Overcome your fears of reaching out to prescribers

SRRX – 288 – Feb 2019_Overcome Fears in Reaching Out to Prescribers (1)

Tips for getting started and building relationships with physicians and their staff

In brief:

  • To start a relationship with prescribers, find common ground.
  • Common ground can be helping non-adherent patients and improving quality metrics.
  • Set up short meetings. Don’t sell. Spark conversations and uncover their challenges.
  • 5 tips for building and sustaining relationships.

Outreach is hard

Are you uncomfortable engaging in outreach to physicians?

If so, you are not alone. Reaching out to doctors can be hard, especially if you don’t already have a relationship with them. If reaching out feels uncomfortable, it becomes easy to avoid it. But building collaborative relationships with local prescribers is extremely important. Prescriber relationships help grow volume and profit, and lead to more coordinated care.

Been there, done that

At McKesson ideaShare 2018, two leading pharmacists with extensive physician outreach experience shared advice. They described overcoming fears and getting started.

Roe suggested starting with doctors who have already sent prescriptions to your pharmacy. These doctors (and their staff) know about your pharmacy. You want to take the next step by building a strong relationship.

Speaking with physicians about non-adherent patients — especially those who take multiple medications — is a good way to initiate a conversation, advised Hashim Zaibak. This conversation is specific and focused; doctors will be receptive since it is about helping patients.  

When speaking with physicians:

  • Don’t come across as a threat. Make it clear you are focused on supporting and assisting them.
  • Educate them about your pharmacy’s range of capabilities and services, such as patient education, med sync and MTM.
  • Share an example where your pharmacy successfully assisted a non-adherent patient.

Ask to schedule a short meeting to discuss how your pharmacy can better serve them and their patients.

When meeting with physicians

Don’t just dive in and sell the great things about your pharmacy. First, ask questions to better understand their practice and challenges. Zaibak uses these questions to spark conversations:

5 tips for building relationships

  1. Focus on the physician’s challenges. Initially, don’t talk about your pharmacy. Ask questions and listen carefully to their challenges. Focus on what matters most to them.
  2. Convey what’s in it for them. Once you understand their challenges, let them know how their relationship with your pharmacy will help them. For example:
    • Free up their time so they can focus on high-margin services
    • Improve their Star R987atings
    • Help them generate more profit
  3. Build relationships with their staff. Befriend the physician’s staff; they are gatekeepers. Understand their administrative challenges with pharmacies and improve your processes so that your pharmacy is easier for them. You will become their preferred pharmacy.
  4. Get others to advocate for you. Roe described building relationships with drug reps and patients who then recommend the pharmacy to physicians.
  5. Stick with it. Building relationships doesn’t happen overnight; it takes time and repetition. Plan to follow up repeatedly. When you have success with a non-adherent patient, make the physician and their staff aware. Provide regular updates on your pharmacy and communicate when you add new clinical services.

Other suggestions from Roe and Zaibak were: