Adding new services lines is a key revenue generator for private neurology practices today. Additional service lines also give you more control over the entire patient experience, netting better outcomes.

This has been the modus operandi at Raleigh Neurology in North Carolina, according to CEO Leanne Garms. Garms spoke at a recent meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.

“[Adding service lines] really created an excellent differentiator within our community,” she said, adding they help “offer great quality care at every step of the way.”

One of the top service lines for others in private practice? Pharmacy, she added.

The Benefits of Adding a Pharmacy

An increasing number of private practices are adding retail dispensing pharmacies, and for good reason, said Garms.

“We integrated our retail dispensing pharmacy in our practice, and it’s just a wonderful service for our patients to be able to see their doctor and get their prescriptions while they’re here,” she said. “It’s a nice revenue generator as well.”

But a successful pharmacy program requires solid preparation, Garms said. Some of her recommendations are outlined below.

If you decide to add a pharmacy to your private practice, you will want to market this new service in your community. Download our free guide on the best ways to digitally market your practice.

Determine if There’s a Market

Your EMR contains a wealth of data. It can help you decide whether pharmacy is a viable option for your practice, Garms said. It can be helpful to analyze diagnostic codes, prescribed medications, and patient compliance.

“Put those puzzle pieces together to help understand whether this service line makes sense for you,” she said.

Then, take stock of the services already offered in your community and question whether a pharmacy at your location would fill an unmet need for your patients.

We have started selling CBD oil in our pharmacy and it has been an incredibly popular option for our patients,” Garms added. “We did that in response to our patients asking for it.”

Beyond the needs and convenience of your own patients, consider whether the market demand will bring in others from the community as well. A sizable market will help justify the work involved in adding this service line.

Know the Risks, and Seek Help

The rules and regulations surrounding retail pharmacy dispensing can be complex and inventory can be expensive.

Garms also highly recommends consulting with business and legal experts; understanding the laws and regulations of your particular state is vital.

Do your homework to understand the business aspects of setting up and running this service line, whether that means going it alone or partnering with someone, she said.

Depending on the specific mandates of your state there may be organizations you can partner with to set up and run your retail pharmacy. Beyond that, joining a group purchasing organization can help with inventory costs.

Pick Your Metrics for Success

Once you decide to add pharmacy as a new line of service, you’ll need to monitor progress.

These metrics, or key performance indicators (KPIs), can include, number of patients using the service, revenue generated, and change in number of outside referrals to your pharmacy and practice.

KPIs will be key to determining your success, whether that’s from a financial standpoint or the value your pharmacy is providing to your patients and community at large.