PHARMACY

Quality measures, leadership skills and best practice exchange headlines Health Mart University Live! curriculum at ideaShare 2015

BY David Salazar

SAN DIEGO — Class was in session here at McKesson ideaShare 2015 on Friday with a series of Health Mart University Live! sessions focused on building leadership skills, gearing up for quality measures and a business-building workshop where owners shared best practices and opportunities to grow the business.

Leadership + Team engagement = Sustained results    
Presenters Kelley Babcock, COO of Pharmacy Development Services (PDS), and Terri Norvell, PDS’ leadership coach, literally had attendees on their feet, making them stretch and warm up their minds at the outset of the session. The two presenters focused on the best ways for owners and pharmacists to lead a team that functions well and provides the highest level of care to patients.

One of the areas that Norvell emphasized was the importance of values in outlining to a team what is required and expected of members. Norvell asked attendees to write down and share the values that drive their businesses and urged them to make sure that those values shine through in how they deal with team members.

“Values drive behavior, and tell your employees, ‘This is what’s acceptable around here,’” Norvell said. “They don’t really need to just hang on the wall, that’s old school. Values in today’s age are alive in action.”

In particular, Norvell pointed out that outlining the rules of the workplace is a way to make the values more concrete — if an owner makes their expectations clear, employees can’t plead ignorance. This is an example of the type of action, however small, that co-presenter Babcock urged, rather than using empty words.

“One of our very favorite things to say is: ‘Words are just vibrations of air,’” Babcock said. “They are really meaningless unless they are coupled with action.”

Pharmacy quality measures
One of the biggest threads running through McKesson ideaShare 2015 was the pressure placed on independent pharmacists to drive improved patient outcomes. Tim Davis, pharmacist and owner of Brighton and Beaver Falls Health Mart Pharmacies, helped attendees navigate the maze of pharmacy quality measures, and to think about how to develop their pharmacy teams so that each member understands the importance of delivering on these measures and does their part to ensure quality.

Davis talked about the importance of consulting with patients one-to-one to drive quality and how his pharmacy is leveraging technology solutions like McKesson’s EQuIPP platform to track quality performance and plan ways to keep improving it. Proving that these solutions are not just for the new generation of pharmacists, Davis noted that his father, a pharmacist for more than 40 years, waits at his computer for new EQuIPP data because he understands its utility and the impact it has on patient care in his pharmacy.

“That’s the reason we got into pharmacy — to make sure that our patients felt good and that we felt that we were doing good in our community,” Davis said.

Marketing ideaExchange
Elizabeth Estes, chief ideas officer for Ebus Innovation, stepped out of the presenter role and acted as facilitator for a session whose core emphasis was in the very spirit of McKesson ideaShare 2015 — the sharing of ideas. Participants broke up into small roundtable-working groups, with no two people from the same pharmacy seated at the same table. Groups used McKesson’s ideaShare 2015 mobile app to share their findings with the room. The goal of the exercise was for independent pharmacy owners to share best thinking in marketing and promotion, and exchange ideas among peers that could be implemented immediately after the conference to help attract and keep more customers.

One hot idea revolved around using events as marketing opportunities, including customer appreciation events, flu shot fairs and other health fairs. One participant noted that a health fair that once started in his pharmacy’s parking lot had since expanded into a bigger event and spread out all the way down the block over the years.

Applauding these grassroots-type efforts, Estes also talked about the value of targeted digital marketing, and the role the medium can play in augmenting traditional marketing and improving attendance.

“If you think about what you’re doing in events, one of the best things you can do is not look at your marketing in silos — traditional and digital — but bring them together,” Estes said. “If you’re having a health fair, if you’re having a flu event, use Facebook to target customers in your zip code to drive more people there. That’s a way you can try to bring these marketing tools together.”

Estes, like Babcock and Norvell, urged action on the part of owners.

“I hope you heard some ideas today that you can take back to your markets, but try to make them your own,” Estes said. “I think the biggest thing is to give yourself a reason to try something new and try something different, and I know that’s why you’re all here.”

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The RxOwnership experience: Independent owners past and present talk about the ups and downs of buying and selling in today’s market

BY David Salazar

SAN DIEGO — McKesson hosted its annual RxOwnership lunch event here on Friday at ideaShare 2015, offering an insiders’ look at the market for buying and selling pharmacies, and the considerable advantages ownership entails.

Jim Springer, RxOwnership’s regional VP for the south region, introduced a panel of current and former pharmacy owners led by special guest emcee Mark Jeffries, author of the book “The Art of Business Seduction.” The panelists shared their ownership experiences and talked about the intricacies of buying and selling a pharmacy, as well as the resources that McKesson can make available in the process through its RxOwnership program.

“One of the biggest things that McKesson RxOwnership does is find you a good fit — a pharmacy that matches the way you want to practice and serve your patients,” Springer said, teeing up the conversation.

Panelists included Norm Talkowski, former owner of Bloomfield Drug Store in Pittsburgh; Loren Pierce, owner and CEO of Moye’s Pharmacy and Atlanta-based Pharmacy Group; and Purva Patel, a relatively new owner who opened the Doctor’s Choice Pharmacy in Upland, Calif., in the past few years.

