Pharmacies are busier than ever. Walgreens, the largest drug retailing chain in the US, is ranked in the top five retailers for visitors and foot traffic. The retail pharmacy is an increasingly popular format that offers ever-expanding service options.
Recently, I had occasion to visit my local CVS MinuteClinic for a flu shot, and found it very convenient. Previously, the Walgreens’ Take Care Clinic saved the day for me as a mom by providing a time-sensitive sports physical appointment for my child that the pediatrician’s office could not accommodate. As a consumer, I’ve appreciated the expanded services offered at the chain drug store pharmacy locations, and I’ve also found them the most accessible for filling my prescriptions.
Carol Kelly, CEO of Kelly Advocacy Outcomes and Health Policy and Management Adjunct Professor at George Washington University elaborates on the impact of generations, convenience, and the changing healthcare delivery model:
“Healthcare delivery expectations are changing rapidly, and retail healthcare with its convenience and accessibility are likely advantaged. The traditional model of making an appointment and coming during office hours for a low acuity condition doesn’t match the needs of today’s generations. Gen Z and Millennials live on their phones. I’ve been exploring this more in my class: Wellness on the Corner: Retail Healthcare.”
As service offerings expand, pharmacists need to juggle their time across many areas. One study found that full-time pharmacists now spent 49% of their time on medication dispensing, down from 55% in 2009. These pharmacists end up spending 21% of their time on patient-care services other than medication dispensing, including business and organizational management, education and research. The same study found that 48% of chain pharmacists offer health-screenings and 53% offer immunizations.
Along with these expanded services, the traditional pharmacist workload is already high. For example, one chain pharmacist says he typically fills 3,300 prescriptions per week and works fourteen-hour shifts, with few breaks. All of this adds up to the need for the pharmacist to deliver more work and still fill prescriptions with no errors.
Busy Pharmacists are a Big B2B Opportunity
From a B2B perspective, How can a pharmaceutical firm add value to these busy pharmacist customers? Research by Mauro Usability Science has found several tangible methods to do this. A few examples are:
- Design packaging and dosing information that objectively reduces their cognitive workload, errors and time
- Provide dispensing information that is rapidly and easily condensed and transferred to their in-house database
- Design devices that are clear and easy for patients to use. (an FDA requirement)
Regarding usability of devices, Charles Mauro, CEO of Mauro Usability Science, says,
“Pharmaceutical companies can now have their new drugs rejected by the FDA based on how usable and understandable the delivery device and labeling are for the intended patient population. The need for professional usability testing and human factors engineering has never been greater in this space. Thinking about the B2B customer, the pharmacist’s entire day is focused on workload balancing and error management, so that any delivery system or related content that increases time spent with patients makes their job harder.”
For B2B companies whose customers are only growing more and more busy, a significant opportunity lies in helping those customers do their jobs better, easier and with fewer errors. Pharmacies are a great example, but almost all B2B customers would benefit from being able to do more in less time.