The annual J.D. Power Associates ranking of pharmacies, based on polling of prescription customers, measures customer satisfaction among most pharmacy channels: chain, mass-merchandiser, supermarket and mail-order. This year–as was the case in 2018–AmerisourceBergen’s Good Neighbor Pharmacy (a franchise-like setup of indpedent pharmacies) took the top ranking among chains, with a score of 914 on a 1,000-point scale. McKesson’s Health Mart (a similar arrangement to AmerisourceBergen’s) was second (893), followed by Rite Aid, Walgreens and CVS.
Among mail-order pharmacies, Humana was first, followed by (in descending order) Kaiser Permanente, Optum Rx, CVS and Express Scripts. Among mass merchandisers, Sam’s Club was first, followed by Costco and CVS inside Target. Among supermarkets, the leader was Wegman’s, followed by Publix, Winn-Dixie, H-E-B and ShopRite.
Although e-commerce is a growing presence in retail pharmacy, with pure online pharmacies competing with the online offerings of chains and mail-order, J.D Power finds that face-to-face interaction continues to be a dominant factor among customers. “Our data suggests that changing such entrenched behavior will be an uphill battle,” said Greg Truex, managing director of Health Intelligence at J.D. Power. “Customers enjoy visiting their brick-and-mortar pharmacy and they get a great deal of satisfaction from speaking directly with pharmacists.”
“As the pharmacist’s role in patient care grows, it’s critical that they work to deepen relationships and better communicate with their patients,” said Brian Nightengale, president, Good Neighbor Pharmacy and SVP, Community & Specialty Pharmacy, AmerisourceBergen.
Even so, mail order, which obviously does not rely on face-to-face interaction, plays a growing role in retail (The IQVIA Institute of Healthcare Informatics’ 2019 Use of Medicines report found that, on a dollar basis, mail order grew 8.25% between 2017 and 2018, more than double the rate of chains, at 3.4%.) “From our first fill experience to providing clinical support to help members stay adherent to their critical medication regimens to our state-of-the-art dispensing capabilities, our number one priority is to provide the highest level of customer service,” said Scott Greenwell, president, Humana Pharmacy.