in touch.

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The Ultimate Prescription Collection Machine Comparison Guide
Prescription Collection Machines are exploding in popularity in the UK. So we thought we’d save you some time shopping around and write a guide. Hopefully it saves some valuable time finding the right one for your pharmacy.

As a digital marketing and development agency, with a goal of increasing patient numbers whilst improving workflow for pharmacies, we regularly discuss the use of Prescription Collection Machines to our clients.

In December 2021, we featured Prescription Collection Machines in our Ultimate Guide to Automating Your Pharmacy.

The industry is now reacting, and you’re probably on the lookout for a machine that impacts your workflow and patient experience in the same way.

If you’re already sure you want a Prescription Collection Machine, skip down a few headings to see providers’ offerings.

Will my pharmacy benefit from a Prescription Collection Machine?

If you are undecided on investing in a machine at all, you need only look at how it’s transformed the pharmacies who’ve introduced them.

During the course of the pandemic, we saw our clients experience a massive impact post-installation of Prescription Collection Machines in:

  • Attracting New Patients, especially when advertised online (links to Case Study)
  • Managing prescription workload and easing workflow
  • Reducing waiting times, queues and “Is my prescription ready yet?” questions
  • Maximising the convenience of prescription collection in general

The only way your pharmacy wouldn’t benefit from a Prescription Collection Point, is if you’re in an area so remote and sparsely populated that there aren’t the numbers to warrant it.

Most providers cite a certain number of items per month, which they say makes investing in a Prescription Collection Machine worth it. But the reality is, with the convenience of 24/7 collection for your patients, the machine will increase your EPS sign-ups, especially if you’re the only pharmacy in your area which has one. And as we continue into a more clinical model of pharmacy, any way you can free up the time of your pharmacy team and improve workflow efficiency is a good investment.

How do Prescription Collection Machines work?

Prescription Collection Machines are the ATMs of Pharmacy. Instead of queueing in the bank to withdraw money, ATM’s allowed the secure withdrawal of cash 24/7. Prescription Collection Machines do the same for Prescriptions. Freeing up staff time, allowing more time for value-adding actions, and saving the customers from unnecessary waits.

The core mechanics of how they work:

  • Step 1

    Script is Processed

    The prescription is processed in the normal way and bagged up

  • Step 2

    Scan the Barcode

    The barcode on the label is scanned before allocation in the machine

    Step 2

  • Step 3

    Place inside Prescription Collection Machine

    The prescription bag is paced into machine, ready for patient to collect.

  • Step 4

    "Prescription Ready" Text Alert

    The message can be customised, but always contains the PIN required to operate the machine.

    Step 4

  • Step 5

    Patient Collects Medication

    Using the PIN provided, the patient then collects their medication at a time convenient to them.

Of course, people need to sign up for EPS with you in order to use the service, as this service naturally requires their details.

The best part about the automation, in our eyes, is the ability to balance workload. When you know you’ve got a certain amount of prescriptions to load in for collections, you can wait for a quieter time in the day and load them in bulk.

Spreading the work over the course of the day instead of the manic rushes reduces the stress on your pharmacy team, and their stress as a result.

Managing the Cost of Investing in Machinery

It’s also worth noting that when investing in Prescription Collection Machines, you can deduct some or all of the cost of the machinery through your Capital Allowances.

Spreading the cost of more expensive machinery over a number of years can shave a lot of the difference off that expense, and leave you with a higher value asset in your business.

It’s worth discussing both financing plans and tax planning with your accountant and the suppliers, and comparing the options to determine the true cost to your business before investing.

Prescription Collection Machine Suppliers

Without further ado (because that was quite a lot of ado) here is your shortlist for Prescription Collection Machine comparison.

Pharmaself24

Pharmaself24, a product of Videosystems, and now being distributed throughout Great Britain by Omnicell, are the market leaders in Automated Prescription Collection. This dynamic is important because it couples the market leading machines with Omnicell’s vast experience in automating retail pharmacy.

The biggest thing that stood out for us is that the Pharmaself24 doesn’t operate like a converted vending machine. In a vending machine, there’s no way to access anything other than the items at the front. The Pharmaself24 Multi design (more like an ATM), allowing for more flexible layout configurations within your pharmacy space, as well as a massively increased capacity. (Think 10 x 10 x 10 capacity, rather than 10 x 10.)

