Q&A: Michelle Gilliam on bringing new patients into Health Mart stores
DSN had an opportunity to talk to Michelle Gilliam, director of Health Mart marketing about helping Health Mart owners and pharmacists promote their pharmacies their way. With more customizable tools and resources to promote their specific service offerings to local patients and prescribers, Health Mart stores can attract new patients and reinforce their value to existing patients.
DSN: Tell us about the Bring More Patients Space in the Health Mart pavilion at McKesson ideaShare this year.
Michelle Gilliam: Competition for patients is stronger than ever, which means that marketing your pharmacy is critical in today’s environment. That is why Health Mart is constantly investing in new and innovative ways to help our stores compete from national advertising to local marketing tools that help stores promote themselves … their way. The Bring More Patients area at the McKesson ideaShare meeting is designed to showcase proven strategies for acquiring patients and promoting your pharmacy. We are introducing a number of new marketing solutions and resources to help level the playing field so Health Mart stores can grow their businesses.
Health Mart continues to invest in national and local marketing tools to help owners attract new patients and reinforce their value to existing patients. This year, Health Mart will launch an improved Marketing Hub experience, expanded Facebook program and new marketing support options. The remerchandised Marketing Hub features more than 400 customizable materials and turn-key solutions that enable stores to leverage the Health Mart brand and reinforce their local identity to promote their personalized services in their own way. With more flexible matching funds, stores can quickly and cost-effectively implement a high impact marketing effort using a combination of offline and online activities.
DSN: You talk about national and local marketing. How does Health Mart’s national brand support the ability for local stores to promote themselves?
Gilliam: Health Mart has made a significant investment in helping independent Health Mart pharmacies market to their local communities. This is done in two ways.
First, we invest in national advertising with local impact. One example is our latest campaign to help stores capture more Medicare Part D patients who might be switching pharmacies due to lower co-pays. This multi-million dollar national campaign included national radio, regional TV, online ads as well as four Health Mart–branded armored cars serving as rolling billboards that visited more than 60 store locations. The results from nearly 900 stores demonstrated an average increase of 12 new patients over 65 years old.
Secondly, Health Mart provides customizable tools to amplify the local impact of national campaigns like the Health Mart Healthy Living Tour or the June national radio ad campaign. With hundreds of professional marketing tools developed by top creative agencies and media experts available through the Marketing Hub, stores can reach more customers and reinforce the Health Mart brand while promoting their specific capabilities and services. This enables Health Mart pharmacies to leverage the scale of a national brand while complementing their local identity.
DSN: You seem to have expanded Health Mart’s definition of marketing, tell us about how stores leverage those tools.
Gilliam: As part of our comprehensive marketing effort, we have also invested heavily in other marketing solutions for both prescribers and consumer digital marketing. Health Mart helps our pharmacies build stronger prescriber relationships and improve efficiency with the Physician Outreach Program. On the digital side, Health Marts can now use matching funds for targeted Facebook advertising, a subscription for automated posts or to have us help them build a page. We also continue to expand the Your Pharmacy Online web site and mobile app, providing cost-effective tools to support patient medication adherence and drive positive health outcomes while driving prescription refills.
Go Digital – Get Found with Your Pharmacy Online: With new tools designed to provide patients with convenient, on-the-go prescription management, including refill reminders, Health Mart continues to expand our Your Pharmacy Online customizable website and mobile app. Patient medication history can now be integrated with all McKesson pharmacy management systems. Patients can opt-in to receive refill and pill reminders delivered via push notifications through the mobile app and pharmacists can provide status updates through push notifications, offering increased convenience for patients.
Know Your Prescribers – and Make Sure they Know You: By leveraging professionally created prescriber marketing materials, Heath Mart stores can encourage local prescribers to send patients to their pharmacy and gain a competitive edge in your market. The Physician Outreach Program provides physician-specific data on more than 1.5 million prescribers. This year, McKesson is launching a redesigned website that provides enhanced prescriber tracking capabilities and easier prescriber specialty search functionality. In a recent study, program users gained 12 more new prescribers and 40 more new patients than stores not using the Physician Outreach Program.
DSN: Independent pharmacists are pretty busy and don’t always think they can make time to market — do they have to do all of this by themselves?
Gilliam: While our pharmacies excel at local, personalized service, many don’t have the time, resources or experience to consistently and effectively market their capabilities to consumers. We help Health Mart owners market their way, whether they want to customize and place campaigns themselves or have us “do-it-for-them.”
