Cardinal Health will today name three of the nation's most innovative community pharmacies as winners of its prestigious Independent Pharmacy Best Practices Competition, during the company's Retail Business Conference, one of the nation's largest gatherings of independent pharmacists.
The Best Practice Competition winners – family-owned pharmacies from Ohio, Tennessee and Texas – were selected for implementing exceptionally creative methods that demonstrate how independent pharmacies can adapt to, and improve patient care in, today's fast-changing healthcare environment. The annual Best Practice Competition winners are considered industry trendsetters whose successful, real-world models are often adopted by other community pharmacies across the country.
This year's winners excelled in three categories crucial to the success of hometown pharmacies: Wellness, Retail and Business practices.
Cardinal Health serves more than 8,000 independent pharmacies, nationwide, making it well positioned to identify the industry's most innovative best practices. The 2014 winners are being announced today at the company's annual Retail Business Conference, which attracted more than 8,000 attendees to Washington, D.C over four days. This year's winner's exemplified RBC's 2014 theme, "Leading Change," a focus designed to keep community pharmacists in the forefront of healthcare delivery.
The 2014 Best Practice winners will each direct a $3,500 donation – made by Cardinal Health – to the pharmacy school or pharmacy association of their choice.
This year's winners of the Cardinal Health Independent Pharmacy Best Practices Competition are:
Category: Business Advantage
Winner: Mac's Pharmacy in Knoxville, Tenn. The two pharmacies – run by Mac Wilhoit and his son, Mike – created a program that synchronizes and packages monthly prescription refills in ways that greatly improve the success of patients taking the right medicines at the right times. The MediSync™ and MediSync Plus™ programs have been especially beneficial to older customers and those on challenging, multi-medication regimens. In MediSync™, the pharmacy takes control of managing all of a patient's medicines, coordinating refills, prior authorizations and medication changes. A fixed day of the month is established for all refills. The patient's MediSync™ coordinator calls each patient before 'refill day' to check if the patient has any pills left – a surplus of pills is a warning sign that patient may not be taking medicines properly – and manages all the patient's medication needs. For a small fee, MediSync Plus™ uses Dispill® a multi-dose packaging solution that organizes a month's worth of pills in a single, sequential, color-coded packet. Result: Adherence -- a measure of patients taking medicines on schedule – nearly doubled. That meant the pharmacy filled six more refills per prescription, per year on average for each customer – keeping the business and the patient healthy at the same time.
Category: Wellness Advantage
Winner: Mingo Pharmacy in Mingo Junction, Ohio. Pharmacist Frank Vostatek went back to school to become a registered nurse, allowing him to practice healthcare in ways that brought medical services previously unavailable in his small town of 3,400. He may be the nation's first registered pharmacist who is also a registered nurse and a family nurse practitioner. Vostatek says these additional licenses allow him to tap his deep knowledge of pharmacy and "practice at the top of my license." He can administer all injections and provide comprehensive wellness and illness care to children and adults. In coordination with a physician, he can now also write prescriptions. Result: Mingo Pharmacy built a 1,300-square-foot pharmacy addition, adding four patient suites that provide a broad range of urgent care services. With nursing licenses, Vostatek can be reimbursed as a provider under Medicare rules and get reimbursed for bringing greater healthcare access to his severely underserved community.
Category: Retail Advantage
Winner: TLC Pharmacy in Mission, Texas. The pharmacy, near the border with Mexico, suffered a sharp downturn in its durable medical equipment (DME) business when Medicare implemented a competitive bidding policy that shifted sales to larger suppliers. TLC Pharmacy made a remarkable pivot in its retail business, shifting its focus to items that needed a clinician's touch and weren't easily subject to competitive bidding. After an in-depth look at its business – customer demographics, product mix, supplier requirements – TLC Pharmacy settled on five areas in which it had a comparative advantage, says Operations Manager Joe Vargas. One of its most successful strategies was focusing on fitting therapeutic shoes for diabetic patients, a service and product that demands skill and quality, well-suited to independent pharmacies. TLC Pharmacy also focused on incontinence supplies, reaching out to adult daycare businesses to find new patients. Result: TLC Pharmacy became more profitable, despite losing a big share of its DME business. It maintained its staffing level, focus on quality and role in the community.
The 2014 Independent Pharmacy Best Practice Guide: Good Medicine: Retail Independent Pharmacy Celebrating Success – published today to coincide with the announcement of this year's winners -- contains the winners' stories and more than a dozen additional best-practice ideas to help community pharmacies succeed, and is available at www.cardinalhealth.com/communitypharmacyadvantage
"As small businesses that often serve as their community's most accessible healthcare resource, independent pharmacists consistently prove that they are nimble and adaptable – continually finding new ways to provide high-quality care to patients while positioning their businesses to succeed," said Steve Lawrence, senior vice president of Retail Independent Sales for Cardinal Health. "We're thrilled to honor this year's Best Practice Competition winners at RBC 2014, and we congratulate them for their commitment to community pharmacy excellence."