Inside: Bring your pharmacy into the future with these cutting-edge technology upgrades.
New technology can be pricey, but you can’t let your pharmacy languish with out-of-date tools. Getting rid of old, sluggish software and nonsensical workflow in favor of more modern solutions will make your operations more efficient and profitable and allow you to better serve your patients.
These days, software and technological solutions can touch almost every part of your pharmacy’s business, from filling and organizing prescriptions to storing patient data.
Consider making these technology upgrades to better compete with the big chains and box stores.
1. Pharmacy-centric POS
If you are using the same point-of-sale system you used 20 years ago, you’re missing out on functionality that could make your pharmacy more efficient.
Seek out a POS solution that’s designed specifically with pharmacies in mind. A good POS will have safety features like verifying patients’ birthdays so you know they have the right prescription. Some systems allow you to record patient counseling notes or integrate with your OTC wholesaler to make ordering more efficient.
You should also update for more practical features, like the ability to take mobile payments like Apple Pay and Google Pay in addition to credit cards.
2. Cloud-based software
You deal with terabytes worth of sensitive patient information to keep your pharmacy running. If you are keeping that information on a terrestrial server, you are vulnerable to an accident. If your pharmacy floods, for example, all that crucial information could disappear overnight.
That’s why you should consider upgrading to a cloud-based server. Your information will back-up to an offsite location, so even if something happens at the pharmacy, your data will be safe. There are even cloud services that cater specifically to pharmacies, like RxBLU, which means they stay on top of keeping data secure and HIPAA-compliant.
3. Pharmacy robotics
Robotic dispensing systems make your pharmacy lightyears more efficient. A pharmacy robot can fill between 30 and 60 percent of your prescription volume every day, and it does so at over 99 percent accuracy.
Not only does that mean your pharmacy is safer and more efficient, but it also means that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have more time to spend with patients providing personalized care. Robots deliver filled bottles uncapped, so pharmacists have the peace of mind of doing a final accuracy check themselves.
4. Communication solutions
Think about how much time your pharmacy staff spends playing phone tag with doctors. Modern technology can streamline communications so you have more time to spend with patients.
Services like UpDox provide HIPAA-compliant messaging systems so you can communicate easily with other providers and reduce the time you spend waiting to receive the information that’s necessary to serve your patients. Electronic faxing solutions can also help cut down on the amount of physical paperwork you do in the pharmacy.
By cutting down on communications done via paper or phone, you reduce your staff members’ workloads and prioritize patients.
5. High-tech will call
If your pharmacy will call is a mess of buckets and bags, and you find yourself digging for lost prescriptions, you may want to consider modernizing your organization system.
High tech will call solutions like scripClip get rid of the buckets and eliminate searching by helping your pharmacy staff quickly locate the right prescription for patients. With scripClip, prescriptions are scanned and attached to a hanging clip in any order.
When patients come to pick up their prescription, all staff has to do is put in their information and the correct prescription lights up so it can be found quickly.
6. Updated workers comp process
When a patient comes in with a prescription from a workers’ compensation claim, it might feel like it has a bunch of strings attached. With a few software upgrades, it doesn’t have to.
Using a program like ServRx, you can ensure that workers’ comp prescriptions get filled without a hassle. It will prevent the patient from being redirected to a mail-order pharmacy so you get their business, and there’s no affiliated PBM to tangle things up.
7. Patient-facing apps
Apps offer patients the convenience and ease they’re looking for on the device they use every day. With an app, patients don’t have to wait on hold to refill their prescriptions, and they can do it any time of day. Apps also offer other beneficial features like reminders to refill, medication alerts, and links to pharmacy information.
You don’t have to be a tech expert to get these features—companies like Digital Pharmacist can help you put your app together.
8. Streamlined medication therapy management
You probably already offer medication therapy management (MTM) services like comprehensive medication reviews in order to stay compliant with Medicare Part D. By using specialized software, you can make those programs more efficient and improve outcomes for your patients.
Companies like SinfoniaRx provide computer programs that help pharmacists comply with Medicare Part D requirements by tracking when patients fill prescriptions and reviewing their profile for any possible medication-related problems. These programs can also identify potential areas of improvement, resulting in a healthier patient community.
Studies show that 86 percent of shoppers in the United States have left a store because the lines were too long. If you have frequently long lines, you don’t just risk losing a sale that day, you risk patients deciding not to come back again.
Adding self-checkout services to your front end can help reduce the frustration of long lines. Self-checkout lanes also help your store clerks get out from behind the counter and onto the floor to assist patients. While you should still have a cashier available, 73 percent of people say they want the option to use self-serve technology.
10. Interactive chatbot
Make it easier for your patients to find basic information about your pharmacy by introducing a chatbot. You can install a chatbot on your website or integrate it into your pharmacy’s Facebook page.
Chatbots interact with patients almost like a real person would, but they are able to answer immediately, rather than whenever your staff happens to be available and logged on.
With your chatbot, you can give patients the ability to order OTC products for pickup or find out information about pharmacy hours or directions. While its best to handle complex questions or problems in person, a chatbot can help reduce the workload for menial tasks.
A Member-Owned Company Serving Independent Pharmacies
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy-side of their business. Founded and owned by pharmacists, PBA Health serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, wholesaler contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, and more.
An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited secondary wholesaler with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products — offering the lowest prices in the secondary market.