Why Pharmacy Consulting

why pharmacy consultingWhy do I need to hire a pharmacy consulting firm? When should I consider hiring a pharmacy consulting firm? Both are valid questions that every pharmacy owner and manager should be consistently asking themselves. After discussing some tips on how to choose and interview pharmacy consultants in order to select the best fit for your business needs, let’s look at the why and when aspects in depth.

Why Hire A Pharmacy Consulting Firm?

To answer this question, we need to look at three different scenarios as our examples:
1. Larger business operations
2. Starting up a new pharmacy business
3. Operating an established independent pharmacy or small hospital

Healthcare Systems, Large Hospitals, Government and Institutional Pharmacies –

Most of the larger major healthcare systems and hospitals already utilize third-party pharmacy consultants. They realize that in certain business situations they may need help with two important factors in order to make the right decisions: objectivity and specialization. Having larger budgets, they are much more likely to seek outside experts who are experienced in specialized areas to meet both their immediate and future needs. Additionally, they are open to an objective and unbiased review of their business operations in order to maximize both efficiency and profitability.

Usually larger organizations will realize that they have a very specific need or a project that requires specialization and they simply don’t have the in-house staff member or experienced specialist on their staff. They also don’t see the long term need to hire such an individual, so reaching out to a consulting firm is the obvious solution. Additionally, in time sensitive situations, they lack the time to seek out, interview and vet the specialist – so again hiring an experienced and multi-faceted pharmacy consulting firm is the perfect solution (saving them both time and resources).

Pharmacy Startups –

Perhaps no other type of business start-up requires both experience and specialization as does the opening up of a new pharmacy. Taking into account the “normal” business decisions and challenges that are faced when opening up any new business, pharmacy startups come with a long list of additional complexities. All new retail business owners must deal with the typical issues of choosing the best location, leasing the required office space, choosing contractors and vendors, hiring employees, obtaining financing and selecting accounting and/or payroll systems. However, the opening of a new pharmacy practice also entails the following expertise:
– DEA and State Board of Pharmacy application processes
– Mandatory Policy and Procedure manuals
– Required Continuance Quality Improvement (CQI) manual
– Purchasing of specialized equipment
– Board of Pharmacy required internal signs and postings
– Final State Board inspection of the facility
– Security considerations
– Hiring of a Prescription Department Manager (PDM) for both the application process and the inspection

Then you must take into consideration that the various types of pharmacies that are being started up will sometimes require a different expertise or an individual with specialized experience. Just some examples include:
– Retail community pharmacy startups
– Specialty pharmacy startups
– Compounding pharmacy startups
– Mail-Order pharmacy startups
– Internet pharmacies
– Infusion pharmacies

Established Independent Retail Pharmacy –

In all established community retail pharmacies, the pharmacy owners, Prescription Department Managers (PDM) and Pharmacists in Charge (PIC) should always be asking the following questions: “Maybe there’s a better way of doing things?  Perhaps I should get some expert advice on the business decisions that I’m making?”. The answer is most often times a YES. No one runs their business perfectly. Getting an objective evaluation from an expert who is distanced from any emotional business ties is the best opportunity to honestly evaluate your pharmacy operation. Simply stated, having an objective third party expert taking a hard look at your current practices can make the difference between growing your business or closing it down.

Start thinking about all the facets of knowledge and specialization that are required to run an efficient and profitable pharmacy.
– Technology changes so rapidly in the pharmacy profession that it is nearly impossible to stay current. And what about emerging technologies that are in the near future? When one simply considers the never ending acronyms that have emerged in just the past couple of years in pharmacy and healthcare, it’s staggering how proficient in technology we all must be. Just a few examples include:
– PDMP
– EPCS
– RTBP
– ePA
– MTM
These few examples are simply the “tip of the iceberg” as HIT (Health Information Technology) continues to evolve and to expand exponentially.

When you add in understanding and keeping up with the never ending changes in federal and state laws, plus the regulatory agencies such as the DEA, FDA and State Boards of Pharmacy, it seems pretty clear that some assistance from an expert consulting firm may be necessary. Lastly, just look at a short list of additional areas that a pharmacy must comprehend and make decisions about and it’s pretty easy to see why a pharmacy consulting firm makes sense:
– PBMs and insurance networks
– Sterile and non-sterile compounding <USP 795 & 797>
Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs)
– Customized Policy and Procedure Development (and review of existing policies and procedures)
– Integrated Delivery Networks
– Compliance Audits
– Pharmacy Expansion and/or Integration of New Service Lines
– HIPAA
– Security
– VIPPS

About Healthcare Consultants

HCC is known to be a national leader in pharmacy consulting. Since 1989, our in-house specialists and pharmacy consultants have provided expert evaluations, solutions and guidance across all sectors of the pharmacy industry. From every size of pharmacy businesses – community drug stores to national healthcare systems – we strive to improve your pharmacy’s business operations, efficiency and profitability. Some of the services we commonly provide to our clients include:

HCC has been the nationally renowned pharmacy consulting firm of choice for over 28 years now. We urge you to contact us today to see how our Pharmacy Consulting services can help you improve your business right now, plus be ready for the future. With a full-time staff of in-house Pharmacy Consultants and specialists, HCC can answer any questions that you may have in all areas of your business. Contact us online or call us today at 800-642-1652 for a free consultation


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