Five Ways to Promote Health in Your Community Pharmacy

MAY 25, 2018
Pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare professionals, and they are able to provide lifestyle recommendations to help patients reach optimal health. There is a slew of health information available on the internet, and naturally, patients have more questions about medications, health, and complementary therapies.
 
There is a movement to have more focus on wellness, and preventative strategies. There have been numerous studies to show that the next generation, Generation Z, is more health conscious.1 A recent report conducted by the Nielsen Global Health and Wellness Survey2 offered surprising, and detailed information about the culinary habits of young people.

The most health-centric group of consumers is Generation Z. Four out of 10 people polled in this group indicated that they would be willing to spend more money for healthier products as opposed to 32 percent of millennials, and 21 percent of baby boomers. Although you may have a broad demographic in your pharmacy, everyone can benefit from a wellness-centric environment at the pharmacy.
 
Creating a wellness environment will differentiate your pharmacy, and help increase patient rapport and retention. There are several ways to create an environment of wellness in a community pharmacy:
  1. Have reputable supplements available. Be knowledgeable about supplements, and train pharmacy staff to refer questions to the pharmacist. Make bag stuffers to feature unique products and have literature for patients to read. You can also create a sticker system to notify the pharmacist to counsel patients on prescriptions that may deplete certain vitamins. For example, Metformin and B12 or birth control and B vitamins.
  2. Create a healthy newsletter for your patients. Having an email list not only grows your patient base, it also encourages families to stay healthy. Create a newsletter with a theme for the month, and provide value with tips, recipes, and featured supplements or products available in your pharmacy. For example, staying healthy during the summer, heart health month, stress management during the holidays, etc.
  3. Incorporate a lifestyle coaching session into Medication Therapy Management. Patients are looking for reputable information on how to stay healthy. Incorporate lifestyle recommendations into Medication Therapy Management sessions to stress the importance of self-care. Smoking cessation, exercise, stress management, sleep hygiene, and nutrition are all areas where patients can benefit from coaching. If the patient wants more comprehensive information, you can create a specific lifestyle coaching session, and charge for it.
  4. Host healthy lifestyle classes. If you have a designated counseling area that is large enough to hold a class, you can easily incorporate this idea. If not, many pharmacies will utilize a local library. Stress management, healthy eating on the go, and how to meal prep are some easy topics to empower patients to adapt healthy behaviors. Patients may ask questions about your topic along with other questions related to your pharmacy. Ultimately, you can grow relationships through community events or talks, which increases patient retention.  
  5. Provide health materials in your waiting area. Designate a space in the pharmacy for health information, complete with pamphlets, brochures or a bulletin board with local health events. If you have a bench, couch or set of chairs in your waiting area, place healthy resources there. Consider setting up an arrangement of educational brochures or books patients can browse while they wait on their prescriptions. Partner with local yoga studios, juice shops, and gyms to allow them to utilize your space for advertising. Also post your marketing materials in their facility. It is a win-win! 
The sky is the limit when it comes to developing creative ways to add wellness into the pharmacy. Incorporating these simple strategies into your practice will help encourage patients to stay healthy, fill a need, and differentiate your pharmacy from the competition.


References
  1. Kierz A. 15 Facts About Millennials And The Economy That Everyone In Business Should Know. May 19, 2014. Business Insiderwww.businessinsider.com/millennial-facts-2014-5. Accessed May 25, 2018.
  2. We are what we eat; health trends around the world. 2015. Nielsen Global Health and Wellness Report. www.nielsen.com/content/dam/nielsenglobal/eu/nielseninsights/pdfs/Nielsen%20. Accessed May 25, 2018.


Dr. Christina Tarantola, PharmD, CHC, CHt
Dr. Christina Tarantola, PharmD, CHC, CHt
Dr. Christina Tarantola, PharmD, CHC, CHt is a licensed pharmacist, health coach, hypnotherapist and Founder of Enlightened Wellness Solutions, a transformational coaching company geared to empower and energize people to take charge of their health! Dr. Christina is also a passionate author of three paperback books, Revealing Your Inner Radiance: Healing through the Heart, Reclaim Your Power: A Roadmap to Re-energizing Your Life and Lighten Up! 7 Weeks to Release, Recharge and Revitalize. For the last 6 years, Dr. Christina has been providing educational health talks in the Pittsburgh area, sharing her expertise on her monthly podcast segment on The Pharmacy Podcast, and creating relevant, informative health articles, YouTube videos and newsletters to empower her clients to live healthy lives!
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