This year, we have expanded the marketing support resources that enable Health Marts to get the expert help they need for better results — and save with Matching Funds. For example, now stores can sign up for My Marketing Advisor with monthly calls with an experienced marketer or get a specific project completed from start to finish using matching funds. Stores in the My Marketing Advisor pilot saw a 14% increase in scripts compared with control stores. This is in addition to our Quick Help service, which offers live phone, email and online support with experts to help owners keep their marketing efforts on track.
As an example, running a local TV commercial can have a big impact on a pharmacy’s business, but developing one can feel daunting. That’s why we’ve done the heavy lifting so pharmacy owners can film their part in just 30 minutes at the McKesson ideaShare meeting. Health Mart will professionally direct, edit and deliver the video, and coordinate with television stations to fulfill the store’s media buy. Designed to feature the pharmacist and local store contact information, the spot can focus on one of the five topics: the Health Mart brand, fast prescriptions and home delivery, Med Sync, Med D Open Enrollment (for use October through December) and Med D Savings (for use in January).
Whether they’re able to attend McKesson ideaShare or not, we encourage all Health Mart’s to visit the Marketing Hub to take advantage of flexible matching funds and professional marketing tools to leverage the scale of the national Health Mart brand and complements their local identity.
McKesson awards Pharmacy of the Year to Alabama’s Marble City Health Mart Pharmacy
SAN DIEGO — Marble City Health Mart Pharmacy was named the 2015 Pharmacy of the Year grand prize winner Thursday evening at the McKesson ideaShare 2015 Opening General Session.
“This pharmacy is a family-owned business that embodies a service-focused atmosphere, and that’s what differentiates them,” Health Mart president Steve Courtman said at the Opening General Session, adding that he’d recently visited the pharmacy to see the owners in action. “They live their motto — ‘The way a drug store used to be’ — by providing personalized service and quality patient care.”
One example of that personalized service: a store cell phone that customers can call 24/7. Staff at the Sylacauga, Ala.-based pharmacy take shifts carrying the cell phone so that they can be available to their patients all of the time.
The cell phone is only one of the several ways that the pharmacy’s founder Danny Johnson and co-owners Jacob and Jared Johnson work toward enhancing their community’s health. The Johnsons regularly hold education events about diabetes, including classes and an annual fair. They also provide Continuing Education classes for doctors and nurses in the area, and they conduct regular visits to local low-income housing residents and four local assisted living facilities.
Other services Marble City Pharmacy offers include health screenings for local state and municipal government employees, and informing local physicians about changes to regulations on medications or new generics through a brief “fax blast.”
Marble City Pharmacy is also the only specialty compounding pharmacy in their area. And in 2014, the Johnsons opened the first home infusion service in the area, Marble City Vital Care, which saved patients who needed infusion supplies a nearly hour-long trip to Birmingham.
“We want Marble City Health Mart Pharmacy to be a part of the community and to give our customers the peace of mind that we will do everything we can to take care of them,” Danny Johnson said. “We are a truly family-owned business; I have passed on the responsibility to my two pharmacist sons, Jacob and Jared. Our customers love and appreciate the family atmosphere.”
McKesson’s Pharmacy of the Year award recognizes independent pharmacies that are best-in-class in a range of areas including innovative approaches to their business and outstanding service to their community. The three Pharmacy of the Year regional winners were: Shushma Patel, who owns the Prescription Shop Health Mart Pharmacy in Montebello, Calif.; Randy McDonoough and Michael Deninger, owners of Iowa City, Iowa’s Towncrest Health Mart Pharmacy; and Chas McCormick, who owns First State Health Mart Pharmacy in Wilmington, Del.
“All of our regional winners are dedicated to providing their customers with extraordinary service that also improves patient care and shows why community pharmacies continue to thrive,” McKesson’s U.S. pharmaceutical president Mark Walchirk said. “McKesson will continue to invest in new programs and clinical services to help independent pharmacies improve their patients’ health and better serve their communities.”
FDA OKs Aurobindo’s generic version of top-selling Parkinson’s drug
Dayton, N.J. — Aurobindo Pharma Limited has announced that it has received final approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for entacapone tablets USP, 200 mg, the generic equivalent to Comtan Tablets 200 mg.
Comtan, which is used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, was one of Novartis’ top 20 top-selling drugs in 2014, with sales totaling $371 million.