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Wanted on social media: pharmacists

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With Americans agog over social media, who do you think they’d like to hear more from? Celebrities? Pro athletes? Presidents? (Actually, we’ve got enough of that one.) For many, it’s pharmacists.

The PrescribeWellness 2017 Pharmacy Social Media Survey found that 42% of the 1,000-plus U.S. adults polled want their pharmacist to be more active on social media. Forty-eight percent already follow their pharmacist on social media, while 78% would consider doing so.

In terms of respondents’ preferred social channels for interacting with pharmacists, the PrescribeWellness survey broke it down as follows: 47% for Facebook, 15% for Twitter and 12% for Instagram. Thirty-four percent expressed interested in their pharmacist’s website, and 25% would like an email newsletter.

Nearly all of those polled (92%) would listen to pharmacist recommendations about health education or advice on social media, while 54% said they’d be more likely to purchase or use a new product pharmacists’ recommended on social media.

They cited the chief benefits of following their pharmacist on social media as deals and promotions (58%), new offerings or services (39%), health care news (37%), news and tips about health and wellness (37%) and seasonal vaccine reminders (31%).

“These survey findings confirm that consumers would like to bring their relationship with their community pharmacist outside of the pharmacy setting and think of them as a valuable ally in their health and wellness,” according to Al Babbington, CEO of PrescribeWellness, whose blog postings include social media advice for pharmacies and pharmacists. “As pharmacies continue to go ‘beyond the fill,’ social media is another tool they can use to connect with current — and prospective — patients by offering useful advice, vaccination reminders, promotions and other preventive care messages.”

Meanwhile, digital channels are having more influence for those looking for a pharmacy. The PrescribeWellness poll revealed that more Americans look to Google (37%) than word-of-mouth (34%) in finding a pharmacy, while 18% said they look to Facebook for help.

PrescribeWellness said 62% of Americans use their pharmacy’s website. The online services they use the most are refill requests (61%), online orders (47%), medication reminders (29%), medication lists (28%), online appointments (20%) and messages from pharmacists (19%).

Also, 40% of respondents said their pharmacy has a mobile app, and they use it to order refills (48%), get refill reminders (38%) and place orders (38%).

“Technology has become an integral part of a pharmacy’s ability to service its customers,” Babbington added.


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