3 reasons to partner with mental health providers

3 reasons to partner with mental health providers

Better care. Greater expertise. More patients and prescriptions. 

In brief:

  • Caring for patients’ mental health is a team activity, and pharmacists play a key role
  • Because so many patients are affected by mental illness, it is a big opportunity
  • Pharmacies can benefit by partnering with mental health providers
  • Results include better care, more expertise, and more patients/prescriptions

Why to partner with providers

Just sitting back and hoping patients walk in your door may work for some independent pharmacies. But increasingly, successful independent pharmacies are becoming proactive in reaching out to prescribers. Pharmacists are:

  • Conveying a clear, unique value proposition to prescribers
  • Building relationships with prescribers and their staffs
  • Understanding prescribers’ workflows and communication preferences

The collaborative relationships that result are better for patients, prescribers and independent pharmacies.

  Previous articles about prescriber outreach and collaboration:


Partnering with mental health providers

Because May is Mental Health Month, it provides an occasion for thinking about broadening provider relationships to partner with mental health providers.

The same rationale for partnering with providers applies in partnering with mental-healthcare providers. This includes psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, social workers and mental health clinics.

If you think that mental health is small potatoes, think again. Here are some stats to keep in mind:
50% of Americans experience a mental illness in their life
Sources in footnotes 1, 2, 3, 4

In considering the magnitude of mental illnesses, here are three important reasons for independent pharmacy owners to partner with mental health providers.

  1. To deliver better care. Collaboration produces better outcomes. Through collaboration, pharmacies better understand a patient’s situation and prescriptions. The pharmacy can educate the patient, counsel them on potential side effects and monitor adherence.
    Also, through collaboration, pharmacies can feed information back to the provider to ensure they stay in the loop. If any issues arise, by having a relationship, the pharmacist can communicate with the mental health provider to collaboratively resolve the issue. The result is better care for the patient.
  2. To collaborate with and learn from mental health experts. Pharmacists have expertise in serving and educating patients about their medications. And pharmacists have expertise in areas such as comprehensive medication reviews, MTM, identifying and addressing barriers to adherence, and helping patients cope with side effects.
    But pharmacists are not mental health experts. By working closely with mental health experts, pharmacists will have resources to turn to for assistance with any mental health matters. This enhances a pharmacist’s network and improves the service they can provide.
  3. To build your pharmacy’s business. Ultimately, an advantage of partnering with providers is business growth. As you work with mental health providers, they will see the personal, responsive care your pharmacy provides their patients. You will establish trust and build relationships that will help grow your business.
    It is unlikely that other pharmacists are working to develop relationships with this segment of providers, providing a unique and largely untapped opportunity. (Do you think chains are building relationships with a mental health clinic or social workers in your community?)

A tool to help

A challenge when engaging in provider outreach is deciding who to contact and partner with. The goal is to be efficient in building relationships to grow your business.

The Physician Outreach Program (POP) takes an innovative approach. POP uses up-to-date prescriber data to help pharmacies identify who to target. In addition to looking at data by location, POP data can be segmented:

  • By specialty, including psychiatrists. So, for example, you can identify psychiatrists within 10 miles of your store. For Mental Health Month, these could be ideal outreach targets.
    Ideal outreach targets to identify psychiatrists
  • By drug type prescribed. It is possible to identify prescribers who frequently prescribe a specific type of drug, such as psychotherapeutics. In addition to psychiatrists, there may be other prescribers who are significant prescribers and would be good targets.
  • By opportunity. It is possible to look at the total number of prescriptions per prescriber along with your pharmacy’s share. This helps assess a prescriber’s potential.

Learn more about POP


1 “CDC Statistics: Mental Illness in the U.S.,” John M. Grohol, PsychCentral, Updated July 8, 2018. LINK
2 Ibid. LINK
3 “By the Numbers: Antidepressant Use on the Rise,” Lea Winerman, American Psychological Association, November 2017. LINK
4 “Antidepressant Use in U.S. Soars by 65 Percent in 15 Years,” EJ Mundell, CBS News, Updated August 16, 2017. LINK