Wednesday, March 22, 2017

“Excuse me, where is the orange juice?”

Last summer, I had the opportunity to work in a supermarket-pharmacy. Originally, I was concerned that there might be a “Supermarket-first-Pharmacy-second” mindset that would undervalue a pharmacist’s role. I thought that a dedicated pharmacy would be a more appropriate environment to practice in. However, I quickly learned that supermarket-pharmacies can be a mutually beneficial business model that allows pharmacists more opportunities to promote health and wellness.

One advantage of supermarket pharmacies is the increased foot traffic. The average adult may go grocery shopping 1-2 times a week whereas visits to a pharmacy are likely less frequent. Thus, supermarket pharmacies allow pharmacists to interact with their patients more frequently. This would facilitate easier follow-ups and long term relationship with patients.

Supermarket-pharmacies are also unique positioned for collaboration. Some supermarkets employ registered dieticians to help consumers make healthy food choices. Consequently, pharmacists who identify patients with dietary restrictions (ie: Diabetes, hypertension) may benefit from referrals to on-site dieticians. This partnership between pharmacists and dieticians can greatly improve patient outcome.

Patients are also tolerate wait times more because they can do grocery shopping while their medication is prepared. 

The only disadvantage is that there may be some role confusion. If you wander around the supermarket with a name tag, consumers may ask you where certain food items are!
Overall, supermarket pharmacies can be an interesting environment to work in. By embracing the setting, pharmacists can actually improve the pharmaceutical services they provide to the public.