Nigel Smith, CEO of Next Step Communications 

Will 2020 finally be the year that the spotlight shines on how the ‘pharmacy’ is helping patients thrive beyond the confines of the hospital?  For years, the oft-used stat of deaths attributed to medication errors has been core to industry media and newbiz / funding ppt decks. However, if preventable medication errors impact more than 7 million patients and cost almost $21 billion annually across all care settings, it’s no wonder we’ve seen an immense amount of growth in the pharmacy industry – particularly by non-pharmacy players who are recognizing the business opportunity in finding a solution. 

Smarter Packaging, Not More Packages

With Amazon/PillPack looking to own the consumer pharmacy business, there really seems to be a push by companies in the space looking to firmly establish themselves as a smart and more clinically effective way to ensure patients are able to easily follow physician’s orders. Despite PillPack’s efforts, there are hundreds of millions of Americans who are terrible at taking and refilling their medications. Smarter packaging absolutely will make it easier, as convenient delivery will help, but won’t make it easier to take the right meds at the right time as the doctor ordered! I think if we opened our medicine cabinets, the great majority of us would find medications that were never ‘finished.’ 

What seems critical to addressing both sides of the adherence issue is access to a pharmacist.  Next Step Communications is proud to continue working with ASHP-attendee companies across the hospital, institutional and retail sectors that are all looking to improve clinical care. However, what about the consumer at home who has questions? Do they turn to their local retail pharmacist for help, even if they get mail order Rx from another business? 

Bringing Modern Tech Into the Pharmacy – and At Home

CB Insights just announced its 2019 Digital Health companies list. It is a super cool group of innovators and business minds. Does your organization want to build buzz and overall awareness that captures the attention of the decision-makers for next year? Market growth and building momentum are important criteria for who is recognized. Certainly, there is more to success than CB Insights, but how are you stacking up?

With an increased focus on “beating Amazon,” what will pharmacies at big box retailers like Walmart and Target look like in 12 months? How soon before we have UberRx and what kinds of clinical experts will continue to be in our homes? Some companies are already teetering this line, looking to bring care to patients where they are already spending their time. As an example, kudos to higi and their 10K deployed machines across the country. What an opportunity for increased patient engagement with people who might not find themselves going to regular MD apts, but do go to their local grocery store (and higi location) every week. 

Staying Ahead of the Curve

So much is going to happen in 2020 and we are excited to be in the middle of it with our clients and their success stories. If interested in learning about our work, we’d welcome the opportunity to connect and learn your story, understand how you fit into the future leaders of pharmtech/digital health, and allow us to think and suggest ways to get recognized and build marketing momentum with true measurable ROI impacts.