The Pharmaself24 Compact works its robotic mechanisms on a cylinder, which again differs from the stock vending machine technology, increasing capacity.

When the whole point is automating the prescription process, increasing capacity efficiently is the biggest winner. I mention efficiently specifically, because, real estate is valuable, and some pharmacies won’t have room for multiple machines. The Pharmaself24’s effective use of its space is a standout difference.

It’s important too, that the internal front lighting is so bright. Patients collecting 24/7 need external lighting at night (or in the case of the UK, from 5pm-8am from November to February.) Incorporating this into the design is clever. The whole appearance looks slick, a hallmark of good design.

Not only is it slick, but it’s robust, with a certificated anti-vandal IK10 rating. IK is a measurement of how much impact it can withstand, from 0 to 10.

Omnicell Pharmaself 24 Features

  • Unrivalled Capacity
  • Works with both Standalone Software and PMR Integrations
  • Premium Hardware
  • Modular Feature & Colour Customisation Available
  • External & Internal Options
  • Routine Annual Maintenance Checks
  • Fast Loading & Intuitive Traffic Light System
  • Secure IK10 Certification (Anti-Vandalism Protection)

MedPoint

MedPoint is a really solid option, offering three unique model sizes, the i900, i1200, and i1500. (The numbers represent width in cm.) The one that struck us most here was the MedPoint SOLO, designed to be separate to the Pharmacy.

A unique opportunity with MedPoint SOLO

The reason that struck us, wasn’t its cold-chain medicine option (though that’s cool…literally), nor the fact that even pharmacies with no physical floor space available can get the technology. It’s the potential of increasing patient convenience even more.

Covering quite a wide catchment area means travelling to your pharmacy might still be cumbersome for many patients. But delivering to every single patient is also costly and not environmentally friendly. The SOLO could give your pharmacy an outpost – a more convenient location for a wider reach of patients to collect their medications. It would work similar to Amazon Lockers, where a delivery driver delivers to the Prescription Collection Machine and loads everything there, instead of at the pharmacy.

(This machine is a demonstration model.)

 

The MedPoint also integrates with a growing list of PMR Providers: Titan, Proscript, Positive Solutions, Cegedim PMRs and the BeWell patient app, with more in the pipeline.

Whilst MedPoint doesn’t have the large glowing logo on the front, they do show lighting consideration for users with their external light.

MedPoint’s unique barcode-led process helps minimise the risk of the wrong patient getting the wrong bag, significantly enhancing safety by eliminating human error.

MedPoint Features

  • Utilises width rather than depth, with three unique models
  • Developed MedPoint API works with PMR Integrations & other third-party apps
  • MedPoint SOLO offers a unique standalone solution
  • Secure – fitted with CCTV and alarm as standard
  • Completely customisable branding
  • Routine maintenance checks every 6 months
  • Manufactured in Britain

Pharmabox 24

The “affordable” option, the Pharmabox 24 is very much the no-frills solution.

It does the automation part, it’s simple to use, and it works. Whilst not as all-singing, all-dancing, it might well be the entry point for pharmacists on a tight budget.

“Yes our sensors allow each customer 1 minute to collect their package from the flashing collection drawer, and if something is still detected after this time the drawer door will lock. The alloted Pharmabox24 local manager/contact point will receive a service text message to say that there is a package needing to be removed. The “release code” is entered into the front panel and the package can be removed, and can identify obviously who the offender was!

Our internal CCTV records all the activity and the pharmacy’s own CCTV can also be used to show what happened.

Our experience is that this happens very rarely but is a necessary security option.

We recommend the backlit LED lighting for the front panel which provides just the right level of lighting for the customer collecting. Equally in some situations, we recommend a PIR LED downlight to be fitted in the vicinity of the Pharmabox24 in order that the right level of safe lighting is achieved. This is usually included as part of the survey and planning permission work.”

Pharmabox24 Features

  • Utilises width rather than depth
  • Available in a range of sizes

Summary

Ultimately, your pharmacy will have its own specific needs.

Whilst there are many variables between models, you might be constrained by available space, meaning you benefit from either a model that utilises width over depth or vice versa. It’s worth a chat with Chris at T3 Pharmacy Design if you’re struggling with space or the layout of your pharmacy.

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