DUANE READE: INNOVATION AND SERVICE

Pharmacy Careers, Volume 0,0

Ms. Roop is a freelance writer based in Tampa, Florida.

With more than 240 storesthroughout the metropolitan area,Duane Reade has become the mostrecognized drugstore chain in NewYork. For pharmacists with a desire topractice hands-on care in the community,however, the chain's realappeal is not its Big Apple location—it is the innovative programs designedto get them out from behindthe counter.

"Duane Reade pharmacists mayhand customers a product, but thereis a whole service package that goeswith it, and that is what we stress,"said Kathleen Albert, RPh, managerof pharmacy marketing for DuaneReade.

"We focus on service and communication.To that end, we prefer tohave our pharmacists out front, talkingto people when possible, ratherthan behind the counter. At DuaneReade, it is not just about treatingcustomers who are ill—it is aboutgetting them to stay healthy andproactively protecting them againstillness," said Albert. "Our pharmacistsare counseling patients and workinghard to be the neighborhood pharmacistthat our customers can relyon."

As such, Duane Reade offers a widerange of internal programs designedto streamline workflow processeswithin the pharmacy, such as CentralFill, kiosks, and other automatedtools that help pharmacists processprescriptions more efficiently.

Central Fill processes approximately25,000 prescriptions a week thatcome in by phone, online, throughthe company's automated refill program,and as special orders. Thechain also ensures that each store hasthe right support personnel to handleas many of the behind-the-counterfunctions as possible.

"We offer pharmacists the opportunityto get out there and providereal customer service in the form ofpatient consultations and the like,"said Albert. "They are highly trainedindividuals who are good at whatthey do and have adequate supportstaff so that they focus on being thebest they can be."

Duane Reade's innovations do notstop at the pharmacy doors. Thecompany has a number of patientcareprograms, most developed at thebehest of its pharmacists. Each focuseson the unique needs of the communitiesserved by the individualstores, as well as the chainwide dedicationto improving patients' healthand wellness.

In addition to wellness and theDiabetes Resource Centers, 6 storeshave physician-staffed clinics to provideconvenient, affordable care. Thecompany also has established theDuane Reade Charitable Foundation,which supports a range of organizationsthat serve the needs of the company'spatients and neighbors.

"Our employees possess a diversityof skill sets, and we have createdcareer opportunities to reflect thesedifferent skill levels," said Albert.

In addition to graduate internpositions, every store has staff positionsas well as floating positions,which allow pharmacists to honetheir skills by working in a variety oflocations. From there, pharmacistscan move on to management or corporatepositions, or into roles withinCentral Fill, Duane Reade's pharmacybenefits management division, orclinical services.

Albert notes that the employmentopportunities at Duane Reade comewith a very competitive salary, a comprehensivebenefits package, and continuingeducation courses—not tomention top-of-the-line technology.

The perks, however, are not whatmake Duane Reade the place to be.Rather, it is the company's "commitmentto patient care, convenience,and health and wellness. We live here;we work here. We are a part of theNew York community. The peopleyou are seeing—those patients—areyour neighbors. And at Duane Reade,we give our pharmacists the toolsthey need to deliver pharmaceuticalcare in a retail setting, and a great jobenabling them to practice pharmacy,not just fill bottles," said Albert.

Information on Duane Readecareer opportunities is available atwww.duanereade.com.