Pharmacist holding a prescription bag

The Importance of Healthcare Data and Other Lessons Learned From My Time Working in a Smalltown Pharmacy

Audiology and ENT Clinics, Audiometry

I recently visited the pharmacy in the small town where I grew up. It’s the same place I spent years facing up shelves and mopping floors as a high school kid on weekends.

Growing up in a small town, there were few student job prospects. I started by doing farm work; to be fair, it would be better described as cleaning stalls. The job was tough, and the aroma was worse. There were also those couple years of pumping gas at a local highway gas station; it didn’t smell much better. Working in a drugstore was a nice change.

I only got the job because I was friends with the owner’s son. She was a very kind, intelligent and driven businesswoman who painstakingly worked to deliver exceptional customer service. She had the perfect mix of small-town charm with an encyclopedia-like familiarity with her patient’s needs and preferences. Every day I witnessed her make a difference in the people she encountered – they were lucky to have her.

Looking back on it, I was a pimpled-faced kid who knew nothing about running a pharmacy or business. I’m amazed that she took the time to walk me through so many different elements of running the business. There were too many lessons to list. At one point, she even let me try selling CDs in the store. During that time, I learned the value of floor space in a pharmacy and that people didn’t buy music in a small-town drug store. We did sell one Hootie and the Blowfish album. She gave me the gift of mentorship; part of that was allowing me to learn by failing.

During that time, I realized the significance pharmacists and other healthcare providers play in a person’s overall health picture and the power of the relationships they develop. You are trusted allies, advocates, and confidants, an all-encompassing job providing vital patient knowledge. Today’s pharmacists, opticians, hearing clinicians, and other healthcare providers wear multiple hats and much more transpires behind the scenes. As a result, you see people at their best and, unfortunately, at their worst.

People came daily to check their blood pressure at the store. I was stunned that so many of these people came in every day and always at the same time; you could set a watch to it. It was common to see a line-up behind the device; checking blood pressure was essential to their daily routine, and the pharmacy played a vital role in this journey. As a bonus, it was also a great place to learn the latest small-town gossip, which many in the line-up relished. Individuals could take ownership of their unique healthcare with an accessible, free device that allowed them to check something fundamental to their well-being effortlessly. I didn’t realize it at the time but supplying people with the tools to take ownership of their healthcare is so important.

It’s fascinating how some things in life come full circle. For example, I now work in marketing for a company that offers individuals greater access to hearing screening. We work hard to be part of new hearing care journeys by expanding access to hearing testing and developing and innovating connection points to care.

The World Report on Hearing, authored by the World Health Organization (WHO), found that an estimated 1.5 billion people worldwide suffer from hearing decline. One of the biggest challenges for this population is a lack of accessible hearing testing.

SHOEBOX QuickTest was developed to help with this need by increasing access to hearing testing. It’s an easy-to-use hearing screening kiosk used to offer your customers free hearing screening. QuickTest kiosks fit well with today’s pharmacy, optical office, hearing clinic, and along with various other retail spaces. QuickTest can check a person’s hearing in just two minutes while effectively guiding them to the proper care based on their unique hearing levels.

We’ve designed QuickTest to fit effortlessly into any high-traffic area, such as a waiting area, and it can be operated in both attended and unattended kiosk modes. As someone performs a hearing test, they will encounter a gamified interface customized with your unique branding. In addition to equipping your clientele with a powerful wellness tool, the kiosk operates as a revenue-generation tool, capturing hearing care leads as part of the test. Your business can offer those requiring amplification hearing aids or refer them to a partnering audiological center. QuickTest is designed to for use in noisy environments and functions well in large and small retail spaces.

More and more people of all ages are utilizing technology to make data-driven judgments concerning their long-term health care. So why should hearing be any different? As amplification becomes more available via over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids and everyday headphones, we’re seeing younger demographics seek hearing testing.

QuickTest enables your business to capture hundreds of pre-qualified leads effortlessly, all while providing vital healthcare data to your customers. Knowledge is a powerful tool for attaining long-term positive health outcomes. I discovered this years ago while working at that drugstore as a kid.

After serving her community for over four decades, my former boss and friend passed away during the pandemic. She was a remarkable person and played an essential role in shaping the person I am today, and she left a hole in the community she served lovingly up until the end.

Although we kept in touch from time to time over the years, I wanted to take her to lunch and tell her how much she impacted my life. I wanted to but didn’t; I made the all-too-common mistake of telling myself there was more time to visit when there wasn’t. So after hearing the news of her passing, I returned to the drugstore, and many of the same people I worked with over twenty years ago remain and operate with the same high level of exceptional care. I’m not sure of a more fitting tribute to such a remarkable person.

I can imagine the sound of the air pumping and releasing, hissing as the locals check their blood pressure while discussing the giant pike hauled in at the lake and ironing out the details of the upcoming chicken barbecue at the park. Hometowns have a way of staying familiar despite the years and people that part, and there’s something beautiful and touching about that sentiment.