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Pharmacist and patient engagement leads to better patient outcomes

BY Matt Lowe

Serving as trusted and accessible resources, community pharmacists have a unique opportunity to help patients adhere to their medication regimens and improve outcomes. Ninety-five percent of all Americans live within five miles of their community pharmacy, and in a 2011 Gallup poll, pharmacists were ranked second only to nurses on their list of the most honest and ethical professionals. 

New technologies and automated systems, such as pharmacy processing software and robotic dispensers, reduce the time to fill and verify prescriptions. As a result, pharmacists have more time to engage with patients and take on clinical tasks, such as patient coaching and medication education. Targeted behavioral-based patient conversations delivered in the pharmacy can help patients better understand their disease or illness, the role and function of their medication, and the importance of adherence.

Building on the benefits of this patient-centric approach, there are a growing number of opportunities for pharmacies to participate in programs targeted at improving medication adherence, including pharmacist counseling sessions, adherence outreach and medication reminder programs. Integrating with pharmacy software to alert pharmacists to sponsored clinical opportunities, these programs provide training and many include compensation for offering behavioral coaching sessions to help patients overcome adherence barriers, enrolling patients in savings programs, and providing information about clinical trials to eligible patients.

McKesson’s Pharmacy Intervention Program found patients who received face-to-face behavioral coaching from their pharmacists showed significant adherence benefits. For example, COPD patients who received coaching showed an average of 1.6 incremental fills over 12 months, and patients coached in multiple diabetes programs showed an average of four incremental refills over 12 months when compared to patients who did not receive behavioral coaching.
With specialized education and training in patient health, and the fact that they are one of the most trusted professionals, pharmacists are ideally placed to help improve patient outcomes. Combined with technology advances, this trend is likely to grow.

For more information on trends the adherence experts at McKesson Patient Relationship Solutions see shaping the future of medication nonadherence, view “The Future of Medication Adherence” whitepaper here.

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SymphonyIRI Group provides a peek ‘Inside the Mind of the Shopper’ at Marketplace

BY Antoinette Alexander

DENVER — Monday morning kicked off with a bang at NACDS Marketplace, as SymphonyIRI Group’s Navin Gautam took attendees inside the mind of today’s value-conscious shopper.

“Delivering truly shopper-centric value is going to be key, and neither manufacturers nor retailers can do it alone,” Gautam, principal of client services for SymphonyIRI, told attendees during his presentation, titled “Inside the Mind of the Shopper: Understanding the Difference in Motivation by Generations.”

Gautam explained that a series of “shocks” have rocked the U.S. economy since 2007— such as high unemployment rates, commodity inflation, investment depreciation and the Euro-zone crisis — and have given rise to a new value-conscious consumer.

Concern over rising medical costs also has impacted the mindset of shoppers. In fact, a 2010 Deloitte survey found that only 25% of U.S. consumers remain confident that they are able to deal with future medical costs.

In light of these concerns, consumers increasingly are looking for ways to save money. For example, research showed that many shoppers are looking to save money by going to the doctor less and increasingly are self-treating (36%), and many are turning to at-home beauty treatments to curb costs (35%).

Gautam also told attendees that, according to research, the use of coupons and circulars in trip planning remains strong but there are slight differences that exist across generations. Younger generations tend to clip and use more coupons compared with older generations, who tend to research circulars.

Technology (i.e., smartphones and social media) also is changing the retail landscape and represents significant opportunities, especially when it comes to mobile couponing. For example, research showed that 75% of shoppers make a list prior to shopping, 10.6% of list makers use technology and among those list makers who use technology, 69% use a smartphone.

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Coca-Cola, Facebook execs talk social media at NACDS Marketplace

BY Michael Johnsen

DENVER — Executives from Coca-Cola and Facebook on Monday morning shared social media best practices and strategies here at NACDS Marketplace 2012.

Social media is about engaging the end-consumer in an interactive dialogue, more than it is about accumulating “likes.”

“The most valuable channel to engage the consumer is the news feed,” suggested Mike Haines, director of market solutions for Facebook. “Don’t think about your page as a destination … but as a launching point for the news feed.” Facebook is the power of word-of-mouth unleashed, Haines added.

That’s in part because social media is about telling a brand story. “Stories are the most powerful ways to share ideas,” noted JD Doughney, senior social marketing manager for Coca-Cola. “They’re also the most sticky way to retain information.” Social media also is ubiquitous.

“How far is the average person in the United States away from [his or her] smartphone? It’s literally 3 ft.,” commented John Carroll, VP drug and value channel for Coca-Cola. According to Carroll, 1-in-5 shopping trips start on Google, as many as 40% of 18 to 34 year olds use handheld devices to search for coupons, and half of all consumers use social media to learn about deals.

However, social media also should be a contributory revenue stream, not another cost center. For example, Haines noted, Walmart is using Facebook to help augment its relationship with shoppers at the community level. Shoppers who “like” Walmart’s page are asked to identify with a particular store, Haines said, which enables Walmart to target ad campaigns at the actual store level.

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