Blair Green Thielemier, PharmD

10 Breakthroughs from Pharmacy’s First Virtual Conference

10 Breakthroughs from Pharmacy's First Virtual Conference

There’s a shift occurring in the world of pharmacy as the profession is the in process of a rebranding. New ideas are spawning innovations in revenue streams such as preventative and nutritional coaching services.

This rebranding is being lead by a grassroots movement of pharmacy owners seeking to change their patient's perception of medication use. For years, these ideas have been shared in in-person organization-sponsored pharmacy conferences, but for the first time ever they are available in a brand new way.

The platform is the internet and the Elevate Pharmacy Virtual Summit is the first-ever completely virtual pharmacy conference experience.

In April 2017, over 1,200 pharmacists from across the globe registered and participated in the

As the founder and host, I was able to craft in-depth interviews with innovate pharmacists and experts to share ideas about how you can “Elevate Your Practice of Pharmacy”. I was able to interview pharmacy leaders and innovative entrepreneurs to discuss how they’ve launched and grown successful pharmacy businesses.

I asked them the questions that you wish you could ask the speakers at the national meetings!

And the deeper I dug, the more insight we were able to uncover for other pharmacist-entrepreneurs. For me, there were so many “ah-ha” moments, but there were a few that still stick out in my mind as the key ideas that came from the 2017 Elevate Pharmacy Virtual Summit.

Here are the Top 10 breakthroughs from my own Summit Experience:

One: Less than 5% of pharmacies are utilizing email newsletter as a marketing tool vs. 40% of businesses in other industries.

Think about how many newsletter you are on. Ever wonder why when you buy a new piece of clothing they ask for your email address? Its because you are worth more as a customer if they can communicate with you via email. Email is cheaper than traditional marketing methods. And because of the ease of purchasing goods online, it is one of the most effective methods of marketing.

A very small number of pharmacies are taking advantage of this effective and very cheap marketing method.

Two: Physicians are actively searching for partners.

As expectations change in the healthcare industry, physicians are looking for pharmacists and pharmacies to help them achieve their patient care goals. Payment is being based on performance and therefore, profit is increasingly linked to patient outcomes.

Pharmacists can offer high quality services that focus on physician quality benchmarks, once they understand MACRA and MIPS.

Three: Successful entrepreneurs are hiring professional business coaching and help.

The most successful pharmacy owners and consultants are NOT doing it alone. They invest in themselves, their businesses and in hiring professional business coaches. One of the biggest surprises that came out of the Summit for me was the number of business owners, myself included, who retained business coaches.

Four: There are huge opportunities in nutritional consulting and integrative medicine.

As more and more people are looking to prevent chronic disease and find a way to slow the aging process, there is a huge opportunity for integrative medicine. The gap comes in the number of pharmacists and healthcare providers skilled in providing these services. New CLIA-waived lab tests that can be administered by a pharmacist will go a long way in helping move these consulting services forward.

Five: Successful entrepreneurs focus on self development and building their "soft skills".

The big, gaping hole in my own pharmacy education was DEFINITELY in knowing how to build and run a business. Not even to mention the hiring and management knowledge gap. Pharmacy owners who are successful quickly learn to invest in their own personal development. Many times as a pharmapreneur, your brand IS you. This is called personal branding and it is very hard to brand yourself as a successful business if you haven’t gotten your personal development in check.

Six: The riches are in the niches. Don't try to be everything to everybody.

The most success pharmacy owners that I interviewed on the Elevate Pharmacy Summit understood that they had certain strengths. They started with ONE THING and perfected it. Then, they were able to build in new programs after creating a strong foundation.

One example that comes to mind is in health coaching. One pharmacist I interviewed started with HRT and thyroid consultations. She was able to really focus on that program and build on the success of those initial patients.

Seven: Waiting for permission is a waste of time...

If you are waiting for your state association to provide you a framework for exactly how to do something, you WILL be too late. Innovate entrepreneurs understand that plans change and you can always adapt, but you can’t wait until you have everything figured out.

My mantra is, “once you begin taking action, your path becomes clear”.

Eight: Following your curiosity is the best way to find your passion.

I’ve tried many different ‘hobbies’ on for size. I’ve been curious about everything from gardening and canning to online business and personal finance. The way that I came to my current business is from following my curiosity about MTM services. I learned as much as I could about MTM and started sharing that information. Soon, I unexpectedly became “the person to ask” about MTM services.

It was something that I didn’t expect, but something I am now deeply passionate about. Whether it is your pharmacy or a side hustle, if you haven’t found your passion, try a few ‘hobbies’ on for size and see where your curiosity will lead.

Nine: Continually educate yourself. Not just for CE, but again by following your curiosity and continuing a path of self-development.

This goes back to investing in yourself. There is a fine line to walk when deciding to pursue expensive pharmacy certifications versus just obtaining the required knowledge. You really must think about return on investment. Luckily there are many, many free resources to have at your disposal. Blogs, podcasts, webinars, e-courses, virtual summits; there are so many options that will give you an idea of what opportunities to pursue.

Ten: Entrepreneurship takes guts and luckily rejection doesn’t kill.

Failing is inevitably comes with the territory for entrepreneurs. Fortunately the upside is that you realize how thick your skin can be! When I’m feeling fearful, I do a little exercise with myself that has been helpful to many of my clients as well.

I think about the thing I am fearful of, let's use the example of pitching a collaborative program to a physician. Now I visualize how completely wrong that meeting could go. I imagine the worst case scenario in which the physician is completely uninterested and cuts the meeting short because they do not understand the value in pharmacy services. Then, I visualize myself driving home to my family and putting the meeting behind me.

After doing this exercise for your situation, ask yourself, “Was that really so bad?”

I know it isn't easy to put yourself out there, nor is it easy to agree to be interviewed on video, so I want to especially thank all of the pharmacy leaders who agreed to participate in this year’s Summit.

I continue to be inspired by the speakers on the Elevate Pharmacy Summit and their commitment to elevating the profession of pharmacy.

If you are interested in registering for the 2017 Elevate Pharmacy Virtual Summit Encore, go to to enter your best email address.

The Summit will be live again September 15-19th, 2017 for those registered, just watch your email for instructions on how to join and participate.

See you on the Summit Encore!


Blair Green Thielemier, PharmD is an independent consultant pharmacist living in Arkansas with her husband and daughter. She is the founder of Pharmapreneur Academy, an online teaching platform 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 host of the . More information about Dr. Thielemier can be found on her website


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