It's back! Once again flu season has arrived, right on schedule, with a promise to cause havoc for millions of Americans, young and old. Many will look to their pharmacists for information about the best course for preventing the flu, which of course begins with flu vaccination.
As trusted sources of medical information, pharmacists again find themselves on the front lines of this year's "war against influenza," working diligently either by hosting in-store immunization clinics, or providing information about nearby flu shot locations. The key to winning this battle though, is good communication. And in many instances, pharmacies already have in place a highly effective tool for transmitting information to patients.
Here's a quick checklist of current PrimeRx™ communication capabilities:
- Outbound Texts/Emails: The system can easily be programmed to generate flu shot reminders, or information about an in-store clinic. A pharmacy manager can select which subsets of patients to receive the reminders – i.e. senior citizens, "regular" flu shot recipients – or can generate an email/text blast to all patients. Emails/texts can be programmed to arrive on certain days, and can be repeated based on a preferred schedule.
- Automatic Phone calls: A phamracy manager may wish to also generate automatic phone calls to remind patients about the importance of flu immunization. Similar to the way in which emails and text messages can be generated, PrimeRx™ can easily be programmed to place phone calls to selected patient groups.
- On-Hold Messaging: No one likes to be stuck on hold, but PrimeRx™ allows pharmacies to make good use of their "captive audience" by allowing transmission of recorded messages, which generally are interspersed with music. A quick, "don't forget it's flu season, make sure you stop by the pharmacy for your vaccination," can go a long way in reminding patients.
- Package Inserts: Patients are accustomed to receiving important information about their medications either affixed to packages, or slipped inside. A pharmacy can include flu clinic reminders along with that information, or can generate a separate flu-specific communication that can be inserted in patient prescription packages.
- Waiting Area Queue Board: Pharmacies that take advantage of PrimeRx™'s queue board, which allows patients to gauge how long their wait will be, can have a brief "Don't Forget Your Flu Shot," message appear at pre-set time intervals.
Beyond taking full advantage of PrimeRx™, pharmacies can spread the word about immunization clinics in other ways as well:
- Website updates
- Flyers/Brochures available at checkout counters
- In-store signage spread throughout the store
- Social media – don't forget to update your pharmacy's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media accounts with important flu-prevention reminders!
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises that as of now, it's "too early to characterize the timing of the season, what viruses will predominate, or how severe the season will be." But, the CDC also affirms that the best way to prevent flu is vaccination.
With a little proactive communication, pharmacists can get the word out, and hopefully help patients stay healthy throughout this yer's winter season!