Health Mart is helping member pharmacies draw new customers and maximize customer loyalty via investments in technology solutions and clinical services.

Health Mart, McKesson, Kevin Kettler, independent pharmacy, member pharmacies, pharmacy franchise, adherence programs, refill management, mobile app, Mc­Kesson's Physician Outreach Program, Health Mart pharmacies, retail pharmacists, McKesson Connect, Pharmacy Intervention Program, behavioral coaching, customer loyalty

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Health Mart programs, services boost customer loyalty

April 23rd, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO – Health Mart is helping member pharmacies draw new customers and maximize customer loyalty via investments in technology solutions and clinical services.

"The focus this year will be local marketing support programs designed to help attract new customers and keep them coming back with promotions and special offers," said Kevin Kettler, senior vice president at McKesson Corp., parent of the Health Mart pharmacy franchise network.

"As we've seen with the pilot of our refill management mobile app as well as behavioral coaching programs delivered in the pharmacy to help patients remain compliant with their treatment regimens, pharmacies also benefit from such adherence programs and services," Kettler explained. "For example, in addition to increased prescription volumes, pharmacies often experience incremental front-end purchases and enhanced customer ­loyalty."

Through Mc­Kesson's Physician Outreach Program, independent pharmacy owners who do not have substantial advertising budgets can promote their capabilities to local prescribers, he added. Health Mart pharmacies looking to connect with the broader health care team in their communities and attract new patients can now access more than 1 million prescriber records to tailor their marketing strategies.

The outreach program combines what McKesson describes as a simple-to-use web application and time-saving communication tools to help pharmacists identify and build relationships with relevant doctors in their area. Linked through the McKesson Connect pharmaceutical ordering portal, participating pharmacists can leverage the web application maps of prescriber locations near the pharmacy and identify key data on prescribing physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants — including total prescription counts for each prescriber, medical specialty and contact information.

That feature enables pharmacists to identify high-volume providers in their geographic area, determine the share of scripts they are receiving from each provider and track how this share changes over time to determine whether their physician outreach efforts are delivering results, according to McKesson. The tool also provides pharmacies with valuable data, such as Drug Enforcement Administration and National Provider Identifier numbers.

To facilitate outreach efforts, pharmacists can take advantage of customizable marketing tools to communicate their value and promote their pharmacy's services to targeted doctors and health care providers. The marketing tools are intended to help pharmacists refine their messages and develop a targeted campaign that builds prescriber-pharmacist relationships. Additional marketing support and consulting are also available.

"McKesson's Physician Outreach Program gives our pharmacy a clear-cut approach for who we need to target and who we need to have a business relationship with in the community," one pharmacist said. "In the past, we always worried about taking care of the patient, thinking the rest will follow. Now we know it isn't just about the patient; we have to fit in the triad of care of physicians, patients and pharmacists. This program allows us to do that."

Physicians and their staff are seen as key influencers; therefore, patients usually follow doctor's recommendation of a community pharmacy.

Health Mart also is helping franchisees cultivate patient relationships and boost patient care via the McKesson Pharmacy Intervention Program (PIP), which expands access to one-on-one behavioral coaching from retail pharmacists.

"The program found that patients who received face-to-face behavioral coaching from pharmacists showed significant adherence benefits," Kettler said. "For example, patients coached in multiple diabetes programs showed an average of four incremental refills over 12 months."

The program facilitates patient adherence through interventions that take place at the pharmacy and are delivered by pharmacists trained in the techniques of motivational interviewing.

"In addition to incremental reimbursement fees," Kettler said, "pharmacies can benefit from increased prescription volumes and incremental front-end purchases and can further enhance customer loyalty."