Datascan Featured Pharmacy: Accudose

Successful independent pharmacy owners have come to understand that finding a niche will make or break their businesses.  Pharmacist Mark Franceschelli, owner of Accudose Pharmacy in Boardman, OH has found his.  As we continue to see pharmacists playing a much larger role in patient care, enhanced medication management has become the key to seeing better outcomes.  Despite the many challenges facing independent pharmacy owners, Accudose has made its mark and sees a bright future ahead with their unique pharmacy model.  Finding the right software partner to support your pharmacies unique needs has become equally as important—especially as your business evolves.

Datascan: Tell us about Accudose pharmacy—how did you get started?

Accudose:   Accudose Pharmacy started a little over four years ago as a long term care pharmacy with the idea of helping patients manage multiple medications and improve health outcomes.  Being in the long term care industry and owning a consultant pharmacist practice as well, I personally saw the challenges facing patients when leaving a hospital or nursing home as it relates to medications.  Many patients are overwhelmed with trying to return to everyday life and simply taking their medications safely is a challenge.  Almost 40% of hospital readmissions can be attributed to medications—underutilization, overutilization, drug-drug interactions, poor compliance, and adherence, etc.  With this in mind, my cousin and I developed our pharmacy around addressing these issues as well as helping assisted living facilities, group homes, and home health companies reduce medication errors, decrease nursing time, and improve care.  We decided that there was a unique opportunity to enter the space in which we planned to operate.  We opened our doors in January 2017, and although it hasn’t been easy, we are now servicing patients in 5 states and looking to expand into more states in the coming years.

D: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as an independent pharmacy over the years?

A: One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced as an independent pharmacy is obviously reimbursement.  Prior to starting the pharmacy we were aware of the headwinds that impacted independents.  However, we didn’t have a full appreciation for it until we began living it every day.  With shrinking margins, we realized from the beginning that we needed to operate the business extremely lean and focus on efficiency and growth.  Additionally, the need to provide greater service and separate ourselves was important but with reduced reimbursements, we knew it would be challenging.  Therefore, focusing on unique areas that are underserviced has helped position us to expand our bottom line even in the current environment.

D: How did you combat those challenges and set your pharmacy up for success? What are some of the unique things you’re doing to set yourselves apart?

A: We are constantly focused on our growth and enhancing our partnerships throughout the communities we service.  These partnerships with different healthcare providers, agencies, and community organizations have helped us expand our reach and increase our patient base by over 80% over the past year.  Additionally, since we are designed to effectively manage patients with multiple medications, we service proportionately more patients who have complex drug regimens.  This in turn has helped increase our growth trajectory.

Some of the services we provide include multi-dose packaging for our patients, monthly compliance calls, free delivery, pharmacist follow up, and more, to help alleviate the problems patients and caregivers encounter.  Our customized program has truly impacted the lives of so many patients and is extremely gratifying to know we are making a difference as [healthcare] providers.

What really separates us from a lot of places is our team.  We have a wonderful and caring group that makes all of this possible. We can offer all of the latest and greatest programs if but if you don’t have a team that truly cares about the patients, none of it matters.  We focus on making ourselves better each day and always try to do what’s best for the patient.

D: What made you decide to go into community pharmacy?

A: After being a pharmacist for 20 years in many different capacities I have been fortunate enough to see what works and what doesn’t.  I realized I had the opportunity to try and create a pharmacy that was different from the norm and make it something unique.  There is a sense of pride that comes with being creative, and in the end, hopefully making something special.  There are always moments when you question yourself, but then you realize the amount of people who depend on you—both your patients and your team.

D: What are some of the ways you use Datascan’s pharmacy management software to help in your pharmacy?

A: As our fast growth put additional strain on our process, we soon realized that our previous software was not suited for our needs. What really stood out to be about Datascan was their willingness to customize the software to our needs.  We are a very unique pharmacy with our workflow and Datascan has been able to help us through our rapid growth.  In particular, we have a specialized way of handling our prescription processing each month based on multi-dose packaging and they have helped design a workflow that improves our efficiency.  Part of this workflow design was the customized integration with our TCGRx machine, which has helped our team better handle the nuances of filling prescriptions in multi-dose packaging and improve efficiency.  One of the best features is the prescription refill request process.  Tracking prescription refill requests in our previous pharmacy system was becoming untenable as we have hundreds of requests a day.  Datascan’s software automatically matches incoming prescriptions from physicians whether arriving via e-scribe or fax to the original refill request in the queue.  This eliminates the need to manually handle this process which was becoming confusing and time consuming for our team.  Additionally, the software provides for the ability to track these requests by date and add notes so the team can follow up with the physician and/patient.  On top of this, we have the option to schedule pending refill requests to automatically be resubmitted to the doctors.  This has saved our order entry technicians and call center technicians inordinate amounts of time.  There are also a multitude of other features that truly streamline our day to day operations such as integrated SMS and IVR messages that help to automate our workflow and build a better patient experience.  We view it as a partnership and realize both companies contribute to each other’s success.  As our needs change it’s nice to know that our software provider is willing to help us and collaborate on ways to adapt to those changes.

D: What is your outlook on the future of independent pharmacy?

A: I think independent pharmacies have a tremendous opportunity in the years ahead.  Independents provide such a unique and valuable service to their communities and it’s more evident now than ever before.  There are a number of studies showing the positive impact independent pharmacies have on a community—not only in a rural and underserved area, but in all community types throughout the country.  The care and improved outcomes they help provide is truly remarkable and the ability to innovate the industry sets them apart.  As rules and regulations continue to change, both federally and at the state levels, I think independent pharmacy will only continue to get stronger.

Diversity among pharmacy models is encouraging for the future of independent pharmacy.  Partnering with the right software vendor ensures you’re setting your pharmacy up for long-term success and growth.  Accudose Pharmacy’s focus on medication adherence and compliance requires an adaptable workflow and flexibility—a perfect match for Datascan