Primary Care: The pharmacy as the first point of contact for health problems
In 2021, pharmacies further established themselves as the first point of contact for health issues. Primary Care offerings and services have contributed to this. The major advantage for patients is that they do not have to make an appointment in advance, but can go directly to the pharmacy for simple medical examinations and treatment recommendations, six to seven days a week.
Patients with conditions such as urinary tract infections often go straight to their family doctor or to the emergency department of a hospital. In many cases, however, the disease illness can be treated quickly, competently and cheaply in a pharmacy. Thanks to Primary Care, customers who have acute symptoms receive the necessary advice at their first point of contact, the pharmacy, and, if necessary, appropriate medication based on the pharmacy’s diagnosis. This may also include certain prescription drugs that the pharmacist is able to dispense without a doctor’s prescription. For our customers, Primary Care means saving time and greater flexibility in the event of health problems, since an initial assessment does not require a visit to the doctor. Demand confirms that we are meeting a genuine customer need with our range of services as demand for Primary Care has almost tripled in the past year.
Vaccinations in Galenica pharmacies
After a consultation, customers can get vaccinated with us. In addition to flu and tick-borne encephalitis vaccines, the range of services offered by our pharmacies also includes vaccinations against COVID-19. To this end, we have given additional employees special training in our Amavita, Sun Store and Coop Vitality pharmacy formats and adapted the premises accordingly.
By the end of 2021, Primary Care already included 28 indications, including for conditions such as eye redness, urinary tract infections and eczema. The algorithms developed by HCI Solutions support our pharmacists in making and documenting diagnoses. In other words, they offer support in providing customers with immediate and straightforward advice so that their symptoms subside as quickly as possible thanks to the right treatment. The algorithms also allow the pharmacy’s services, i.e. medical history, triage and documentation, to be recorded in a structured manner and to be remunerated and invoiced accordingly.
Increasing customer satisfaction with Primary Care
Primary Care means more convenience for customers, and in turn more frequency for the pharmacy and more satisfied customers who think of the pharmacy first in the event of acute symptoms. In this way, Primary Care makes an important contribution to fully utilising the expertise of pharmacists and positioning the pharmacy as the first point of contact.
In order to strengthen pharmacies as the first point of contact for health problems and basic medical care, we support the incorporation of Primary Care services into health insurance models. CSS is taking the lead and has been providing its patients with MyFlex outpatient supplementary insurance since beginning of 2022.
Primary Care is one of the key topics in the strategic «Care» programme: we want to provide our customers with the best possible care and support – throughout their lives. We aim to improve the quality of life of our customers with needs-based health and therapy services and provide them with support as the first point of contact in pharmacies when it comes to health problems. To do this, we are constantly expanding our range of healthcare services.