There’s no real pixie dust here, only a simple and highly effective tool for innovative compounding pharmacies.
Over 16 years ago, I was in the throes of opening my first pharmacy from scratch. I became interested in compounding after a PCCA training class while in pharmacy school. Before I opened my doors, I was very fortunate to spend a week in Palm Desert with a fantastic compounding pharmacist and with Dr. Michael Platt. I learned so much about hormones and other therapies that I couldn’t wait to bring these compound solutions to my community. It was a tough road, as many compounders experience.
My most challenging hurdles were physicians and prescribers that didn’t know how to prescribe for a compound. They knew the drug or the active ingredients and even how to use it in its traditional form. When the prescription changed to meet the patient’s needs, they just didn’t know how to prescribe it. During these early times, I learned some valuable lessons. Now, these are generalizations that I experienced; not all prescribers are this way.
- Doctors don’t like to ask for help.
- They also don’t want to appear they don’t know something they should.
- When they are in front of their staff or a patient, 1 & 2 are amplified.
I needed a way to get prescribing information in front of physicians that would enable them to know how to write for a compound. They needed to quickly find the dosage, strength, ingredients, and directions. Traditional medications have many pocket reference guides and electronic databases that help prescribers know what to write for. Nothing similar existed for compounds. I decided to fix that, and I created my compounding bookmarks.
These are called compounding bookmarks because they look like a giant bookmark, not because they mark something in a book. I figured out that a regular sheet of paper folded in half lengthwise fits nicely into the pocket of the traditional white coat that most practitioners wear. So these became my version of a pocket reference guide for compounds.
Tip: Discover which KPIs you should be tracking in your compounding pharmacy in our past blog Non-Retail Independent Pharmacy KPIs.
Critical Compounding Information on the Bookmark
The front of the bookmark had the active ingredient or list of ingredients. The name also included the strength of each API. The frontside list became our version of “your top compounds” or “what can you compound.” Compounders know we can do just about anything, but it only creates paralysis by analysis if you answer a prescriber with “anything!”. They would prefer a list to choose from. It helps them feel more confident and thus more likely to prescribe a compound for their patient.
The back of the bookmark included the instructions or SIG for the compound. Frequently for less known ingredients, it also had the indication. When you open the file, you will notice some brightly colored lines. These are not there to make it look pretty. Since this is a double-sided bookmark, the user will be flipping it from front to back. The colored lines help to match the correct information together visually.
The little bookmarks can hold quite a few formulas. Rather than cram as many as possible, I decided to create some white space and some advertising space. I used the bottom for messaging that would be impactful for the prescriber to know. I highlighted our free antibiotic program for dentists, and for OB/GYNs, I highlighted our fertility products and hormones kits. The bottom on the back was a standard message with information on the various dosage forms we could make, along with a big reminder of our free delivery service.
I didn’t want something this valuable to not have my pharmacy’s information readily available. It just so happens that a regular-sized business card fits perfectly in the space above the formulas. Having our business card right up top served several purposes.
- Prescribers saw our name every time they used a bookmark.
- Our address, phone, email, and other pertinent information were at their fingertips.
- Prescribers saw our name every time they used a bookmark. (yep, twice, it was that valuable)
Putting A Compounding Bookmark Together
All the templates I have used are available to download HERE. A template is an excel file with several versions, including veterinary, pediatric, OB/GYN, dentistry, and general. Once you open the file, you are free to edit it as you wish. Here are some considerations for editing each bookmark.
- What types of compounds are you interested in making?
- Which compounds do your prescribers want?
- Include less or more so it fits your needs.
- Ensure you check each dosing and recommendation.
- Edit the bottom portion to fit your pharmacy.
- Change up any of the colors.
After editing the file, you will want to print the file using minimum margins and centering the compounding table on the page. Next, fold the paper in half. Cut the top blank portion of the document above the title/headline; this will make room for your business card.
To complete the bookmark, you will need a laminating machine and sheets. Two bookmarks will fit into each laminating sheet. Assemble the folded bookmarks and business cards in the sheet and then run through the machine to seal them. You can separate the two bookmarks by cutting down the middle after they are cooled.
Sharing With Prescribers
There, you have created an awesome reference tool just for your pharmacy and for your prescribers. I recommend you make several batches of each one to have on hand. Start showing them to prescribers and getting their feedback. I always offered to make them a personalized one if they wanted that. Most just loved them the way they were. They became a cult classic of sorts. Several offices that my pharmacy worked with would call us when they hired a provider to ensure we delivered a set of bookmarks to them along with information about our pharmacy. These bookmarks built a lot of relationships and produced many thousands of prescriptions.
Download the templates by joining our free DiversifyRx Facebook group and searching for ‘bookmark’ in the files. I recommend Dr. Rakesh Patel and his Compounding Insight newsletter for other compounding resources. These bookmarks position you as the community expert. Read Part 3 of our How to Compete Against Amazon Pharmacy and Win series for more ways to accomplish this.