Pharmacy will always be a business about people — pharmacy staff helping patients connect to the right treatments. But pharmacy automation technology can streamline the process so you can provide better care and build a more successful business.
These days, there are options to automate just about every task in your pharmacy, from dispensing to marketing to administrative tasks.
To bring your pharmacy practice into the future, here are 15 ways you can use automation technology.
Dispensing robotics can fill the bulk of your pharmacy’s daily volume. While a robotic dispensing system can be pricy — around $150,000 to $200,000 — it will free your staff up to do more direct work with patients or other revenue-building tasks.
Dispensing systems will also put a label on the bottle and send it down a conveyer belt, where the prescription is ready to be checked by a pharmacist.
Counting and checking
If you don’t have the space or budget for an automated dispensing system, a tabletop pill counting system like the KL1Plus can aid in verifying and counting medications.
A pill counter improves accuracy and saves pharmacy employees time when filling individual prescriptions.
Cut down on the time you spend digging through bins looking for patients’ prescriptions by automating your will call. Technology from scripClip can reduce your will call process from minutes to seconds.
When a patient comes to pick up their prescription, all the pharmacy staff member has to do is type their name into the computer and a bag containing their medication will light up and make a sound, making it simple for employees to spot and grab quickly.
Put a stop to workflow interruptions by implementing an interactive voice response (IVR) phone system. An automated phone system will direct callers efficiently without an employee having to pick up the phone, and it can be available round the clock.
Some IVR systems can even integrate with your current pharmacy management system.
Putting information online about the products you have in store can sway Google searchers to visit you in person. And the process doesn’t have to be difficult if you automate the process with Pointy.
With Pointy, all you have to do to get info on the web is scan products as patients make purchases. Then, they will populate on your Google My Business profile and people will see what you have in stock when they search for your pharmacy.
Compliance packaging is a critical part of pharmacy adherence programs. With an automated packaging system, you don’t have to spend time hand-filling bingo cards.
A machine like the rapidCardRx can fill up to five cards every minute.
With rebate calculations and contract commitments, optimizing a pharmacy’s ordering process to achieve the lowest cost of goods can send owners down a rabbit hole.
But by joining a buying group like ProfitGuard, pharmacy owners can take the onerous task of ordering off their plate. ProfitGuard can automate the purchasing process, ensuring you find the lowest net costs of goods between your primary and secondary wholesalers.
As a small operation, following up to make sure every third-party reimbursement has been paid is necessary to keep the business running profitably.
The good news is pharmacies can now automate their claims reconciliation processes. Software like Econcile can help to identify claims that have not been fully paid and pinpoint trends in slow payments. You may even discover reimbursements you didn’t know were missing.
Creating a schedule that works for all of your employees can be a challenge from week to week, but automation can make staffing your pharmacy a snap.
Software like Shiftboard allows you to set parameters for the kind of staffing you need, and then it creates a schedule that ensures proper coverage. Plus, it allows employees to establish preferences and trade shifts to suit their needs, which in turn reduces absenteeism.
As clinical services continue to grow in pharmacy, so does the need to schedule appointments. Instead of taking appointments via phone, use an appointment scheduler like Appointy.
Patients can book appointments online at a time that works for them and make changes without creating an administrative burden for pharmacy staff members.
Skip even more phone calls by automating refills. If you’ve already set up an IVR system that syncs with your pharmacy management system, that can cut down on in-person refill requests.
Another way to streamline refills is by creating a branded pharmacy app where patients can log in and make the request. The app will also be able to remind patients when they are due for a refill by sending a push notification to their phone, which has the added benefit of increasing adherence.
Add a personal touch to your email marketing without having to lift a finger. If you use email marketing software, program messages to send on patients’ birthdays or on the anniversary of them joining your loyalty program.
By automating, you can make your patients feel special on special days without having to manually keep track of each patients’ birthday.
Having a presence on social media is a must these days, but just because you need a Facebook profile doesn’t mean you have to spend all day online.
Use platforms like Hootsuite to schedule your posts in advance so you don’t have to worry about social media marketing. For patients who want to reach out to you via social media messaging platforms, you can use Chatbot to respond to the most common questions about your pharmacy and point them in the right direction.
Smart environmental controls
Make your pharmacy space smarter by investing in gadgets that help you control the environment. A smart thermostat can learn about your preferences so the building is kept comfortable for patients during business hours while helping you cut down on energy costs.
You can also bring your pharmacy into the future by installing smart light bulbs, which you can set to turn off when you’re closed, cutting down on your daily closing procedures.
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.