The Effects of a Pandemic on a Community Pharmacy
The coronavirus pandemic has effected all facets of life, and the impact on the pharmacy is no exception. Because it is part of the medical world, pharmacies are seeing a particular impact from the pandemic. While some doctor’s clinics have shut down or converted to only telemedicine appointments, the pharmacy has remained open. Still, they feel the impact of the pandemic and here are a few ways pharmacies have changed as a result.
Lowering the amount of interaction. As mentioned, there are a number of doctor’s offices who have turned to mostly meeting with patients online or by telephone. Pharmacists have also offered similar services to patients who are hesitant to get out and about like they once did. According to The Pharmaceutical Journal, “Using remote consultations has given patients a choice about how they interact with pharmacists and allowed pharmacy teams to manage their workloads more effectively.” Certainly, the lessened amount of time involved with face-to-face interaction might allow pharmacists to help even more patients.
Keeping the pharmacy staffed. The spread of an illness can effect a pharmacy and create staffing issues if the pharmacist and technicians fall ill at any time. To this end, pharmacies must plan ahead and have back up if anyone is too ill to work and leaves a pharmacy short-staffed. It may also be necessary to cross train staff from other parts of the pharmacy in different roles during this time. Pharmacies may even want to keep past employees on call if staffing becomes limited.
Share information with customers. Since pharmacies remain open during a pandemic, safety measures must be constantly communicated to customers. First, adhere to your store warnings about safe distances and the kinds of services available (dispensing certain medications, vaccinations, etc.) should be prominently placed to keep patients informed. Additional information a pharmacy can provide includes details about the latest COVID-19 guidance from the government, directions on using remote services and advertising programs that lower drug costs like PriceMyPills (www.pricemypills.com). Keeping patients informed helps control any unnecessary interaction and maintains social distancing as well.
Even while we anticipate going back to a level of normalcy after the pandemic, many of the changes we’ve seen in healthcare are likely to remain. As we move towards more and more remote services across the board, this will likely be the case with pharmacies too. The pandemic has changed the way the world works, so expect the same in this industry. The ultimate goal is to provide customers with great services and get them the help they need quickly and efficiently. Some of the changes from the coronavirus will help do just that.