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Why is Forward Dispensing essential for your Pharmacy?

Written by Phil Grant . April 01, 2018
3 min read

Forward dispensing is not a new concept for community pharmacies. There are different approaches to it, but in brief it involves pharmacists being available to speak directly to customers (or patients) instead of dispensing prescriptions, and there is plenty of research and evidence to show it works. So why don’t more pharmacists use this approach?

Possibly because it involves change, which is not always easy or welcome. Firstly, this change may involve moving into an unfamiliar area or requiring a different approach, and secondly there is extra time and effort involved to make the change happen. But imagine the long-term benefits!

With the community pharmacy industry being squeezed mainly due to Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) reforms, it is essential that pharmacists make changes to make their pharmacies more profitable. We explain why and how forward dispensing should be introduced in your pharmacy.

So why should a pharmacist adopt the forward dispensing model?

The reason is you, the pharmacist!

Patients come in to a community pharmacy because they want to see you, and get advice from you because they trust you! Pharmacists are one of the most trusted professions in the world so you need to make this reputation count in your favour.

Patients cannot get advice from you if you are behind a counter, far removed from being able to talk to them.

Patients want to know what to take, how to take it, how often to take it, what to do to prevent them from getting this again - all this advice from you!

As much as your shop assistants are polite and helpful, your patients want to see a pharmacist. It’s like going to a hospital - patients want to see a doctor, not a nurse!

So if patients get advice from you, the pharmacist, then not only will they feel more assured in the advice they receive, they are also much more likely to become a regular customer.

It also gives you the opportunity to sell complementary products to patients that may assist them as well. If you suggest to a patient they should take something extra that will help them, they are much more likely to purchase it because you, the trusted pharmacist, recommended it.

How can you change to a forward dispensing operation?

Basically, you need to have a good dispense technician dispensing for you which then allows you to access patients directly. The time you spend one-on-one with patients means they not only receive what they feel is the best advice and information, but they also feel important. They are likely to leave feeling more satisfied and happy to come back.

And if your pharmacy is large enough you should also consider using a two pharmacist model, possibly called Forward Forward Dispensing. This is where one pharmacist is forward dispensing to patients as previously discussed, with another pharmacist on the shop floor greeting patients, directing them to products and giving advice, all which will contribute to satisfied customers and extra sales!

BLG Business Advisers work with many pharmacy clients, most who have been with us for a long time. We have a strong understanding of the pharmacy industry and provide real support for our clients to improve their businesses.

Find out about additional opportunities for your pharmacy. Get in touch with BLG online or call (02) 4229 2211 to organise an appointment

*Information was correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change*
Written by Phil Grant . April 01, 2018

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