by David Pope, PharmD, CDE, Chief Innovation Officer
With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout ramping up right as immunization season would normally be ending, the concept of an immunization season is a thing of the past.
The government continues to reinforce the critical role that pharmacy will play in COVID-19 vaccine administration. As a result, many patients will be leveraging the pharmacy setting for the very first time to receive an immunization. Delivering a great immunization experience for patients will position your pharmacy a preferred destination for preventative and primary care, even after the pandemic.
So how can you make your immunization experience awesome?
Outside the four walls
Let’s start with what happens when your patients are not inside your pharmacy. Do you have a plan in place to keep patients updated with your COVID-19 vaccine availability? As the rollout ebbs and flows, how can your patients check to see if you have the vaccine in stock at any given time?
Just like your traditional brick-and-mortar storefront, it’s important to consider your virtual storefront in your immunization planning. Patients will choose to interact with your pharmacy in a variety of different ways depending on a variety of different factors including age, technology preferences and location.
Make sure your phone system, mobile app, website and text messaging service stay up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccine availability. Good technology can help you do this all in one place, reducing the administrative burden of managing a bunch of different systems during a time when it’s critical to provide ongoing patient communications updates.
Assuming you follow the recommendations above, your patient has had a great digital experience outside the pharmacy. They come into the store ready and excited to receive the vaccine…and you hand them a clipboard and pen. Womp, womp.
Immunizations (and other clinical services, for that matter) are an area where pharmacy often falls back on a paper-based workflow. The COVID-driven reluctance to touch a physical clipboard and pen aside, today’s patients expect a digital experience. You don’t want patients to have a great digital experience outside the pharmacy, then feel like they’ve stepped back in time when they come inside your store. Your patient consent form can and should be electronic. This is a small but important detail in the overall immunization experience.
Bringing it all together
A seamless digital experience for patients throughout the entire immunization process is essential to patient satisfaction. By creating a great experience for your patients both inside and outside the store, you can build strategic, long-term relationships that result in loyal patients.
David Pope, PharmD, CDE Chief Innovation Officer
In his role as chief innovation officer, David Pope, PharmD, CDE, leads OmniSYS’s efforts to develop innovative solutions that support the evolving role of pharmacy in healthcare delivery. Dr. Pope is a nationally-recognized expert in medical informatics and clinical services in the pharmacy space, and has served as an advisor for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as well as multiple Fortune 500 healthcare-related organizations.