This is probably the biggest question on your mind if you are just finding my site, right?
If you have been here before, then welcome back my friend! But for those of you just finding me, I get this question alot so I've decided to construct an article that will hopefully answer this question.
However, be warned, this information may cause the following symptoms: excitement, nervousness, insomnia, perma-grin, racing thoughts, irregular heartbeat and much more!
In all seriousness, there are as many types of consulting businesses as an innovative pharmacist can imagine.
With provider status knocking at our door, learning your options NOW can help save you time and money in the future.
It can help you become THE pharmacist to call!
Let me first start with my story.
I started my business because I lost my job in 2014 when I was 6 months pregnant. At that point I was able to scrape together some “prn” work to make it through my maternity leave. After I had my daughter, I knew that I didn't want to go back to long hours in big box retail pharmacy. My family's finances depended on me so I knew I needed to make my relief and consulting business work.
I began managing the MTM program for a local pharmacy. As I learned more and more about MTM, I began to share it on my blog and LinkedIn. Pharmacists began contacting me for advice about how they could begin consulting. I talked to so many pharmacists who were very unsatisfied and it broke my heart.
Here I was loving my MTM business and trying to market my business to grow it locally when others obviously need my help globally.
In September 2015, I put together a coaching program and took on three clients. I kept detailed notes of our conversations. I soon identified common barriers and similarities in the questions they asked. I began outlining all the information that I was sharing with them.
In December 2015, I pre-launched the online e-course. 8 people joined the beta test group. Then launched again in March, 16 more joined. After working out some of the "kinks", I re-shot the entire course, increased the price and added more members.
In June 2016, I launched Lesson 7 on CCM and PQRS.
In September 2016 Lesson 8 on CPAs, pharmacotherapy MTMs and TCM.
You see I never set out to build a community that has helped over 250 pharmacists learn about consulting services.
If I had, it would have been too overwhelming.
My unique point of view is that pharmacists need to prove their value by developing relationships and PROVE their value.
This may not equate to a bloated six figure retail pharmacist salary (whoa, does she mean THAT?).
Yes, it may be an unpopular opinion, but I feel that the high salary community pharmacists enjoy can actually hold them back.
I've heard this called the "golden handcuffs", which is a fitting term. Many times those handcuffs are also connected to crushing debt (student loan or other).
What peeves me the most is when people expect everything to be done for them.
They want someone to create a dream job for them, then ask them to come do it.
That is not the way it works.
You must CREATE the Dream Job YOURSELF.
Now, I am ready to help pharmacy take part in a larger conversation about innovation in healthcare. How can we do it better, cheaper, more connected and truly patient-centric.
This, I believe, can only be accomplished through interoperability.
The first step to achieving this interoperability is to connect pharmacies, clinics and acute care settings. This can be done through collaborative practice agreements and pharmacist led clinical services. Next we will do it with software, even AI, who knows.
Which brings me to the innovative pharmacist who wants to start a consulting business. The options they have and how to get started.
If you don't want to get stuck behind the wave of clinical pharmacy consultants, keep reading (it will be worth it).
So What are Some Types of Consulting Businesses?
1. The implementation specialist
This person would focus on helping community pharmacies implement sustainable MTM programs. They would focus on staff training, organization, setting up systems and automating the MTM process as much as possible in the pharmacy.
They would help the store put in place protocols and procedures for all staff members to be trained in MTM. More information about organizational systems and staff training is contained in Lesson 4 of the e-course.
2. The program improvement specialist
This person would consult with pharmacies to help them improve existing programs. These programs could include, but not be specific to MTM, CPAs or other clinical services.
The consultant would conduct a SWOT analysis on the pharamacy and propose changes based on the assessment. Some areas of improvement may be to improve physician collaboration, improve patient adherence measures, complete more CMRs or add community services such as vaccination clinics. More information about how to improve clinical programs is contained within Lesson 5 of the e-course.
3. The management consultant
This person may work closely with software companies, telehealth companies, diagnostic testing companies, etc. to help them improve collaboration with community pharmacies or patients.
Check out my interview with Deloitte management consultant Sonal Shah to get a few more ideas.
4. The physician clinical consultant
Many pharmacists are becoming increasingly interested in partnering with physician groups. It can bring personal fulfillment to the pharmacist and a valuable service to the physician group. A few ways pharmacists can help physicians is by coordinating a chronic care management (CCM) program for the clinic.
By focusing on physician quality reporting system (PQRS) measures a pharmacist can put together a care plan that will help improve patient outcomes and prevent penalties from newly introduced MACRA legislation.
Pharmacists can also offer services such as TCM, MTM polypharmacy consultants and PGx testing. More information about this can be found in Lesson 7 of the e-course.
5. The point of care testing services consultant
This person would be an expert on collaborative practice agreements that would allow pharmacies to implement CLIA-waived point of care tests. Such test may include pharmacogenomic consultations, rapid diagnostic screening tests, preventative screenings or even narrow therapeutic window medication testing.
More information about point of care testing services can be found in Lesson 8 of the e-course.
6. BONUS - The "Health Coach"
This actually may be the first consulting business that comes to top of mind when thinking about consulting services.
I intentionally placed this one last because I believe that it has the smallest chance of supporting a successful business model.
UNLESS you know what you're doing.
Creating a niche cash-based business models where patients would pay the pharmacist on a per appointment basis to be a "health coach" or anything like it.
If you are interested in this type of consulting business, we've just released Lesson 12 in the e-Course at the Pharmapreneur Academy on Offering Cash-Based Consultant Pharmacy Services!
This Lesson is perfect for functional medicine pharmacists, nutrition and weight management programs, genetic testing consultants and specific disease state specialties.
So what else WILL you find inside the E-course and Community?
Still not sure? Email me and share your reservations.
Or, if you think the Pharmapreneur Academy may help you accomplish your goals, click here to join our next Live Webinar!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Blair Green Thielemier, PharmD is an independent consultant pharmacist living in Arkansas with her husband and two children. Her latest project is the host and producer of pharmacy’s first virtual conference, the Elevate Pharmacy Virtual Summit in partnership with the NCPA Innovation Center. She is the founder of Pharmapreneur Academy, an online e-Course and Community where she guides pharmacist-entrepreneurs through the process and barriers of building a pharmacy consulting business. She is the author of How to Build a Pharmacy Consulting Business and facilitates in-person Business Planning Workshops and Mastermind Retreats for female Pharmapreneurs across the country. More information about Dr. Thielemier can be found on her website.