Sometimes it takes a break from the routine to gain a new perspective on something familiar. I happen to be traveling in Portugal with my family, and we needed some OTC items from the pharmacy. Outside the pharmacy was a chalkboard sign advertising medical testing — diabetes, cholesterol, gluten intolerance, and blood pressure.

The vision for community pharmacy in Europe is similar to the states: expand clinical services, integrate technology and personalized medicine (you can read more here).

Sound familiar?

In the pharmacy we visited, a pharmacist helped a customer use the blood pressure machine at the front of the store — and it was a not a large space. The apothecary-style store also had three workstations for checkout, with hand-held barcode scanners, which staff used to scan medications into the pharmacy system. I completed my transaction with a mobile credit-card machine, seemingly pretty standard in retail and restaurant settings in Europe.

An eye-catching sign outside the pharmacy door gives potential patients an idea of the clinical services pharmacy can offer.

What caught my attention, though was that chalkboard. It’s easily customized and movable. And, it integrated the clinical services with the customer engagement that is unique to community pharmacy.

The technology ComputerTalk highlights in each issue (and every day at our website) is always working for you. It provides the opportunity to get that chalkboard outside and say, “look what we can offer”.

If you have a photo of customized signage that’s worked for your pharmacy, please share it with me via email, along with a few words about why you think it’s effective in your community. I’d love to hear from you and be able to share it on our Facebook page!

Stay tuned for our retail Buyers Guide, due out shortly in the mail as well online, which showcases the newest software and services to boost pharmacy’s growth. Coming up next is our May/June issue. The cover story, on specialty pharmacy, will give the skinny on how community pharmacy can get a spot at the table in this quickly growing market.

Maggie Lockwood is VP, Director of Production at ComputerTalk. You can reach her at