Retail pharmacy seems to be on the mind of every pharmacy leader I speak to these days. They're feeling pressured to leverage retail pharmacy to improve patient experience, health outcomes, and brand loyalty—not to mention to turn a profit.
To better understand the state of retail pharmacy operations and services across the country, the Pharmacy Executive Forum recently surveyed pharmacy leaders at hospitals and health systems across the nation to understand their retail pharmacy operations and services. Here's a sneak peek at some of our most interesting findings.
On the horizon: In-house mail order refill programs
Do you have an in-house mail order refill program?
Almost half of our respondents currently have an in-house mail order refill program and another 10% are working to build out these services in the next year. This number really surprised us. As mail order programs require significant prescription volumes to justify the necessary infrastructure, technology, and staffing investments, we typically see them associated either with established specialty pharmacies or large integrated delivery networks. Neither of these factors completely explains this trend.
However, one trend that may help explain the growth of mail order refill programs is preparations for an anticipated shift toward managed care contracts. Outpatient medication utilization contributes substantially to a patient's total cost of care. Mail order refill services can provide chronic disease patients with ongoing medications at a lower cost and also promote continuity of care. In addition, the convenience of mail order services may help reduce prescription leakage to competitors. As we look ahead, we foresee in-house mail order refill programs capturing pharmacy's attention as an investment opportunity.
Room for improvement: Bedside delivery capture rates
What is your average capture rate for your bedside delivery program(s)?
Though almost 75% of respondents said their hospital-based retail pharmacies offer concierge bedside delivery programs, we were surprised to see that these programs capture a relatively small percentage of discharge prescriptions. More than three-quarters of med-to-bed programs have less than a 50% capture rate, with half of reporting programs having less than 25%.
For institutions with a hospital-based retail pharmacy, the concierge bedside delivery program can be seen as strategic investment that increases medication adherence and improves patient satisfaction. In addition, they can grow pharmacy volumes and, often, profits. Keys to growth include targeting your patient populations and integrating the program into the clinical care setting.
Stayed tuned to the Pharmacy Executive Forum across the coming months for more best practices and case studies related to advancing health system retail pharmacies.