As a newcomer to the pharmacy business, Patel spoke about how RxOwnership and many of McKesson’s other programs helped her find her way through the difficult first stages of getting her first business off the ground. In addition, Patel also tapped into important organizations and resources at the local level to help guide her journey to becoming her own boss.

“When you’re new, starting a business, it’s a lot of work,” she said. “You have to form alliances when you’re by yourself and you’re opening a start-up. You need all the help you can get and there’s help out there.”

Talkowski talked about the opposite experience — the often-difficult task of finding the right buyer for your independent pharmacy that won’t look to change the business once it changes hands. As someone who had sold a pharmacy both with and without the assistance of RxOwnership, Talkowski talked about his experience with RxOwnership, and how McKesson was able to not only find him a prospective buyer, but also make him feel good about his choice to sell his pharmacy in a community that he cared about and who would pick up where he left off, helping to nurture the business.

“The fact that I knew them, the fact that they would continue to operate under the same name, with the same way of operating, and nobody would really know that I left because everything was operating the same — that was huge,” he said.

Beyond just helping him find the best buyer for his business, Talkowski also talked about other critical McKesson services and support tools, which helped him understand the changing pharmacy business and what he had to do to stay competitive.

“You need to work a lot harder and a lot smarter than I planned to when I started out in pharmacy,” Talkowski said. “What I would advise is to learn everything there is to learn, use every tool available no matter who offers it,” he said.  “McKesson and Health Mart are making them available to you to learn about all of it.”

Pierce, who entered into pharmacy through a junior partnership with an independent pharmacy owner, turned to RxOwnership to help him grow the franchise that he has since built up to 10 stores. He emphasized the need for a reliable partner to navigate the pharmacy landscape.

The key takeaway Springer and the panelists had for attendees was the fact that there is more of a market than they might have initially thought. The news of the potential for the pharmacy market was promising for the group of students in the crowd contemplating the opportunity to begin their pharmacy careers as their own bosses. Earlier that day, as part of a Future Pharmacist program, the students met with McKesson RxOwnership regional VPs West region Corey Miller  and Karen Schmidt to help understand what pharmacy settings were best suited for them and what resources were available if they decided they wanted to work at, or purchase their own, independent pharmacy.

“For buyers and sellers there’s good news on both sides. There’s going to be a lot of opportunity for those who want to buy or start their own pharmacy,” emcee Jeffries said at the beginning of the event, pointing to NCPA data saying that 10,000 pharmacies will change hands in the next 10 years. “This is a very active marketplace.”

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IPC names winner of 2015 Most Valuable Pharmacy award

BY Antoinette Alexander

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. —The Independent Pharmacy Cooperative has selected Lombard Pharmacy and owner Craig Kueltzo as its 2015 Most Valuable Pharmacy.

Kueltzo, his family and the pharmacy staff received IPC’s MVP award on June 26 at the IPC Annual Business Meeting held during McKesson ideaShare 2015 in San Diego.
 


“It’s my pleasure to highlight the amazing work done by owner Craig Kueltzo and his pharmacy’s staff by awarding them IPC’s Most Valuable Pharmacy for 2015,” stated IPC president and CEO Don Anderson. “Lombard Pharmacy represents an essential business in the heart of its loyal community, relishes the importance of community leadership and promotes a business culture that always strives for excellence in customer service.”
 


IPC’s MVP Award recognizes a pharmacy that realizes the value of its extensive engagement within its cooperative. Lombard Pharmacy actively participates in various IPC initiatives and takes full advantage of the variety of IPC programs and services available to them, realizing the critical impact they have on the pharmacy’s operations.
 


“IPC’s allegiance is to independent pharmacy and promoting the future of independent pharmacy,” stated Kueltzo, who has also served on IPC’s advisory board. “I wouldn’t be without them, and our IPC membership has meant a lot to us over the years.”
 


At a special ceremony, Kuetlzo was surprised at the pharmacy on June 11 with a special acknowledgement ceremony involving a visit from IPC director of sales operations Mindy Herrmann.
 


“It’s truly humbling to receive this great award in front of my peers, family and staff,” Kueltzo stated. “It recognizes the wonderful work done by everyone here at Lombard Pharmacy, and it means a lot to me.”  
 


IPC’s previous MVPs were: 2014: Tieton Village Drugs of Yakima, Wash.; 2013: Beemon Drugs of Jackson, Miss.; 2012: Yost Pharmacy of Mason, Ohio; 2011: Neuhauser Pharmacy of Madison, Wis.; 2010: Windham Pharmacy of Windham, N.Y.
 
Dating back to 1983, IPC has grown to be the nation's largest group purchasing organization, representing more than 2,500 members. With locations in Sun Prairie, Wis., and Phoenix, Ariz., IPC prides itself on providing access to programs and services to put profit back into the independent pharmacy.
 

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C.ROBINSON says:
Jul-06-2015 05:51 pm

Congratulations Craig from everyone at RxCherryPick. We've always known that your an award winning pharmacist. Best Regards Craig Robinson

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