Editor's Note

Sizing up the Wound Care Opportunity for Pharmacies

Wound care reaches a variety of DME pharmacy customers with products that generate retail and funded revenue. Best of all, the market is quickly expanding.

Pharmacies, and particularly DME pharmacies, sit in a prime position to serve a market opportunity of substantial scale: wound care. The global wound care market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 4.3 percent from $33.9 billion in 2017 to $45.5 billion by 2024, according to research from data and analytics firm GlobalData.

Also, new data from market researchers Future Market Insights projects that the North American market for negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT), which is dominated by the United States, will grow to $3.2 billion by 2029, largely due to the growth of single-use disposable devices. (In case you’re not familiar with the therapy, NPWT uses a sealed bandage and a vacuum pump to draw fluid away from the wound and draw blood to the area to promote healing.)

There are multiple patient groups that need wound care services; a healthy mix of referral partners; revenue sources that go beyond the Medicare model; and some core product offerings that DME pharmacies can knowledgeably support. With the right level of commitment, a pharmacy can establish itself as an expert resource for wound care products and supplies in its healthcare marketplace.

In terms of the product categories, key wound care products that pharmacies serving wound care patients should offer include (some should sound very familiar to you): Standard dressings; compression therapy; NPWT devices and dressings; enteral nutrition to deliver proper nutrition for healing; and, for larger DME pharmacies, therapeutic support surfaces such as Group 2 mattresses.

In terms of funding, Medicare and private payer insurance cover various wound care items (with varying levels of reimbursement), but they don’t always fund everything. Also, some patients might want more than what is covered just for good measure, so retailing plays a role in wound care services, as well.

Whether the funding is public, private or cash, the pharmacy must consider how it approaches different segments of the wound care and which products it offers. Understanding the nuances in dealing with individual consumers is critical. For example, the quality and variety of dressings have evolved in recent years, which means the pharmacy needs to have lots of stock of a wide variety of offerings. And with payers wanting to pay for lower price options, while clinicians want to obtain higher-end items, DME pharmacies must source products that will suit both priorities.

From a referrals perspective, there are a variety of partners that DME pharmacies entering wound care should target. A key referral source is wound care centers. These centers often serve diabetic patients, people with pressure ulcers and other patients that need treatment. Other referral partners include doctors and hospitals, as well as orthopedic facilities.

Regardless of type, regularly educate your referrals on the products you offer and new innovations that are now on the market.

This article originally appeared in the DME Pharmacy April 2020 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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