At its Retail Business Conference (RBC) here, Cardinal Health Inc. introduced "Independent Pharmacy Best Practices 2012: Ideas as Original As You Are," a special publication that showcases 16 community pharmacy programs that improve patient care and drive business results.

Cardinal Health, Retail Business Conference, RBC 2012, Independent Pharmacy Best Practices 2012: Ideas as Original As You Are, pharmacy best practices, Steve Lawrence, retail pharmacy, community pharmacy, pharmacy programs, Thrift Drugs, Marty Bigner, Free Vitamin Club, Hobbs Pharmacy, Meds Made Easy, Mark Hobbs, Jessica Beal, Reddish Pharmacy, Teacher Immunization Program, Kevin Reddish

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Cardinal Health spotlights pharmacy best practices

July 16th, 2012

ORLANDO, Fla. – At its Retail Business Conference (RBC) here, Cardinal Health Inc. introduced "Independent Pharmacy Best Practices 2012: Ideas as Original As You Are," a special publication that showcases 16 community pharmacy programs that improve patient care and drive business results.

Cardinal said Monday that it asked its independent pharmacy salesforce to nominate best practices from their customers, and then the pharmaceutical distributor's retail pharmacy experts chose 16 stories to be highlighted in the inaugural issue of "Independent Pharmacy Best Practices" and invited members of its National Retail Advisory Board — comprised of top independent pharmacists nationwide — to pick three finalists.

At the RBC 2012 Customer General Session, attendees saw videos of the three finalists and were invited to "text to vote" for the most innovative best practice. The winner of the text-to-vote competition was Marty Bigner of Thrift Drugs in McComb, Miss. In Bigner's honor, Cardinal will donate $10,000 to the organization of his choice.

The three pharmacies and their programs named as finalists in the best practices text-to-vote competition were the following:

• Thrift Drugs (McComb, Miss.) — Free Vitamin Club, Marty Bigner. Thrift Drugs implemented a Free Vitamin Club for children. Bigner, the pharmacy's owner, orders children's chewable vitamins with a Thrift Drugs private label, at a cost of less than 90 cents each. He invites members of his community to sign up children, ages 2 to 12, to participate in the Free Vitamin Club and promotes the program through local radio and print ads, his storefront signs, flyers and at local health fairs.

In the program's first year, nearly 290 children were enrolled in the program, representing more than 100 families – half of which hadn't visited Thrift Drugs before. According to Cardinal, Bigner sees the program as a great, low-cost way to develop patient relationships and patient loyalty.

• Hobbs Pharmacy (Merritt Island, Fla.) — Synchronizing Refills: Meds Made Easy, Mark Hobbs and Jessica Beal. Hobbs Pharmacy serves a large number of "high prescription volume" patients, who take 15 to 20 prescription medications and needed to call or visit Hobbs Pharmacy almost daily, which was time-consuming for both the patients and pharmacy staff. That led Hobbs Pharmacy to implement a synchronized refill program in 2011. Pharmacy staff synchronize each patient's prescriptions and their corresponding refill timelines and then work with prescribing doctors to get all medications on a synchronized refill schedule so patients only need to visit the pharmacy once or twice per month.

Dubbed Meds Made Easy, the program enables Hobbs Pharmacy to better identify adherence issues and improve its collaboration with doctors, Cardinal reported. Hobbs Pharmacy now gets fewer patient phone calls, makes fewer patient deliveries and has a much more predictable inventory. The program also has freed up staff time to focus on other patient care initiatives and has generated at least 25 new patients, each of whom uses 12 to 15 prescriptions per month. Jessica Beal, pharmacist at Hobbs Pharmacy, said the program is especially appreciated by the "sandwich generation" of middle-aged adults who serve as caretakers for their parents and their children because it helps them manage their parents' medications much more efficiently.

• Reddish Pharmacy (Nampa, Idaho) — Teacher Immunization Program, Kevin Reddish. After becoming certified to offer immunizations, Kevin Reddish, owner of Reddish Pharmacy, began marketing his new flu vaccine services to local senior centers. Yet the new services took off when he worked with the leaders of his local school system to start offering teacher flu clinics at local schools. In the first month-and-a-half, Reddish had booked 25 flu vaccine clinics at local schools, and in the first year of the program, he boosted his vaccine business from 200 to more than 850 immunizations.

Also via the program, Reddish earned teachers' prescription business. He encouraged teachers to sign up for his auto-refill program and offered to deliver teachers' prescriptions directly to them at school, at no additional fee. His auto-refill program now has 250 patients enrolled, many of whom are teachers. Reddish now plans to market other pharmacy services to teachers at future flu clinics and to expand the Teacher Immunization Program to smaller outlying schools. Reddish said the program shows one way that pharmacists can improve community health while building their business.

"We work every day with forward-thinking pharmacists who are constantly finding new ways to build stronger, more resilient businesses and improve the quality of care they deliver to patients," Steve Lawrence, senior vice president of independent sales for Cardinal Health, said in a statement. "We're thrilled to share some of these best practices at RBC 2012, and we congratulate this year's honorees and finalists for their commitment to community pharmacy excellence."

Cardinal said customers can access an electronic version of the publication via the company's secure customer portal and on its public website.