Does The Pharmacy You Use Really Matter?
The need for medication brought a rise in pharmacies over the years. Today, almost all Americans live a short distance from a pharmacy, with many evolving to massive, supermarket-sized chains. For most, picking up a supplement or aspirin is a matter of convenience. However, for patients suffering from chronic conditions or taking multiple prescriptions, the location matters. Despite the convenience of massive chains, choosing small pharmacies could influence a patient’s long-term health.
Small vs big-box pharmacies
Pharmacists began as mom-and-pop locations, serving small communities and providing customized medication. As the demand for medicine rose, so did the size of pharmacies. Massive pharmacies now exist that offer hundreds of drugs and other products. These are now accessible at major intersections and cities, threatening to put community pharmacies out of business. However, smaller chains and independents still exist, and many are coming back thanks to changing consumer needs. There are 3 fundamental reasons to choose a small community pharmacy.
1. Small pharmacies build long-term relationships with patients
Trust is an essential component of effective healthcare. While patients will see a doctor a few times a year, pharmacists interact much more. A long-term relationship is vital as patients are more skeptical about taking medication and struggle with medication adherence. Community pharmacists are often well-known and take the time to engage patients. The simple engagements can help address side effects, drug interactions and find solutions to medication adherence.
2. Small pharmacies offer personalized advice and services
Community pharmacies are more likely to provide value-added services to patients. For instance, small pharmacies offer health screenings, like cholesterol testing and vaccinations. Patients can also get advice from pharmacists while using these services at a fraction of the cost. Some independent pharmacies can also offer compounding to make medication adherence easier. With compounding, multiple medications can be converted into one oral, topical, or spray form. In addition, keeping all records in one smaller pharmacy can help create a customized experience.
3. Patient care matters
Smaller pharmacies spend more time on patient care sine more sales tend to come from prescriptions. These establishments will find ways to help with prescription costs and have automatic refill programs. Pharmacists are also more readily available to provide simple health advice based on prior patient knowledge. For instance, pharmacists help patients make other medical or supplement choices that won’t affect current prescriptions. The success of smaller pharmacies hinges on patient care, so there will be a better customer experience.
Bigger is not always better
The convenience, accessibility, and price of medication make larger pharmacies are appealing. However, patients who need medication long-term will see value in smaller pharmacies. Patients can establish a rapport with the pharmacy that will be much more difficult in a corporate establishment. Smaller pharmacies can also look closely at a patient’s current medicine stack and find ways to improve adherence and reduce side effects. Moving all prescriptions to a smaller provider can benefit patients in the long run.