You’re a community pharmacist, right? You focus on the health and wellness of the patients in your pharmacy and community. You and your staff work to make every patient happy and comfortable in seeking your counsel on health-related issues. So why would you want to ship prescriptions?
Sure, there may not be a lot of patient interaction when shipping deliveries, but giving patients the option to have medication shipped can give your pharmacy an edge and show that you care enough about your patients to go the extra mile.
Here are three ways pharmacy shipping can benefit your business and your patients.
Do you operate in a college town or have multiple retired patients? What happens when all of the students return to their home towns for summer break? What about when patients leave for long vacations? In some cases you may be able pre-supply them with enough medication to last them, but that’s not always possible.
They could temporarily transfer their medications to a pharmacy that will be more convenient while away. Or, worse, they could decide to utilize a mail-order only pharmacy that can ship their prescriptions wherever needed, losing you their business entirely.
Instead of these less preferable options, you could offer to ship their prescriptions to the desired location. This allows you to maintain this customer while offering them the care they’re used to receiving from your pharmacy.
Do you have patients enrolled in your delivery program that take specialty medications, like fertility drugs? Sometimes these patients need their prescriptions ASAP!
In this situation should you send a delivery driver out on a special trip to deliver the medication or tell them that they’ll have to come into the pharmacy to pick up their prescription? If your pharmacy software is shipping capable you have another option. You can overnight their medication so it gets there the very next day. This shows a patient that you take the time to know what medications they need in a timely manner while saving your delivery service the cost and time of having to make an extra trip.
This is another benefit for both you and customers. There are plenty of people living in rural areas that have to drive twenty to thirty minutes “to the city” (at least that’s what we say around here) and the nearest pharmacy. By offering to ship medication to them, you’re offering a more personal pharmacy experience than they would most likely receive from a standard mail-order business. You can counsel and speak with patients on their medication regimen over the phone and ship vitamins and other OTC items that could benefit their health.
Not only are you reaching out to a patient who had few other options, you’re expanding your pharmacy’s reach, taking on more customers, and growing your business.
Now that you’re aware of the benefits pharmacy shipping can offer you and your patients, let’s discuss some of the hurdles you may face when shipping prescriptions.
- Delivery Proof – Most PBMs require proof of delivery, which means the customer must sign off on the package. If you are audited and don’t have a record of the signature, the insurance company may recoup the reimbursement.
- Order Tracking – It’s pretty common if you choose to offer shipping that a patient will want to know when their medication will be ready, or in this case arrive. To give them a status update on their medication you will need to locate the correct tracking number, log in to the shipping company’s website, and track the package.
A good way to ensure that you can overcome these hurdles is to equip yourself with a pharmacy software that can integrate with the shipping companies you plan to use. Integration saves time and work for receiving delivery proof and lowers stress in the event of a third party audit. Also, when integrated with your software it’s possible that an email can be sent to the patient with tracking information for their prescription, allowing them to track their package.