If you are looking for sustainable pharmacy growth, plastic surgeons can be a great way to do it.
An excellent pharmacy growth strategy is to go after underserved niches. Patient groups such as people with diabetes or chronically ill will often have many pharmacies vying for their business. Those niches get overcrowded very quickly. This concept is called finding your blue ocean in the business marketing world, based on the best-selling book Blue Ocean Strategy.
Here is a short summary. Saturated markets are called a red ocean because so many sharks go after the same fish in the same area that the waters turn red from the blood. Finding a blue ocean means you are fishing in a new place (aka niche) where there aren’t as many sharks, so the water stays blue. My favorite way of saying this is the riches are in the niches.
So Where Do Plastic Surgeons Fit In?
Now that most of the country is coming out of the pandemic, many elective procedures are returning to normal frequency levels. Plastic surgeons have a lot of needs for prescription medications for their patients.
- Rx and OTC
- Compression items
- Non-surgical related prescriptions
- Sterile Compounding
- Non-sterile Compounding
In addition to their needs for medications, they also appreciate a high level of service and want their patients’ experience to be top-notch as well. Independent pharmacies are best suited to fulfill this role.
How You Can Customize Your Service Offerings
I don’t know about plastic surgeons in your area, but our surgeons had a bit of an ego in California. They needed custom—a custom combination of products for various procedures, a custom dosing schedule, a custom set of pre and post-surgery instructions, everything. Our surgeons were also very particular about which brands their patients used, whether it was an OTC, a medical supply, or an Rx. My pharmacy could easily get exactly what they wanted for their patients to get their exact treatment plan. The outcome of plastic surgery procedures is very high stakes. By catering to each surgeon’s needs, I quickly achieved substantial pharmacy growth with mostly cash-based revenue.
Billing Options To Help Your Pharmacy Grow
Just as each doctor’s treatment plan is customized, so are their billing preferences. I have found that many surgeons want to control the entire process that their patients experience. This control means they want to handle all of the financial transactions as well. Many practices prefer the patient to pay an all-in-one price to their office. By doing this, the patient has a predictable experience at the pharmacy. They get exactly what they need with zero hassle. My arrangement with my surgeons was reasonably straightforward. We totaled up everything their patients received for the first two weeks of the month and then sent them the invoice due by the end of the month. This billing methodology created a nice cash flow for the pharmacy.
Another option for billing was for the surgeon to pre-negotiate the price with the pharmacy. This option also created a predictable experience for the patient at the pharmacy. Each patient knew beforehand exactly what they would be expected to pay. They also didn’t have to go around town or try to find specific items their surgeon recommends. Patients could pick up everything at their local independent pharmacy. Your surgeons may prefer something completely different. I would recommend you aim for something that is simplistic and improves the patients’ experience with the surgeon and the pharmacy.
What Kinds Of Things Do Surgeons Recommend?
While it is almost certain your surgeons will have their preferences, here are common items that our plastics preferred.
- Bromelain – OTC to help with bruising and healing
- Sinecch – homeopathic therapy to speed recovery and reduce bruising (this works amazingly well)
- Compression garments – this helps each procedure’s outcome to be the best
- Scar Gels – to reduce the appearance of scars after incision healing
- Rx Items – prescriptions for anxiety, sleep, pain, muscle spasms, antibiotics
- Medical Tape – for post-surgery care
- Docusate – to prevent constipation
For each surgeon, I would meet with them to find out their most common procedures and what they preferred each patient take based on their specific surgery. In the beginning, with my first surgeons, I had to let them lead the way and make all the recommendations. Once I worked with a few, I started developing suggestions and becoming a more valuable resource for all surgeons.
Creating The “Kit” To Help Your Pharmacy Grow
To make it easier on the doctors’ staff and my own, I created the concept of kits for each doctor. By doing kits, a doctor’s office could call in Dr. Shah Kit A, and everybody knew exactly what that was. The medical assistant didn’t have to say the ten different product names, sigs, quantity, and everything else. We had the master list of each doctor’s kit in the pharmacy, so we knew what needed to be given to each patient. This process streamlined our operations in massive ways.
How To Get Started
Soliciting plastic surgeons isn’t the easiest thing to do. Did I mention they often have an ego? The best way to get to the surgeon is to talk about their patient’s experience. All of them care significantly about that common factor. Here are some opening questions. It is also a good idea to have materials about your pharmacy geared specifically towards plastics.
- Do you have a trusted local pharmacy your patients’ love?
- Would you like to improve your patient’s experience at the pharmacy?
- Do you have particular products you want your patients to use?
- Are you interested in streamlining a process for all of your and your patient’s pharmacy needs?
It is easier to get new surgeons’ business once you have some experience in this world. If this is an area you would like to go after to improve your pharmacy growth, start talking to these practices. Also, remember that many OB/GYNs are also surgeons for both internal and cosmetic procedures. You will find that you can take these concepts from plastics and apply them to other surgeon types, such as dental surgeons or orthopedics.
Additional Benefits To Your Pharmacy
Besides the influx of cash revenue, you also get the benefit of stronger pharmacy growth. When these patients come in for their cosmetic surgery prescriptions, it is the perfect time to convert them to regular patients. You should have a patient conversion process, asking them what other medications they take to screen for drug interactions. Invite them to get their family’s regular prescriptions filled at your pharmacy. Let them know about your awesome services or referral program if you have one. You want to make sure to take advantage of the traffic coming into your pharmacy.