Sep 16 2021

Reliance on Pharmacies for Vaccination and other Services Reaches All-time High

If there was ever any doubt, findings from a new national survey seem to validate the role of pharmacists in providing patient services that go beyond traditional dispensing.

According to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Pharmacy Study, for the first time, more than half of pharmacy customers said they had used health and wellness services during the past year. The survey also found that patients who made use of pharmacy-offered services tended to spend more while in the pharmacy, and had a higher sense of customer satisfaction than patients who did not receive services.

These findings are significant because, as the survey sponsor notes, they indicate broad acceptance of the pharmacy as an acceptable venue for receiving  health services. "It was not long ago that the major pharmacy chains, healthcare providers, health plans and consumers were all asking themselves whether or not people would ever feel comfortable receiving treatment in a retail setting," said James Beem, managing director of healthcare intelligence at J.D. Power.

"While we have been seeing consumer satisfaction with health services grow steadily, this year marks a significant turning point in which most customers are now using these services," Beem added. "The fact that this happened during a pandemic should send a clear signal that retail pharmacies are transforming health and wellness services in America."

Key survey findings include:

  • Majority of pharmacy customers (51 percent) say they've used health and wellness services at their pharmacy within the past 12 months. This figure is up from 48 percent in 2020 and 43 percent in 2019. The most frequently used services are vaccinations and routine screenings.
  • Higher satisfaction and spend. Customers who rely on their pharmacy for health services spend an average $5.00 more while in the pharmacy than customers who do not utilize these services. Overall satisfaction increased significantly among customers who utilized health and wellness services.
  • Mobile apps have become "essential." According to the survey analysis, as pharmacies take on a larger role in offering patient services, mobile app integration has become increasingly important. The survey found 26 percent of brick-and-mortar pharmacy customers, and 27 percent of online pharmacy customers had accessed their pharmacy's mobile app.

Last year's J.D. Power survey marks the 13th consecutive year that pharmacy patients have been asked for input on specific customer service-related issues. This year's survey was based on responses from almost 13,000 patients who had filled a prescription in the three months prior to the survey period of September 2020 through May 2021.

These findings are consistent with results of the 2020 NCPA Digest, sponsored by Cardinal Health, which provides a snapshot of trends among the nation's community pharmacies. Among the Digest's findings, rates of patient care and wellness services at local pharmacies include:

  • Medication therapy management:        79 percent.
  • Compounding:                                          49 percent.
  • Durable medical goods:                          53 percent.
  • Flu immunizations:                                  77 percent.
  • Non-flu immunizations:                           73 percent.
  • Blood pressure monitoring:                    54 percent.
  • Diabetes training:                                     30 percent.
  • Smoking cessation:                                 22 percent.

As patients increasingly look to their pharmacies for health and wellness services, pharmacies can count on technology solutions including PrimeRx™ to manage critical processes and add system efficiency. With the PrimeRx™ management system, pharmacies can easily update and retain patient histories, manage business records, satisfy all compliance and reporting requirements, and generate reports that detail precise services offered to patients. In addition, PrimeRx™ users can access the FillMyRefills™ app, which allows patients anytime/anywhere access to their pharmacy accounts, including the ability to seamlessly submit refill requests.

The J.D. Power survey documents what most pharmacies have understood for some time: That pharmacies have a vital role in delivering services, and pharmacists have never been more important members of patients' health-care teams.

Learn more about how PrimeRx™ helps pharmacies manage health-and-wellness patient services by clicking here.