Pharmacist Speaker Series

Part
01
of two
Part
01

Pharmacist Speaker series, Part 1

Potential topics for a pharmacist speaker series include vaccination marketing tactics (including language used to educate patients), vaccine cost and perception barriers, vaccine delivery as a revenue stream and to fill the primary care gap, and millennial reluctance to get flu vaccinations.

To identify some current topics of concern for pharmacists, I searched for polls or surveys conducted among pharmacists, as well as consulting top pharmacy information sources, such as Pharmacy Times, US Pharmacist, American Pharmacists Association, and Pharmacy Today. I also checked the topics offered at several pharmacy conferences. I specifically searched for the suggested topics, but I did not find a lot regarding diabetes patients and immunizations. There were quite a few references to pharmacies offering diabetes training or education classes, and these articles sometimes referenced the importance of understanding a patient's immunization history, but they did not particularly focus on why these patients are more in need of vaccinations than other patients. Ultimately, I chose the topics that I encountered most often in the sources outlined above.

MARKETING TACTICS FOR PROMOTING VACCINATIONS

Marketing of vaccinations, especially the flu shot, is clearly an area of concern for independent or community pharmacists. Numerous articles in pharmacy sources focus on helping these pharmacists promote vaccines or immunizations, suggesting a variety of marketing tactics, such as gift cards for flu shots, on-site workplace clinics, educational videos, signage and printed materials, and more. Patient education was a common challenge cited by pharmacists in a recent survey. The language used by pharmacists can promote vaccinations.

BATTLING COST BARRIERS

Vaccinations can be cost-prohibitive to many patients, making them reluctant to indulge in this potentially life-saving preventative measure. Changing the perceptions around vaccinations and helping patients see the benefits, despite costs, is a consistent challenge for pharmacists. On the pharmacy side, issues related to vaccination reimbursement and insurance coverage were cited as a top concern among surveyed pharmacists.

BATTLING PERCEPTION BARRIERS

The anti-vaccination movement and perceptions around the effectiveness of vaccinations are an ever-present obstacle for pharmacies delivering vaccines. Pharmacists are in need of tools to combat the misperceptions related to vaccine safety and effectiveness that have been driven by media attention. The reintroduction of diseases such as measles is driving the push to combat the anti-vaccination movement among pharmacists and doctors.

VACCINE DELIVERY AS REVENUE STREAM and FILLING THE PRIMARY CARE GAP

Independent pharmacies are becoming more important in filling the primary care gap in the US. Providing access to medication information, vaccinations, and health insurance guidance can be ways pharmacies can reach patients without easy access to healthcare. In addition, offering vaccines at pharmacies can be a significant revenue driver for pharmacies, with nearly three-quarters of community pharmacies offering vaccines now. Pharmacies can set themselves up as a wellness destination, making them an indispensable part of the healthcare value chain. So, this topic can really be considered two topics, as it relates to pharmacies improving their revenue stream and repositioning themselves as a primary source of healthcare support.

MILLENNIAL RELUCTANCE TO GET A FLU SHOT

Millennials are a particularly reluctant group when it comes to vaccinations. About 25% of millennials avoid getting a flu shot because they find it cost prohibitive. Others cite their strong immune systems or lack of confidence in the value of getting the shot. As millennials are set to become the largest demographic in the US, overtaking baby boomers by 2019, they are a sought-after market for vaccinations.

CONCLUSION

To wrap up, vaccination-related topics that are currently relevant for independent pharmacists include marketing tactics, battling cost and perception barriers, filling in the primary care gap and driving revenue through vaccinations, and addressing millennial reluctance around flu shots.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

Pharmacist Speaker series, Part 2

Independent pharmacists have a key role to play in the overall health of the communities they serve, especially those pharmacists who provide vaccinations for their clients. We identified a number of additional potential topics for conference speakers in the area of vaccination and vaccination programs. This suggested topic list is an addendum to a previous list, in which other topics are explored.

To identify these potential topics, we reviewed medical journals, study findings, and blog articles related to vaccination and pharmacy vaccination programs. This list focuses on business concerns around vaccination programs, as well as returning to patient education and the value of access to vaccines and vaccination information from community pharmacies. These broad topics are prevalent in pharmacists' discussions about vaccines, so we assume that viewing them through various lenses will be of interest to pharmacists attending industry conferences.

BUSINESS ISSUES IN VACCINATION PROGRAMS
This session would examine the regulatory environment, logistics, and marketing needs of an independent pharmacy attempting to begin delivering vaccinations. A speaker on this topic could guide conference attendees through the process of setting up a program in their own pharmacies. Smaller pharmacies with reservations about developing such a program could benefit from this information and an opportunity to talk about concerns and strategies.

KEEPING ADULTS COMING BACK FOR VACCINATIONS
Much debate and energy is focused on childhood vaccinations, but the rate of vaccine-preventable deaths among adults is also worrisome. Independent pharmacies could play a role in providing accessible vaccination services to adults, and may need assistance in developing communications strategies for this demographic.

ATTITUDINAL BARRIERS TO HPV VACCINATION
A 2017 study of parents of adolescents in Alabama revealed that two significant factors in parents' refusal to have their children vaccinated for HPV were lack of education about the vaccine, and concern that community pharmacists providing the vaccine would not be well-trained enough to safely administer it. This suggests that pharmacists have a challenge to communicate with parents about both the safety of the vaccine in general and the training and qualifications of pharmacists providing it. A speaker could address communication, education, and marketing strategies for overcoming these barriers.

COMMUNITY PHARMACY AND PUBLIC HEALTH
Pharmacists often act as a primary source of health care and health information, especially in communities with reduced access to doctor and hospital services. A speaker on this topic could discuss the positive effect of pharmacists on public health outcomes. Alternately, a speaker in this area could address the possibilities of expanding the range of public health-focused services that community pharmacies could legally provide, citing previous success in areas like flu prevention.

WHY DOESN'T YOUR PHARMACY VACCINATE?
A 2016 study of independent pharmacies in Michigan identified a number of common reasons for pharmacies not to have a vaccination program. These included lack of perceived patient demand, shortage of staff, lack of appropriate space in the pharmacy, and a belief that vaccine administration would not be a profitable enough service. A speaker on this topic could address these common concerns about vaccine programs, and help participants to identify their own solutions.

CONCLUSION
Each of these topics has generated discussion or study in medical journals and websites of interest to the pharmacy community. All of these topics are potentially of interest to pharmacists, and the first and last suggested topic may also be of interest to pharmacy owners.
Sources
Sources

From Part 01