What are Healthy Living Pharmacies?
And hang on, what does digital signage have to do with it?
The deadline for pharmacies becoming a level 1 HLP is fast approaching (1st of April 2020), where all pharmacies are required to reach HLP level one. This blog investigates how digital signage can be used to help community pharmacies meet this standard with ease.
The HLP framework is a government-led initiative to improve the health and well-being of the population by enhancing the quality of services delivered by local pharmacies.
The three enablers of this scheme are:
- Workforce development.
- Premises fit for purpose.
- Engagement with the local community, authorities and other healthcare professionals.
Achieving HLP status is a big deal for pharmacies. It’s an accreditation demonstrating they operate with a health and wellbeing ethos. Anna Sayburn has identified these benefits:
- “A more productive, motivated team who enjoy what they do. This can, in turn, encourage staff retention
- A better customer experience, which may increase loyalty and footfall
- Potential increased service commissioning, as a result of the pharmacy demonstrating to commissioners that it is willing and able to deliver high-quality services
- Showing the community and other healthcare providers that there is more to pharmacy than providing medicines.”
From a financial perspective, there are incentives too. If you can prove you are HLP Level 1 accredited, pharmacies can claim up to £1,280 under the government’s quality payments scheme.
This has successfully fuelled a surge in the number of applications.
HLP Level 1 accreditation is about promoting healthcare and wellbeing
Helpfully, the government have published a ‘Healthy Living Pharmacy Level 1 Quality Criteria’ document. In this 16 page guide, they outline everything your pharmacy needs to know about the framework and, most importantly, they make suggestions on how you can demonstrate your eligibility.
According to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society: “Pharmacists and their teams [must] communicate and signpost public health advice and information in a clear, non-judgemental and consistent way”.
This is where digital signage for pharmacies comes in… What better way to signpost information in the 21st century than digitally? In the government’s quality criteria document under ‘Community Engagement’ (see page 9), the following is listed as ‘Suggested Evidence’ for accreditation:
- “List of local community health and wellbeing resources readily available in the pharmacy
- A local health and wellbeing notice board in the Pharmacy
- Access to the local authority website (with the local health and social care providers) readily available”
All of these recommendations can be demonstrably met through the deployment of a digital signage display or notice board at your Healthy Living Pharmacy.
There are a number of advantages to using digital signage in a healthcare setting over a traditional notice board or poster. The content possibilities of a digital notice board in your Healthy Living Pharmacy include:
- Embedding educational resources from external online sources such as the NHS website
- Embedding your pharmacy’s own website to promote your online presence and services
- Utilising video and other forms of multimedia to educate the public
- Increasing awareness of national and local policy changes
- Publishing statistics on public health to promote awareness
- Encouraging the uptake of services and healthy lifestyle choices
- Displaying staff profiles to make your team more approachable
- Advertising in-pharmacy services such as advice clinics
Then there’s practical functionality such as:
- Displaying seasonal content inline with health care trends and challenges such as healthy eating resolutions in January or sun-related skin care in summer
- Being able to update content and messaging remotely and frequently (the government guidelines are “at least every two months”)
- Showcasing your Healthy Living Pharmacy status with the HLP logo and information on training and other measures undertaken to gain accreditation
Healthy Living Pharmacies must have a dedicated Health Promotion Zone
Under the ‘Health Promoting Environment’ heading within the government criteria (page 10), the requirement for a dedicated Health Promotion Zone is outlined. A number of suggestions are made for creating this space and a few, in particular, stand out.
Along with the aforementioned ‘‘local health and wellbeing noticeboard”, the government explicitly lists:
a touch-screen, plasma screen […] DVDs […] promotional displays, demonstration models.
Deploying a digital display at the centre of your Health Promotion Zone is therefore highly recommended.
An interactive pharmacy experience
The benefit of using a touch-screen over a standard plasma or LED display is the engagement it entices with pharmacy customers. Rather than dictating the information shown to audiences, for example displaying advice for pensioners, to young mothers, pharmacy patrons can search for the information that is useful for them. With a tablet or touchscreen serving an educational function, perhaps displaying FAQs, queues to speak to pharmacy staff can be cut, increasing customer satisfaction.
Educational DVDs are old-school
More flexible than DVDs, digital signage for pharmacies allows the embedding of video files and YouTube content. The latter can be an invaluable resource as a wide variety of high-quality content can be sourced for free. When relying on DVDs, pharmacies can be guilty of playing the same videos over and over which actually can have a negative effect. With a digital signage editor at the fingertips of staff, this need never be the case again. Videos can be swapped out as and when with multiple videos put in a playlist.
Lift and learn demonstration models
Interestingly, the government criteria suggest ‘demonstration models’ too. One particularly innovative feature of some digital signage platforms (like ours) is a ‘lift and learn’ feature. Screens can be placed adjacent to displays where an item can be ‘lifted’ to trigger content on the screen. In a pharmacy setting, the possibilities here are endless. An empty packet of cigarettes might be used as a prop to trigger information, images or a video on the screen about the risks of smoking.
These kinds of interactive experiences appeal to children to whom a hands-on approach to education is particularly effective. As a sales tool, ‘lift and learn’ digital displays can also convey product information.
Social media plays an integral role in the HLP framework with the official HLP checklist guide stating how pharmacies that are active on social media must continue to promote health events or campaigns. Digital signage software allows pharmacies to display live social media feeds from their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts. This allows pharmacies to not only extend their social media campaigns to the physical world, however, also show their personal side. For example, if the pharmacy is celebrating a decade of operation (or their new HLP level 1 status) on social media. This content can be shared directly to the pharmacy digital signage. This allows your customers and patients to see exactly what is going on and keep involved in your operation.
The HLP checklist also state how pharmacies can utilise the many benefits of social media for “keeping up to date with pharmacy and healthcare news or communicating with patients and other stakeholders”. It is essential that pharmacies are utilsing social media to run as effectively as possible. Here’s a handy link to the PSNC’s making the most of social media webinar to make sure your pharmacy is on the right track.
The Healthy Living Pharmacy framework has a fundamental impact on pharmacies around the UK, with assessments for Level 1 status taking place this very month. For successful pharmacies, there are financial incentives to get involved too.
The government have helpfully outlined ‘suggested evidence’ for those seeking to illustrate their qualification. Reading the guidelines, references to ‘notice boards’, ‘touch screens’, ‘plasma screens’, ‘DVDs’ and ‘demonstration models’ all make investing in digital signage for pharmacies a worthwhile project.
Beyond simply gaining accreditation, however, the extended deployment of digital displays has the capacity to have a significant impact on the communication of public health and wellbeing education.
TrouDigital partners with a number of pharmacies (as well as surgeries and hospitals around the UK), and are keen to support the Healthy Living Pharmacy scheme.
For information on how we could help with your project, please get in touch.
Other useful links
Taken from the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee website: