DJ Larson, vice president of Provider Relations for Lehan's Drug in DeKalb, Ill., understands the power of segmentation – offering a comprehensive women's health offering that caters to women at every stage in their lives, whether they're new to motherhood, entering menopause or battling a serious illness like breast cancer. In this short video, Larson welcomes us into Lehan's for an inside look at what makes their store a “one stop shop” for women in DeKalb County and beyond.
Q: Tell us why Lehan's chose to focus on women's health.
A: Our women's health focus started when we realized that patients who were dealing with breast cancer had no local options for post-mastectomy bras and prostheses while undergoing treatment. That was about 10 years ago; we now have a full-service women's health area in our pharmacy, focused on helping women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. The 2,500 square foot space includes an education area, fittings rooms and an expanded line of post-mastectomy forms, apparel and accessories. With dedicated floor space to mastectomy fittings, Lehan's has become a “one stop shop” and a source of comfort for women dealing with breast cancer.
Q: How are you spreading the word in your community?
A: We promote our women's health program by word of mouth and make sure to get out from behind the counter when a new customer comes in the store. We have also created flyers and mailers to promote a special night just for women, “Wine, Women and Wellness.” On these evenings, our pharmacists speak with patients about services that align with their needs. Each month, we average 300 new patients by offering these personalized counseling services. The women's health program has brought in a large number of walk-in patients along with new customers.
Q: What challenges did you face when you were getting started?
A: The biggest challenge was the level of involvement and training needed by our staff. Before anything could begin, our staff was required to take courses on women's health to become certified. Today, we have three mastectomy fitters on staff and at least one fitter is working in the store at all times.
Q: What steps should a pharmacy take to replicate what you've created?
A: The first step is identifying a need that you can address with your expertise. We found a niche where we knew we could make a difference. It happened to be women's health. This was an area that was important to our staff and we knew, inevitably, we could make an impact on customers. Second; dedicate space in your store. Supply and demand forced us to consider how to allocate space and we did. Last, but not least, you need knowledgeable and friendly staff on hand. Make your patients feel comfortable coming in, talk with them and make the connection.
Q: What else are you doing to grow the business?
A: In addition to supporting those with breast cancer, we now have bras for women who are hard to fit in traditional stores, self-wicking sleepwear that makes hot flashes more tolerable, skin care lines, hats that block ultraviolet rays and custom fit swimsuits. Breast pumps are a newer offering for us but one that's driving significant growth. New moms can get their pump and accessories as well as lactation consulting and certified fittings for nursing bras. We'll take care of billing insurance for the pump, making the process as easy as possible on new moms.
DJ Larson serves on the steering committee of Cardinal Health's Women in Pharmacy initiative, which connects the growing number of women pharmacists with resources, tools, education and support they need to seize the opportunity of independent pharmacy ownership.