Physicians seem to be steadily searching for the next great way to optimize patient care, and we can’t applaud them enough for their efforts in trying to improve outcomes. But what so many physicians fail to understand (or at least utilize to the fullest extent) is that an independent pharmacist can be a valuable resource along the way. These physicians are incredibly busy people, which is why the onus is on the pharmacist to build these relationships with local prescribers.
We understand that pharmacy owners are busy professionals, too, particularly those who are trying to run their own business in addition to helping patients. Still, it’s important you recognize that the pharmacist-prescriber relationship is one that’s mutually beneficial. If you’ve always wanted to increase your focus on deepening connections with physicians in your area but weren’t sure where to start, we’re here to help. Here are three ideas you can deploy to better engage with prescribers.
Create a leave-behind kit
Full disclosure, this approach will cost money when you factor in folders and printing costs, but it’s well worth it if you’re doing it right. The idea behind this tactic is to highlight yourself and your independent pharmacy. Included in the folder should be information on your background, what your pharmacy offers, unique advantages you have over other pharmacies and patient testimonials from existing customers. The great thing about this folder is that even if you don’t get the exposure you hoped for with the prescriber, you’re leaving them with a packet of reasons why they should work with you.
Educate prescribers on new-to-market drugs
By nature, physicians are fiercely loyal — but that doesn’t mean they aren’t open to fresh ideas. The goal with this tip is to make sure you’re putting in the time to stay educated on new-to-market drugs and PBM benefits so that you can educate prescribers. Without this nudge, the physician is likely to continue prescribing the same drugs they always have. The best way to accomplish this is through regular visits to the prescriber where you can review these products in person, but a quick phone call or email to talk about how the new drug may benefit the practice’s patients also works. Give the prescriber a complete picture by talking about how to describe the drug to patients, how frequently patients should take it and at what strength.
Be aware of what physicians are prescribing
Data has revolutionized the way businesses operate, and an independent pharmacy should be no different. Your files and records are chock full of noteworthy nuggets that can help you engage with prescribers. Make sure that you’re routinely scanning for trends across not only the entire drug landscape but specifically by prescriber. For instance, if you’ve noticed that a local physician is routinely prescribing one antibiotic over another, use that as a conversation starter or a way to get your foot in the door. This type of exploration can also arm you with relevant content to include in your leave-behind kits and influence the way you educate prescribers on those new-to-market drugs.
Prescriber engagement is a full-time job
There’s no doubt that a place exists for the pharmacist-prescriber relationship in the continuum of care. In fact, one Canadian study from 2013 showed that both sides agree that a collaborative relationship could improve patient outcomes and adherence to medication. But that’s just not possible without an unwavering commitment on the pharmacist’s behalf to engage with these prescribers.
In order to thrive, independent pharmacies need a business development arm to spur growth. Pharmacists who don’t feel comfortable doing this or don’t have the bandwidth to take it on themselves should hire someone for the role and start with relationships that the pharmacy already has.
Lastly, make sure to monitor your progress and document the success of your outreach attempts. If you find that one approach works better than the others, finetune your strategy accordingly.
Do you still have questions about prescriber engagement? Contact us today to learn more or to talk about Atrium24’s ongoing partnership with Mockingbird Pharma.