Your Future as a Digital-Driven Pharmacy

Digital transformation is taking over pharmacy as we know it. And with a budget too small to implement new technologies and offerings as quickly as you’d like in your independent pharmacy, what can you do?

Amazon is raising the stakes for pharmacies. To stay up to date, start offering new health and wellness services at your pharmacy. Innovate as a one-stop shop for routine care, and work to create an increasingly personalized customer experience.

Listed below are some of the key findings from a J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Pharmacy Study on the evolution toward health and wellness services and medication management in the pharmacy industry:

Routine healthcare services desired

Thirty-three percent of those interested in receiving routine healthcare services have interest in vision and hearing services. Twenty-seven percent have interest in physical exams and routine lab tests. The downside is that most customers stated their pharmacies are not yet offering these services.

Higher loyalty and brand advocacy

Fifty-two percent of customers who rely on health and wellness services at their pharmacy admit they will not change pharmacies. In comparison, 45 percent of those who haven’t used their pharmacy’s health and wellness services say they won’t change pharmacies.

Amazon raising stakes

Nearly two-thirds of brick-and-mortar pharmacy customers have an Amazon Prime account and are aware of Amazon’s pharmacy services. Fourteen percent have used Pill Pack filled through Amazon Pharmacy. Of those, 38 percent said they will definitely switch to Amazon Pharmacy in the next year.

Mobile app success

Current trends show that 59 percent of customers use their brick-and-mortar pharmacy’s mobile app to refill prescriptions. Patient satisfaction with the app was 715 on a 1000-point scale.

If you haven’t begun the transformation to digital services, it’s time to take baby steps. Transforming to digital is extremely important to the survival of pharmacies like yours. New technology will allow you to operate at maximum efficiency. Implementing these technologies into your pharmacy will eliminate human error from repetitive tasks and allow your staff more time to focus on personalized care plans. Here are some technologies your pharmacy can benefit from:

Pharmacy Information Systems (PIS)

These systems help pharmacists better manage inventory and patient information, and include:

  • User interfaces with detailed patient profiles
  • Connected computer system with multiple access points
  • Secure storage

A PIS can help reduce medication errors and compliance risks. It can increase patient safety by automating some of the tasks in your pharmacy.  It will track drug costs and usage. This can help save you money.

Pharmacy Management  System (PMS)

Efficiency is important in your independent pharmacy. A PMS can help smaller pharmacies save time and money by automating the following tasks:

  • Drug stocking
  • Customer and billing management
  • Clinicians’ workflows

A PMS ensures that all of the pharmacy’s operations comply with regulations.

Here are some features a PMS may include:

  • Manufacturing compounds, fulfilling prescriptions, tracking data entry, and requests for refills
  • Insurance management, third-party accounting software integration, payment reconciliation, and accounts receivable
  • Reporting (including specific search features and digital record storage)
  • Storing patient profiles, medication history, and other clinical information
  • Tracking supply chain elements (such as inventory management), improving the dispensing workflow, and procurement

PMSs on their own rely on a single vendor for updates or features. But an integrated system connects with expanded capabilities that may not currently exist. A system that’s integrated offers features like e-prescribing solutions, management tools for medical documents, electronic health records (EHR), pharmacy POS integration, and more.

With the demand for digital presence and connectivity increasing, PMSs offer a seamless experience. Within an organization’s network lies mobile optimization or integration of new apps, automated customer-service options, and secure messaging. With these systems in place, patients can receive prompt attention and allow for more efficient care.

In today’s world, people are more connected than ever. As an independent pharmacy owner, you have to reach out and connect with them. Smaller pharmacies like yours often have to compete with more prominent names in the industry. However, technology will give you a competitive advantage to provide excellent, personalized care for your patients. Here are a few to consider:

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Systems

IVR systems operate on an uncomplicated menu. With speech recognition, users can get updates about their orders, ask questions, and troubleshoot any problems that pop up. You can also integrate them with a variety of pharmacy management systems and automate prescription refills.


These programs provide a more personal and efficient service. They use Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities that mimic human customer assistants. They can be as simple as programs that answer a simple query with a single-line response. Or they can be as sophisticated as digital assistants that learn and evolve to deliver increasing levels of personalization as they gather and process information. They can also educate patients on treatments and side effects, and they automate repetitive tasks.

Mobile Apps

With pharmacy mobile apps, you can refill prescriptions digitally, set reminders, and allow patients to access their profiles. Apps free your time so that you can focus on other services with in-store patients. Users prefer using a messaging system (like those integrated into apps) instead of filling out forms on a website.

Think about implementing automation in your business to improve the customer experience in your pharmacy. Many pharmacies rely on a workflow management system and AI-based tools for communication. If you run a smaller pharmacy with lower prescription volumes, a robotic dispensing system can be a cost-effective solution.

Pharmacy management solutions and automation allow you to maintain relationships with existing patients while enhancing operational efficiency. This frees up your time for one-on-one care.

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.

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Elements is written and produced by PBA Health, a buy-side solutions company.

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