Independent Pharmacy vs Chain Pharmacy
Not all pharmacies are made equal. Many people are aware of large chain pharmacies such as Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart. But the hidden gems in your neighborhood are the community pharmacies. These pharmacies are usually smaller, locally owned, and seek to provide a more comprehensive form of healthcare beyond providing medications. If you find an independent pharmacy in your community, you may find that they better suit your needs when compared to large chain pharmacies.
5 Benefits of Community Pharmacies
1. Superior and Personal Customer Service
Excellent customer service is a staple for community pharmacies. Patients are not just a number in a system. Pharmacists and other pharmacy employees will know you by name and happily greet you when you arrive. It is easier to serve the community if we know and engage with the people in it. Community pharmacies want to be a part of your healthcare journey as opposed to only being a provider of prescriptions. Patients in general may experience improved health outcomes when pharmacists are more involved.
2. No Prescription Quotas
What happens behind the scenes matters for the quality of your pharmacy. Many big chains will implement “script quotas” in order to rate their employees. Metrics such as how many scripts are filled per hour, day, or week are used to evaluate employees. Community pharmacies will not do this. This practice places profits and numbers over the well-being of the customer. By removing any need for prescription quotas, we can focus on truly helping people and offering ourselves as a valuable resource in the healthcare journey.
3. Greater Involvement with the Patient
Did you know your pharmacist can help you with any questions relating to your medication? A slight stigma pharmacies have to battle is that they only exist to dispense drugs to patients. This is far from the truth! Pharmacists spend years studying pharmacology, which is the study of how drugs affect living organisms. They are a great resource of knowledge pertaining to the medication you are taking, more so than your doctor. Community pharmacists enjoy providing this additional knowledge to their patients and are more willing to go the extra mile. If you have trouble with a certain medication, your pharmacist can look into why that is and how to fix it. As mentioned, people generally experience greater health outcomes with increased involvement from their pharmacists.
4. Community Based
It is no surprise that community pharmacies are meant to serve the community. Their mission is health based and not solely for profit. A community pharmacist is more accessible and readily available to help their patients. Our pharmacy, ClearSpring Pharmacy, did not close once during the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. We were a resource for masks, tests, and eventually vaccines when they were developed. Community pharmacies also provide a host of health services to help their clients.
5. Provides Additional Services
Community pharmacies provide a comprehensive approach to healthcare. Not only do we provide medications with fantastic customer service, but we are capable of other services as well. Point-of-care services are a great help for checking on the health of our clients. It can be difficult to set appointments with your doctor, but your pharmacist may be available for pregnancy, cholesterol, heart, and a1c testing. Your pharmacist will be able to consult and develop a plan with you to address any concerns that arise.
Pharmacies are also a great place to get regular vaccinations such as the flu, shingles, and now COVID-19 shots. Additionally, community pharmacies will provide compression stocking fittings and consultations for supplements and over-the-counter medications.
Choose Your Community Pharmacy
At the end of the day, community pharmacies will prioritize the health of their clients. They will go the extra mile, treat you like a human, and treat their employees better so they are more capable of serving you. Our goal is to provide amazing healthcare and customer service. By getting your prescriptions from a community pharmacy, you will be supporting a small local business with a patient-first objective.