Datascan Featured Pharmacy: NuCare, Ocean Park & Fran Hill
Russell Shvartsshteyn, owner of multiple independent pharmacies, NuCare Pharmacy and Surgical, Ocean Park Drugs and Surgical, and Fran Hill Pharmacy and Surgical, is no stranger to the difficulties of running a successful independent pharmacy. Partnering with an innovative pharmacy software vendor that offers a tremendous amount of technology has undoubtedly aided in their success over the years. Through our partnership with NuCare, Ocean Park, and Fran Hill, they’ve been able to combat some of the biggest challenges facing independently owned pharmacies today.
Datascan: How did you get started?
RS: Shvartsshteyn and his wife started their first pharmacy about 20 years ago in Forest Hills, NY shortly after she finished pharmacy school. With a background in physical therapy, Russell decided to start buying out existing pharmacies and transform them into a full surgical supply stores instead of just relying on prescription volume. In addition to offering surgical supplies they also offered strip packaging, something that was not yet being offered in most retail pharmacies.
D: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced over the years?
RS: Some of the biggest problems we’ve had have been dealing with the PBM’s. The rules are always changing and we’re always seeing new fees and more fees and clawbacks. First it was DIR, then GIR fees, it never seems to end and we always seem to make less but work harder. We’re lucky to be using Datascan’s pharmacy management system because of their transparency tools that help us analyze and manage our DIR fees. Datascan has a DIR estimator that allows us to customize our specific fees for each PBM and see those estimated clawbacks on the adjudication screen. This has been extremely helpful for us in seeing whether or not we can dispense a certain medication to a patient without losing a ton of money. In addition to seeing the fees on the response, there are also a bunch of reports we can run that let us do further analytics at the end of the month.
D: Why did you choose to partner with Datascan for your pharmacy software vendor?
RS: One of the biggest reasons we chose to work with Datascan was their service and support. Having been familiar with other pharmacy management software vendors in the past and seeing what the customer service was like, we knew we needed to choose a vendor that could work together with us. We needed reliability more than anything and Datascan’s support staff is always immediately picking up the phone to help us when we need them. Datascan’s system is also one of the easiest pharmacy software systems any of us have ever used. It’s so easy to hire and train new staff and they become familiar with the software right away. The cost is so affordable; it’s amazing what you get from Datascan compared to so many other vendors that are nearly double the price. We never feel like we’re sacrificing on technology and we definitely don’t sacrifice when it comes time to the quality of service we get from Datascan.
D: What are some of the other features or options you use in your Datascan system?
RS: We do a lot of deliveries and the Datascan mobile delivery system works so well. We’re able to create delivery zones for our drivers and the app ties into Google Maps to create a route for the drivers. It makes it much easier and faster for us to schedule deliveries and collect signatures at the door. We also have Parata Max robots, which dispenses about 50% of our prescriptions. It saves time and money and it’s one of the many interfaces we’ve used with Datascan over the years. We also use Datascan’s patient mobile app for our customers so they can view their patient profiles, track prescriptions, and send in requests right from their app. We’ve found that it helps our patients stay on track with their refills and have seen much better compliance with those who use it. Building star ratings and medication adherence with our patients definitely is a lot easier working with Datascan and their pharmacy software solutions.
D: What is your outlook on the future of independent pharmacy?
RS: We’re really hopeful for the future of our industry despite so many of the challenges we all face. COVID was a difficult time, but it has really shown people what your local pharmacy can do. We’ve been able to offer so many services to patients to help keep them healthy during the pandemic, special order products, deliver medications to patients, and even offer curbside pickup. I think that we’ve definitely shown what Community Pharmacy is made of and see a very bright future ahead for all of us. We are glad that Datascan is our vendor of choice, and we like they have been independently owned for over 40 years. Working with large corporations as vendors has its challenges when your independently owned and not a chain pharmacy, so our relationship with Datascan is a nice departure from that.