Don’t Lose Patients!

A Happy Patient will Remain a Dispensing Patient
Alastair Carmichael a Pharmacist and Dispensing Doctor Expert

I was at a surgery a while ago and the dispensary manager and I were discussing the implications of turning on the Electronic Prescription Service [EPS] and the impact on dispensing.

Many dispensing practices have been encouraged into using EPS over last year, but before you do this please make sure you are prepared fully and can offer your patients the best possible customer service.

Here’s why.

A happy dispensing patient is a patient who stays with the dispensary and supports the practice

An unhappy dispensing patient is a patient who will look elsewhere to have their prescriptions dispensed.

It seems obvious but how many dispensaries are fully prepared to satisfy their patients’ needs?

During the Covi-19 pandemic we are all more used to online shopping and avoiding going out in public as little as possible, especially the old, infirm and at-risk groups. It is these groups of patients who may very well turn to internet pharmacy nomination if their needs aren’t fully satisfied by the dispensary.

A delivery service is now more essential than ever, and many practices have extended their volunteer delivery service due to the pandemic. And as we move out of lockdown [at some point] many patients may expect their home delivery service to continue.

It is a fact that online pharmacies are taking a more proactive approach towards targeting patients directly to ask for their prescriptions to be dispensed remotely. And the major players in the online pharmacy market are growing their market share every month, and how long before Amazon moves into the pharmacy market?

And what impact does this have on the dispensary income?

And will it affect branch surgery dispensary viability?

We think it will and in the long run, if the issue is not addressed now, it may well be too late as patients are much harder to get back than they are to retain – that is the most basic business model in the world, and every business should make it a priority to retain customers.

Five Top Tips for a Happy Customer:

1 Make sure your dispensary processes are as slick as possible, try not to keep the patient waiting for acute prescriptions.

2 Review your workflow procedures and look at the layout of your dispensary to ensure that dispensing is not slowed down by poor dispensary design.

3 Where an acute prescription can not be dispensed on the spot, ensure the patient gets it by delivery as soon as possible.

4 Calculate your dispensing rate of items per hour per dispenser – it should be at least 14 items per hour per dispenser.

5 Contact your patients by text or phone to let them know their repeat prescription is ready for collection.

And finally, if you want any advice on dispensary layout, dispensing safely, profitability or anything related to dispensing, please email me at and I will get back to you.