Community outreach is a great way to extend your site's reach to more patients in your community. Partnerships with other healthcare facilities, whether clinics with hospitals, pharmacies with clinics, or other combinations can help to promote the Dispensary of Hope program within your community allowing for more patients to learn about the services available to them. As we have learned from you, many patients in your communities may still be unaware of free medication access in your pharmacy or clinic. Promoting the program through community outreach can help to spread the word, serve more patients and generate a better return on your subscription investment. Healthcare doesn't stop at the four walls of the hospital, clinic or pharmacy; it extends into homes, schools, and neighborhoods.
We have gathered some methods that network members can utilize to educate potential patients about affordable medication options. Below are tips on how to increase patient access to free medication:
Take a community approach to the issue of access by partnering with other agencies providing different types of services to vulnerable populations. Often times facilities that are experts at filling free prescriptions don't have resources in place to find patients in need. Therefore, partnering with other facilities with these skills and/or resources may make sense. For example, some hospital sites fill prescriptions and deliver them to nearby safety-net clinic patients.
Create a planning committee of key stakeholders from the community to develop a coordinated plan to serve the uninsured. Many communities have coalitions in place to address issues such as improving healthcare. Connect with others to help meet the common goal of improving the community's health.
Decide what you want to accomplish with your outreach efforts and set a SMART goal such as, "we will recruit 50 new patients this quarter."
Partner with your organization's communications team to help create internal and external marketing pieces to tell others about the program.
Share your program with the local newspaper, television stations, and social networking sites to build awareness in the community about the program to allow for more low-income, uninsured patients to learn of the access opportunity available to them.
Check out some of the additional resources linked below that were developed last year and tested with a subset of the network to increase their reach into their communities:
Dispensary of Hope Advancing Medication Access Tool - start with this tool to begin thinking of outreach
Dispensary of Hope Marketing & Promotion Strategies - this resource outlines some additional strategies
Dispensary of Hope Marketing to Internal/External Audiences - use this list for ideas of potential partners to reach out to for referrals