Datascan Featured Pharmacy: Pharmacy Plus
When Pharmacy Plus opened up in Spring Valley, NY, there were no other community pharmacies in the area. With a need for specialized services like delivery, surgical supplies, and a kosher market, Pharmacy Plus opened its doors in 2003. Located directly next to a health center, they knew it would be a good location. Location can make all the difference in the success of your independent pharmacy. Pharmacy plus also learned early on that partnering with the right software vendor is another key component in building a successful independent pharmacy. Datascan was not their first software vendor, but according to them, will be their last.
Datascan: How did Pharmacy Plus get started?
Pharmacy Plus: As our neighborhood and community got bigger, we saw a need for a local pharmacy. The health center next door also needed a pharmacy to handle their patients. There were no other independent pharmacies in our area and we knew by offering what our patients and community demanded, like delivery and a full service pharmacy front-end, we’d be successful. So, in 2003 we opened Pharmacy Plus and continue to get bigger and busier year after year.
D: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as an independent?
PP: For us it’s been difficult to be the middle man between PBM’s/insurance plans and the customer. Often our patient’s medications are not covered, have high copays or deductibles, and we’re stuck in the middle just trying to help. We’ve made customer service our number one focus and spend a lot of time fighting with PBM’s for coverage, or working with the doctors’ offices to find less expensive alternatives. We’re fortunate that in Datascan’s pharmacy software there are tools we can use to save time, like integrated Prior Approval’s through Cover My Meds, and two-way messaging with SureScripts to help us reach doctors faster. We also find it helps that we can email or text patients right from our software to keep them in the loop with what’s happening with their medications. Customizable reimbursement warnings in the Datascan pharmacy management system help us flag medications after billing insurance that could be covered at a loss, or have co-pays over a threshold that we can set ourselves. The pharmacy software color codes the prescriptions, and stops a label from automatically generating. The prescriptions are then organized in a queue that we can work from to help fix the problem for our patients. Winpharm has helped us streamline our heavy prescription volume, organize prescriptions by statuses, and allows us to better manage our staff.
D: How do you combat these challenges to set your pharmacy up for success?
PP: Unlike many chain pharmacies, we pride ourselves on our customer service and ability to get our patients their medications. We do whatever it takes. We spend a lot of time working out less expensive alternatives and options for our patients. We want to make sure that everyone can receive their medications regardless of their financial situation—so for us it’s all about communication and coordinating care between doctors and our pharmacy to find the best solution for our patients. Often we will give medications to patients at our cost just to make sure they’re being cared for. Using the technology Datascan has built into the pharmacy software, their pharmacy focused point of sale, and mobile applications, helps our busy pharmacy by organizing our day to day tasks and cutting out extra work so we can run more efficiently.
D: What are some of the ways you use Datascan’s software and technology to help in your pharmacy?
PP: We are so thankful that we found Datascan. Having converted twice before from competing pharmacy management software vendors, we were ready to give up all hopes of finding the perfect system, until we found Datascan. We’ve found that Datascan offers simple to use, yet robust feature packed solutions to help us better manage our patients and workflow every single day. We love being able to customize our pharmacy workflow—it’s an easy to follow step by step chain from billing in the pharmacy software to checking patients out at the point of sale, all the way to delivery using their intuitive delivery application! Everything is accurate and incredibly easy to use. We do a tremendous amount of deliveries from the pharmacy, so having an integrated electronic delivery system has been a time saver for us. Datascan’s electronic mobile delivery app allows us to create delivery bins and zones, enter patients into their zone, and help to quickly create a delivery manifest. On top of that it integrates with Google Maps to create an optimized route for our drivers. Datascan was even willing to create a “price checker” we can leave out in our aisles so customers can scan items and check the price, just like in the big chains.
D: What is your outlook for the future of independent pharmacy?
PP: While there is no way of knowing what the future will bring, we are confident that choosing the best partners for our business means the difference between success, more profits and more automation, or being frustrated daily with problems. In the past, the old pharmacy software vendors we worked with continuously disappointed us. We were left constantly with issues, no immediate response times and little to no flexibility. That all changed once we started working with Datascan. We know that if we continue to offer a level of customer service that no other pharmacy in our area is willing or able to do that our patients will remain loyal to us. We’re lucky to have found that same level of service in our pharmacy software vendor and know that our continued partnership will carry us far into the future.