In this article we’ve compiled some pro tips to Nutrient Depletion counseling with the help of Chris Cornelison, RPh. Chris is an independent pharmacy owner in Iuka, Mississippi and has built a nutrient depletion powerhouse in his store. Chris also helps hundreds of pharmacies see an exponential ROI by adopting his methodology and supplement line, Solutions Rx.
Besides the ability to differentiate your pharmacy from the majority of pharmacies that do not provide this personalized service, Nutrient Depletion Counseling increases your Star Ratings and lowers your DIR fees. How? A significant performance measurement across the majority of Part D plans is statin adherence. Patients taking statins often have poor adherence due to the side effects they experience. These side-effects can be alleviated by a CoQ10 supplement, so they will see an improvement in their quality of life, have greater adherence with their statin medication, and thus, improve your pharmacy star ratings and lower your pharmacy DIR fees.
If you are thinking about growing your Nutrient Depletion Counseling, here are 3 pro tips:
1. Use data to find opportunities
When you are filling a prescription, iMedicare has developed the ability to flag the patient that has active drugs that deplete them of certain nutrients, including CoQ10, Vitamin B12, Magnesium, Vitamin D, Folic Acid, and more.
You can then print a custom-tailored handout and attach it to the prescription so when the patient picks up that prescription, it prompts the clerk to get the pharmacist. However, even without iMedicare’s Nutrient Depletion addon, you can use the data in your pharmacy system. You can, for example, print out a list of your patients on a statin and have a sticky note added to the bag to prompt the Nutrient Depletion conversation.
Either way, using the data at your fingertips is crucial to ensure you have a process in place that targets and keeps track of each specific patient with a nutrient depletion opportunity.
2. Educate. Educate. Educate.
Supplements are a very different item than a toothbrush, or other front-end items. Waiting until a patient asks you for a supplement or having a generic handout to give to all patients that fit a certain profile does not work. What works is a personalized consultation. You are offering a solution.
Using iMedicare, you can flag the patient to be prompted at pick-up. Rather than a clerk handing them a generic handout, a pharmacist can ask them the following:
Pharmacist: How’s that new statin working out for you?
Patient: Oh, it’s great!
Pharmacist: You might experience some muscle weakness or aches when taking it.
Patient: Yeah, actually I have gotten some headaches after taking it.
Pharmacist: Yup, it’s a common thing with statins because they deplete your body of certain nutrients. Here’s a sheet I made for you that explains it a bit more and what supplements may help alleviate those aches.
Patient: What’s CoQ10?
Pharmacist: It’s a supplement that produces energy that your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. Why don’t you give it a shot for a month and see if you feel any better?
Patient: Will do. Thank you so much.
This example shows how a personalized consultation can be much more effective than a blanket approach. If the patient wants to study the information a bit more, it is important that the handout is customized to their specific drug profile and nutrients that deplete their body.
In the iMedicare Nutrient Depletion addon, each handout is customized for each patient, with the pharmacy’s logo and branding.
3. Premium Quality Pays Off
In deciding which CoQ10 to stock, or which Folic Acid, you may be tempted to go for the lowest cost. These low cost supplements can often be of low quality, and the patient sees little benefit. Moreover, patients can purchase cheap supplements from Wal-Mart or Amazon.
More than “seeing”, “feeling is believing.” It’s important to carry a high quality supplement line, and by doing so you can confidently inform your patients that they may not be able to find a supplement of the same quality elsewhere. All CoQ10’s are not created equal, so choosing one that is absorbed well is a really big deal. A patient can waste their money on a bad form of CoQ10 that won’t help alleviate the side effects.
The value of the Nutrition Consultation above is the personalized care. Hence, it is critical that you offer a high-quality supplement that will deliver noticeable results for the patient.
Chris from Solutions Rx, for example, uses his own line of supplements made specifically to offset the side effects in specific disease states, like: Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Cholesterol and Hormones. This approach lets patients take one vitamin instead of several; thus, improving compliance, lowering side effects, saving the patient money, and increasing pharmacy margins.
Additionally, some pharmacies find it very effective to include the supplement into the patient’s med-sync list, with a label just like it’s an ordinary prescription. The patient comes in, gets their prescriptions and supplements each month, and – bam! – perfect adherence across the board.