Connecting with Prescribers During COVID-19

Written by Mockingbird Pharma

On April 17, 2020

Connecting with Prescribers During the COVID-19 Crisis

While the country complies with requests for social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19 — a practice marked by inactivity and staying home — health care workers are busier than ever. In the throes of a global pandemic, the frenetic pace in which physicians are seeing patients has left some independent pharmacists concerned about connecting with prescribers.

Breaking down barriers to engage with prescribers is something independent pharmacists have been faced with throughout their careers — and it’s a topic we covered on our blog just a few short months ago. But, as is the case with most things related to health care, COVID-19 has forced pharmacists to adjust their prescriber-engagement strategies. If your efforts to connect with prescribers have stalled during COVID-19, here are some ways you can rekindle that relationship with a phone call or an email.

Relate with the prescriber

Poet Walt Whitman once wrote, “I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.” Treating patients during COVID-19 has undoubtedly been a harrowing experience for prescribers. Not only are they putting their own mental health on the line, but they also risk contracting the virus and spreading it to family members in their home.

As part of your outreach efforts with the prescriber, be sure to show empathy for what they’re going through. Talk with the prescriber about how they’re coping with the crisis and what measures they’re taking to personally stay safe. Most importantly, be authentic and show that you care for their well-being.

Ask what changes they’ve incorporated

The spread of COVID-19 (and the aftermath) has been like nothing many of us have ever seen in our lifetimes. We’ve watched the virus hop from country to country across the globe and endured the closures of businesses and restaurants in an effort to slow it down. Those select private enterprises that were allowed to stay open have had to institute radical new policies, from changes in operating hours to mandates that customers wear masks while shopping.

But our favorite big box stores and burger joints aren’t the only ones who have had to abruptly alter their operations. Doctors’ offices have made sweeping changes to how, when, why and where they see patients. In your next call or email to a prescriber, ask what changes their office has incorporated. Learning that kind of information might spur some ideas for how you can help the prescriber, which can lead to an additional source of revenue.

Inform prescribers about changes to your pharmacy

We’ve talked a lot here about what prescribers have weathered during COVID-19, but we know that your business has had to adapt as well. Unfortunately, your prescriber contacts may not be as aware of the changes your business has made.

Take the time to inform prescribers about modifications your business has made that might serve as a benefit to their patients. For instance, have you pivoted to strictly drive-thru service to avoid contact? Perhaps you’re now delivering drugs to existing customers. Or, maybe you’ve updated your store hours to give exclusive access to customers who are immunocompromised. Whatever it is, make sure the prescriber knows the lengths you’re going to in order to keep your customers (and their patients) safer.

Sadly, there’s no crystal ball available to tell us when this pandemic will be behind us or when normalcy can resume. The one thing we do know is that as an independent pharmacist, you simply can’t stop trying to connect with prescribers because of COVID-19. An approach that includes practicing empathy, asking questions about new policies and informing the prescriber about the changes you’ve made should serve you well.

If you have any questions for either Atrium24 or Mockingbird Pharma, please don’t hesitate to reach out. And we’ll continue to bring you the latest news you should know about COVID-19 and independent pharmacies. Stay safe!

Contact us today to learn more or to talk about Atrium24’s ongoing partnership with Mockingbird Pharma.

Nicolette Mathey, PharmD leads Atrium24, a firm that provides consultative services for independent pharmacies including turnkey clinical program guides, marketing materials, and training resources. Dr. Mathey has worked in pharmacy for 19 years. She was a pharmacist for CVS for 11 years, provided business consulting for five years and now owns Palm Harbor Pharmacy in Florida.

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