Good communication is essential to success; without it, opportunities to foster positive relationships diminish and growth is nearly impossible. Amy Sauls, R.Ph., director of Campus Health Services at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, has seen many changes in her 20 years in the pharmacy industry. One of the most monumental changes is the way she and her staff communicate with the student body.
Successfully communicating with and caring for the needs of 29,000 college students, faculty and staff members means thinking outside of the traditional box. “Since our customer base is so specific, we have to communicate differently than your typical retail pharmacy. It’s a different mindset since our primary customer base is busy, tech-savvy young adults who live on or around campus. Social media marketing is the key to reaching students,” Sauls explained.
To communicate with the student body, the pharmacy staff uses Twitter®, Facebook® and text messages. They are also active on campus, both attending and sponsoring many events. Campus Health Services attends a wide variety of “tabling events,” like the annual Fall Festival, employee appreciation fairs and new student orientation. They sponsor giveaways and offer coupons for food and prizes at campus events and before exams. “The key is to establish a supportive presence on campus. We truly care about our students and staff and work with the student union to make sure we are aware of campus activities and exam schedules,” she stated. They even have a full-time employee who markets and works on patient education information.
Campus Health Services operates two pharmacies on the Chapel Hill campus: Campus Health Pharmacy, the original pharmacy, located on south campus and Student Stores Pharmacy, which opened in January 2016, located in the heart of campus. Student Stores Pharmacy boasts all the modern conveniences the student body, and staff alike, enjoy. “The pharmacy is actually located in the Barnes & Noble and includes gifts, a lounge area and a Starbucks®. It’s truly a one-stop-shop,” Sauls stated.
As with any pharmacy, location is important. The new pharmacy is located in an area that those familiar with the campus refer to as The Pit, a sunken courtyard beside the Student Union that serves as a popular gathering spot. Here, the hustle and bustle of an active campus is ever present. To keep up with the growing demand and offer the best service possible, Campus Health Services staffs five pharmacists and six pharmacy technicians who rotate between pharmacies.
Another major aspect of success is strong business relationships. QS/1 has been an important part of the growth and success of both pharmacies. They utilize NRx®, NRx Workflow, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Point-of-Sale and the Ready Fill platform, as well as many billing, demographic and pharmacy interfaces. “We were one of the first QS/1 Customers to use e-clinical works (eCW). This feature gives our students the ability to purchase prescriptions and over-the-counter items on their student accounts without requiring payment at the time of purchase. It’s very convenient and has worked extremely well,” she elaborated.
According to Sauls, “It is important to embrace change and all the positives that come from technology. Nothing is more important than patient education and safety. QS/1 helps us stay organized and compliant with changing regulations. Our primary goal is to enrich and improve the lives of our students, faculty and staff, and QS/1 is a big part of our success.”