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Social medicine: Americans want pharmacists to be more socially active

by | Oct 4, 2017 | Public Relations

New research from health services firm PrescribeWellness examines how Americans choose their pharmacy, what pharmacy services they most value, and their interest in interacting with their neighborhood pharmacists online and through social media.

An Rx for social media

Seventy-eight percent of Americans would consider following their pharmacist on social media—indeed, 48 percent already do—and 42 percent wish their pharmacist were more active on social media.

Nearly half of Americans (47 percent) say their preferred social network for interacting with their pharmacist is Facebook, followed by Twitter (15 percent) and Instagram (12 percent). A third of Americans (34 percent) are interested in their pharmacist’s website, and a quarter (25 percent) would be interested in an email newsletter.

Americans say the top benefits of following their pharmacist on social media include:

  • Deals and promotions – 58 percent
  • New offerings or services – 39 percent
  • Healthcare news – 37 percent
  • Relevant news and tips about health and wellness – 37 percent
  • Seasonal vaccine reminders – 31 percent

Almost all of the survey respondents (92 percent) would listen to recommendations from their pharmacist about health education or advice, and more than half (54 percent) would be more inclined to buy or use a new product that their pharmacist recommended on social media.

“These survey findings confirm that consumers would like to bring their relationship with their community pharmacist outside of the pharmacy setting and think of them as a valuable ally in their health and wellness,” said Al Babbington, CEO of PrescribeWellness, in a news release. “As pharmacies continue to go ‘beyond the fill,’ social media is another tool they can use to connect with current—and prospective—patients by offering useful advice, vaccination reminders, promotions and other preventive care messages.”

In Google we trust

When looking for a pharmacy, more Americans put faith in Google (37 percent) than word of mouth (34 percent); another 18 percent look to Facebook.

What qualities do Americans value when choosing a pharmacy?

  • A pharmacy that accepts their insurance or Medicare Part D plan – 57 percent
  • Competitive drug prices – 50 percent
  • Expanded store hours – 45 percent
  • Useful website – 32 percent
  • Delivery options – 30 percent

Whether or not a pharmacy accepts their insurance or Medicare plan was an especially important consideration for Americans over the age of 55 (66 percent), as were competitive drug prices (58 percent).

Websites and apps for refills

Sixty-two percent of Americans use their pharmacy’s website. The website services they use the most include:

  • Refill requests – 61 percent
  • Online orders – 47 percent
  • Medication reminders – 29 percent
  • Medication list – 28 percent
  • Online appointments – 20 percent
  • Messages from their pharmacists – 19 percent

Forty percent of Americans say their pharmacy has a mobile app, which they use to place refill requests (48 percent), receive refill reminders (38 percent), and place orders (38 percent).

“Technology has become an integral part of a pharmacy’s ability to service its customers,” added Babbington. “PrescribeWellness is proud to be facilitating so many of these interactions for community pharmacies.”

Americans prefer their local pharmacies

Another recent PrescribeWellness survey revealed that Americans prefer visiting local pharmacies to their doctor’s for many services. Most of the reasons hinged upon convenience, and top reasons include:

  • Their pharmacy is a “one stop shop” for many health and wellness needs – 26 percent
  • The local pharmacy is easier to get to than the doctor’s office – 24 percent
  • They get faster (23 percent) and friendlier (22 percent) service
  • Their pharmacist helps keep their medications in order – 19 percent

Twenty-one percent of American parents say they prefer visiting their local pharmacy because it is more convenient than the doctor’s when they have the kids with them.

The firm recently released results of its 2017 Pharmacy Social Media Survey. The survey was conducted by Propeller Insights and fielded to more than 1,000 U.S. adults.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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