3 Trends Retail Pharmacy Shouldn’t Ignore

Posted by in Customer experience, Pharmacy

At cocktail parties and networking events around the country health and healthcare are replacing real estate as the main topic of conversation. As society shifts its focus from relying on health care practitioners (HCPs) to treat disease to taking individual responsibility for prevention and wellness, this presents some interesting and sustainable patient care opportunities for retail Pharmacists.

Here are three trends emerging in the public’s healthcare consciousness that are linked and retail Pharmacists shouldn’t ignore:

1. Nutrition
2. Wearables
3. Millennials

Drug Induced Nutritional Deficiency

Today, people are more cognizant of two things that go into their bodies; food and medication. And while pharmaceuticals have lifesaving benefits, many over-the-counter and prescription medications can interfere with the body’s ability to digest, absorb, synthesize, or make use of certain nutrients, leading to nutrient deficiency-related side effects. It’s virtually impossible for physicians, especially general practitioners, to know all possible side effects of all the medications prescribed. Therefore, this puts Pharmacists in a unique position as the most accessible HCP that can advise patients on diet, nutrition, supplements and medication. This represents huge value to your patients and customers.

Wearble Health Technolgies

At the recent Interface Digital Health Summit some cool “wearable” health technologies were unveiled and presented. The technologies for smartphones and wearable monitors in use today and coming soon indicate we are on the verge of a major disruption in consumer driven healthcare. People are and will be monitoring their own health data with wearable health technologies which in the near future will be connected to their electronic health record.

Recently, Apple Inc. has been building a team of senior medical technology executives offering a hint of what they may be planning for its widely expected Apple Watch (iWatch) and other wearable technology. Industry insiders say the move telegraphs a vision of monitoring everything from blood-sugar levels to nutrition, beyond the fitness-oriented devices now on the market. Soon your patients and customers will be coming into your Pharmacy with their own health data, some of it in real time. They will want help making sense of it all and what to do with the information. Prepare now to provide direction on real time health data to help people with goals and a plan to achieve them. More value to patients and customers.

Millennials and Boomers

In conversation with an executive from Nielsen Canada, he told me that 28% of the Canadian population are “Boomers” and that “Millennials” represent 27% of the population. Further he mentioned that while Boomers still represent the spending power in most retail segments; within 5 years Millennials spend will double and they will replace Boomers as the “captains of consumerism”. This is an interesting trend since Pharmacy is mostly focused on Boomers as the demographic to serve as we inevitably will incur health problems. However, he also pointed out and rightly so; the Boomer demographic is shrinking due to our eventual mortality.

Coincidently, the next week I read a recent study by Allidura Consumer, GSW and Harris Poll. The Worried Well report finds that adult millennials care about health as much as boomers. Millennials are the first generation to grow up with “doctor Google” at their fingertips. According to Derek Flanzraich, CEO and Founder of Greatist.com, a popular health and wellness website for millennials; “There’s never been more health information for millennials to find, so it only makes sense that it’s never been more difficult for them to properly screen, analyze and act on the right data.” This is supported by survey data that finds 37% of millennials sometimes self-diagnose with health problems that they don’t have. Perpetuating this “search and stress” cycle, 44% say that viewing health information online causes them to worry about their health.

Boomers are just as likely as millennials to self-diagnose visiting “doctor Google” which I believe is a positive trend, even though they may not be getting the most accurate up-to-date information. At the very least it indicates they are interested in prevention and health & wellness.

All three trends are inextricably linked. Boomers and Millennials are interested in taking control of their own health and both groups are interested in technology; albeit one group as immigrants and the other as natives to technology. So, for Pharmacists to be successful in reaching this audience, they must think about health and wellness the same way, and create solutions that inspire Boomers and Millennials to experience health at any given moment and throughout all aspects of their lives.

Pharmacy and Pharmacists are well positioned in the community to help both demographic groups (over 50% of the Canadian population) to set, achieve and maintain their health goals.

Will you be ready for the empowered health consumer?

Gerry Spitzner

I help Pharmacists, Doctors and healthcare practitioners develop winning business and practice management strategies so they can focus on patient-centered care. Gerry Spitzner is the principal business consultant of pharmacySOS.ca, a Vancouver-based business management consultancy. For more information: http://pharmacysos.ca/