Point of care testing (POCT) is a perfect additional revenue stream for all retail pharmacies. Let’s take a look at POCT for 2022.
Boosting Cash-Based Revenues
POCT for pharmacies took a giant leap forward during the pandemic. With HHS’ massive scope expansion for pharmacists to help with COVID leading the way, many pharmacies are now ready for even more robust point of care testing revenue streams. There are opportunities and changes on the 2022 horizon.
While many pharmacies earned multiple six figures in 2021 with POCT, the outlook in 2022 could be even better. This potential boost comes from a continued need for COVID testing, which will provide a foundation from which diversification of other tests will flourish.
COVID Testing Update
In 2021, this type of test was the meat and potatoes for many pharmacies. Demand was high from curious patients, employers, the entertainment industry, and travelers. I recently learned of critical updates to testing requirements from the amazing and talented Dr. Kristin Tallent. You can watch the video HERE.
After the first of the year, the CDC requires that you test for COVID along with Flu. If you are currently performing CLIA waived testing, you will need to upgrade your testing options to a system that does multiple types of tests in a single specimen. There are many affordable options. Dr. Tallent recommends and uses Cepheid. Versea Diagnostics has The Status which will differentiate between COVID, Flu A/B antigens.
Additional COVID Opportunities In 2022
The federally mandated employer updates are still unknown as of this publishing date. However, some employers are offering testing or requiring testing on their own. While large, institutional employers are big enough to purchase an outsourced testing program, many medium to small businesses will be looking for help implementing their testing programs. You can be the solution for them.
Now that travel is increasing; other infections are on the rise. Being able to differentiate between COVID, Flu, RSV, or Strep will be critical to living our fullest lives. Travelers will be a large segment requiring testing. Many destinations require a negative test shortly before arrival. Partnering with travel agencies or marketing to travelers will pay off in dividends.
Beyond COVID POCT
There is a whole world of CLIA waived point of care testing available to pharmacies. COVID testing helped break the ice for many pharmacists. Pharmacy owners are left wondering what’s next. The desire to keep the cash-based revenue flowing is exceptionally high. While not every test will fit every pharmacy, there certainly is no shortage of options. My go-to place for seeing what is available is one of these two websites, CLIA Waived or the FDA. Here are some of my top recommendations by type for retail pharmacies in addition to COVID and Flu:
- Drug Testing
- Vitamin D
Expanding Your POCT
As you look to expand your point of care testing, you probably wonder which ones to add will be a value to your community and a good investment for you. I would recommend going about this decision process in a few ways.
- Survey your customers. Find out which tests they are interested in.
- Ask providers. Talk to local clinics and non-profits to see what common requests or gaps exist.
- Start small. Think small investment amounts and for small patients. Parents will pay to know more about their children.
Getting Started With POCT
There are options for every pharmacy, yes, even those in challenging states like Massachusetts. For most pharmacies, the steps are straightforward.
- Apply for a CLIA Waiver. Here is a helpful CMS document, or you can Google “CLIA waiver <your state>.”
- On the application, include as many tests as you might ever perform. You don’t need to be administering them right away.
- Get approved and pay your fee.
In rare cases, some states have made the process practically impossible. For you, I would recommend partnering with a company like Physician360. They have point of care tests backed by physician telehealth services. This arrangement can make serving your patients’ needs possible in an otherwise impossible environment.
Full Support For Getting Started
If you want the program but don’t have the capacity to do all the work, I highly recommend Dr. Kristin Tallent’s program. She will teach you what you need to know and give you all the tools and P&Ps to be compliant and successful. She has two options to help you. A full POCT program you can learn more about HERE and the policies and procedures binder you can see HERE.
Growing Your Point Of Care Testing
A robust point of care testing program brings lots of positives and some headaches. A majority of the problems occur in these areas:
- Appointment setting
- Prescreening questions
- Patient intake forms
- Consent forms
- Result communication
- State notification
Improving the efficiency of each of these steps is the key to maximizing your profit potential from POCT. Many pharmacy owners stitched together systems and workflow at the beginning of the pandemic to help with these steps. The finished result was helpful and a little clunky. There are now better turnkey solutions that work seamlessly and are affordable. I recommend DragonflyPHD. With their system, you can have a fully operational online platform that handles all of the steps above and many more. With DragonflyPHD, your headaches will go away, and you can focus on growing your point of care testing revenue rather than dealing with the operational difficulties. You can schedule a demo HERE.
Marketing Your Pharmacy’s Services
Marketing your point of care tests is key to success. You might focus on marketing to your current patients or go wide and focus on your community to drive new patients to you. Or you could go big and do both! A perfect case study is Dr. Tara Dominguez and her non-dispensing pharmacy, TD Pharmacy Services. After attending our Pharmacy Profit Summit in July, she jumped in with both feet on leveraging live video and other marketing strategies to grow her testing business. She is now thriving and taking the whole Oklahoma City area by storm.
Going Beyond Dispensing
To have a thriving pharmacy, you must diversify beyond dispending as a primary source of revenue. Many pharmacists are excited about clinical opportunities. The pandemic has given pharmacists the ability to test and then treat the patient all on their own. We must take advantage of our available opportunities, and point of care testing is a perfect opportunity.
Please reach out to DiversifyRx at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any help in diversifying your revenue streams.