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Looking to the Future of Retail Pharmacy: the Partner Healthcare Consumers are Looking For

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Looking to the Future of Retail Pharmacy: the Partner Healthcare Consumers are Looking For

As 2018 comes to a close, many people reflect back on the year and try to anticipate trends moving forward. This year’s Drug Store News Industry Issues event revealed a clear trend in the retail industry: healthcare consumers are at the center of the healthcare universe, and retailers must meet them there as partners, or will be displaced. To succeed, players across the healthcare continuum must work together to meet consumer demand effectively, and in a way that can scale into digital channels. Easy, right?

As the leader of higi’s Retail Solutions team, I had the honor of participating on a panel about the Value of Pharmacy. As industry insiders, we all know that pharmacists must play a vital role in the health of our populations. We know that well at higi, and place tremendous value on the role of the retail pharmacist in supporting the health of shoppers. It’s why higi’s strategy includes the presence of higi stations in retail pharmacy – right where pharmacists interact with patients everyday, so as to play a role complementary to theirs.

But as industry insiders, we also see that the value of pharmacists is still developing in the mind of the consumer. Words like “trust” and “available” are frequently associated with pharmacists, but so are “pill counting” and “roadblock.”

As the clinical professional who engages with consumers at the retail pharmacy, their most commonly visited point of care, pharmacists must raise their hand, create awareness and ensure healthcare consumers understand what they can do for consumers, and how that can play into a more connected ecosystem of care, supported by the right technology.

With a consumer-centric model in mind, higi engages across retail banners about the need to bring payers, providers and even community resources into the conversation – as local partners focused on improving health by maximizing the role retail pharmacists and pharmacies play in educating and connecting consumers to wellness and care resources. Retail can no longer deliver care in a silo, but must become part of a connected, consumer-centric ecosystem at the community level, that supports the healthcare consumer as one of many partners in health.