In the never-ending quest to expand an independent pharmacy’s capabilities, you need to look above and beyond what’s currently expected of the industry. You can look to automated services to make your work life a little easier or clinical services to bring in a larger customer base.
Enter lab testing, an overlooked but potentially lucrative avenue for your independent pharmacy. Just like clinical services, direct-to-consumer lab testing can make your pharmacy a more attractive and convenient place for all a patient’s medical needs.
Not only is it more convenient for your pharmacy to offer lab testing, but it can help identify serious health problems for patients. Being a pharmacist, you can help treat those problems before they become grave issues.
Here are ways you can successfully implement lab testing in your independent pharmacy’s workflow.
The Importance of Lab Testing
Lab testing is an extremely beneficial healthcare asset for both provider and patient. For consumers, lab testing offers the opportunity to skip long lines at the doctor’s office and learn about the true state of their health.
For pharmacies, lab testing yields benefits in both the commercial and healthcare sectors. Adding lab testing to your arsenal of additional services is yet another way to make your pharmacy an attractive healthcare destination.
Just like how clinical services can put you ahead of the game, lab testing can further establish your independent pharmacy as a healthcare destination.
Why Should You Provide Lab Testing?
The market size for lab testing is 58 times larger than the flu shot market, with 7 billion lab tests being conducted annually, according to the NCPA.
Strike while the iron’s hot and your community pharmacy will be synonymous with lab testing.
The healthcare aspect of lab testing should go without saying. Let’s start with convenience. Sure, convenience is usually a precursor to profit, but it also simply makes the patient’s life easier. They no longer have to zig-zag between a doctor’s office and then a specialist’s office, eventually ending up in a line in the pharmacy.
The convenience that a pharmacy offers allows patients to learn about their health in a quicker, easier way than having to wait for that call from the doctor’s office.
Lab testing also establishes a level of trust and understanding between pharmacist and patient, further establishing a loyal customer base.
Finding the Right Company
As with any other pharmacy service, lab testing is going to be a sizable financial investment. After all, you have to spend money to make money.
Think about what kind of testing you’d want your independent pharmacy to conduct and find the company that best suits your needs.
Some notable lab testing companies include:
These companies provide a wide range of lab testing services, from toxicology reports to standard blood work. Whatever niche you’d like to get into, make sure it’s the right one for your pharmacy and your patients. Different patients prefer different services so provide ones that they’ll likely gravitate towards.
Get the Patients Involved
A patient’s health journey is a two-way street. As a pharmacist and healthcare provider, it’s your responsibility to set your patients up for success by fulfilling their doctor’s prescriptions and recommending clinical services when necessary.
Encourage your patients to be actively involved in their health journeys by giving them easy-to-access resources to regularly update themselves on the current state of their health.
Several lab testing companies allow patients to play a more active role in their lab testing journeys.
Ulta Lab Tests, for example, allows patients to monitor test results and also order tests through a private patient portal. It also lets them selectively share results with the pharmacy, reinforcing patient privacy.
Remember that a patient’s health journey doesn’t solely lie on the pharmacist’s or doctor’s shoulders. Giving your patients the resources to be more involved and proactive in their health will only help them be more mindful of their well-being.
Lab Testing with Your Pharmacy Software
After all is said and done, you need a place to put all this important and potentially sensitive information. This is where your pharmacy software system comes into play.
To start, see if your pharmacy’s software has third-party integrations with the testing company you’ve chosen (another major deciding factor in which company to go with).
Though this might be unlikely (you’ll likely receive your findings via an emailed link from the company), your software system shouldn’t have to sit on the sidelines. Document the lab findings in the respective patient’s profile. Adding this kind of information to a patient’s profile will help paint a more comprehensive picture of that patient and their health journey.
Add that with their vaccine history and other findings from the clinical services that you should already be providing and you’ll have a clearer picture of how to help your patients become their best and healthiest selves.
Pharmacy has never been more consumer-driven, and that trend will only continue as services become more convenient and easy to access. Lab testing is yet another service your independent pharmacy should provide as it becomes a wide-ranging and all-encompassing healthcare destination.
Your pharmacy is only as successful as the services it provides, and the more you modernize your small business with the latest and greatest innovations the better. Not only does lab testing yield a great financial incentive, but it will strengthen your relationships with patients.
It’s a perfect way to get them involved in their own health in ways other than just picking up a prescription.