Consider the cane

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Think a small independent pharmacy can't compete against the big box stores? Think again, says Gabe Trahan, senior director of marketing and store operations for the National Community Pharmacists Association.

While a small pharmacy can't stock a huge inventory of products, they can beat the big guys on customer service, he says.

"Large numbers can never trump the time and understanding that the community pharmacy has to offer," he said. 

Taking that extra time upfront also avoids the assumption that customers understand how to use equipment.

Case in point: canes. While this most basic piece of durable medical equipment seems self-explanatory, providers shouldn't assume that the customer understands how it works, says Trahan.

"What drives me crazy about canes is that a lot of stores forget that the canes come folded up to 2 feet," he said. "It needs to be taken apart and adjusted."

That really hit home for Trahan when he discovered that his father, who had recently gotten a cane, wasn't using his.

"I asked him where it was and he said, 'It's behind the couch,'" Trahan said. "I asked him why, and he said it was too short. It was still folded up."