Datascan Featured Pharmacy: The Prescription Shoppe
Despite only being open for two years, The Prescription Shoppe in Williamsburg, VA has become a household name in their community. Owners Henry and Jade Ranger are proof that the future for Independent Pharmacy is very bright. Since opening its doors in 2019 The Prescription Shoppe pharmacy has built up an outstanding reputation within their community. Much of their success is owed to their commitment to offering exceptional service, something Henry looked for when it came time to partnering with a pharmacy software vendor. Having worked in corporate retail pharmacy for many years, Henry knew that to be successful he needed to do more for his community and patients. When choosing the best pharmacy software vendor partner for The Prescription Shoppe, he knew just how important quality customer service would be to running his business successfully.
Datascan: Tell us a little about your pharmacy, its history and how you got started.
TPS: We are a full-service independent, community pharmacy that is family owned and locally operated. The Prescription Shoppe officially opened its doors on March 6th, 2019. (Henry basically said that he’d had enough with corporate and wanted to get back to true patient care; back to just the basics) We decided to take a leap of faith and as it turns out, patient care is exactly what our community was longing for. We thrive on being involved and engaging with our community. In the short time period since we opened, our family has been completely embraced within the Greater Williamsburg area; we are thankful for the opportunity to serve our friends and neighbors.
Datascan: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as an independent pharmacy over the years?
TPS: We think that most independent pharmacy owners will agree that the DIR fees which are imposed on us by PBMs are the biggest hurdle. Fortunately through Datascan’s pharmacy software we’re able to better manage DIR fees through their DIR dashboard. We can also turn on reimbursement warnings to help us analyze our claims in real-time at adjudication to hopefully correct some of these losses. We’re able to easily manage these warnings through organized queues in our pharmacy software, cutting down on some of the fees and clawbacks. Hopefully, with the new legislation coming down the pipeline we will see significant improvements. Outside of those DIR fees, just maintaining a work/life balance as small business owners would be the next biggest challenge. Henry and I are constantly working whether we are physically present in our store or not. It’s pretty much non-stop around the clock for us. Trying to create more opportunities for downtime is something that we are currently focusing on to improve our overall well-being and quality of life. We’re fortunate that our pharmacy system can be set up to email us reports that allow us to manage the store while we’re not physically there.
Datascan: How did you combat those challenges to set your pharmacy up for success?
TPS: We have tried to make our voices heard through our local government and by being members of organizations such as VPHA or APHA as it relates to DIR fees. Ultimately, as independent community pharmacy owners, we realize that without having a niche, there is no way that we would be able to survive just filling prescriptions alone. You have to know your patient population, we are blessed to live in a town that loves to support local. In addition to offering your essential over-the-counter items, we also have a selection of specialty skincare, wellness teas and CBD products for our patients. Managing our OTC products and front-end has been so easy with Datascan’s pharmacy point of sale. We’re able to easily create inventory categories, set reorder points, and even export/import our PO’s directly to our pharmacy wholesalers. Inventory is such a huge overhead so it was important that we have a great intuitive POS to manage our products. Something else that The Prescription Shoppe focuses heavily on is vaccine administration. Datascan has built some really great and helpful tools to accommodate this like their vaccine templates. The templates have helped us to fill more vaccine prescriptions, ultimately making it easier for us to help more patients than we ever imagined possible. Datascan’s pharmacy software also automatically reports our vaccines to the state registry, which saves us a lot of time! We have affectionately become known by our small town as “the one-stop shot Shoppe!” Of course, we cannot avoid the DIR fees with our Medicare part D plan patients, but there are several vaccinations that patients less than 65 years old are in need of. So vaccines like flu shots (which we do a lot of) we are solely making a profit on as well as being paid the administration fees.
Datascan: What are some unique things you’re doing to set yourselves apart?
TPS: Patients can literally go anywhere. The Prescription Shoppe pharmacy doesn’t have a drive-thru and we don’t stay open super late in the evenings. Plus, we are closed on Sundays and major holidays like most other independent pharmacies. Because we realize that we may not be the most convenient option, we strive to make sure that we are the BEST option. That means that our customer service is “second to none,” as Henry likes to say. Our staff goes above and beyond to make our customers feel like family; we really get to know our patients. When someone has a birth in the family, or a death, we acknowledge them. Taking the additional time to send greeting cards and add our personal touch has been very lucrative for our business. The folks in Williamsburg appreciate the hometown feel that they experience whenever they step foot into our store. Everything about our pharmacy is very warm and inviting; from the Tiffany blue décor to the scent of essential oils floating in the air. We emphasize attention to detail in all areas of our business, and so far so good. One of the many reasons we chose to partner with Datascan for our pharmacy software is that we felt they offered the same level of service that we knew we could provide to our patients. It was important to us that we worked with vendors who held the same values as we did, and that their focus was on us as people and not just another customer. With Datascan, we don’t sit on hold waiting for support.
Datascan: What made you decide to go into independent / community pharmacy?
TPS: Henry and I both have pretty big personalities. We love good people, good conversation and our community. Having the space to design what we feel patient care should be is something that we never had when working for the big chains. Everything with them is so rigid; the focus is always on the “margins.” While we realize that as business owners you obviously have to make decisions to ensure profitability, we do actually care about our patients as well. Every decision that we make is in the best interest of both our business and our patients, so we each benefit. Choosing to work with Datascan as our pharmacy software vendor, we have seen that there are still vendors out there who focus on its customers, and not only their bottom line. While we understand the importance of running a profitable business, we’d never do so at the expense of our patients or quality of care we offer. Datascan has treated us the exact same way—we never feel like just another number or a “paycheck” for the company. Our voices are heard and our opinions are respected. We truly feel valued as a customer and hope that our patients feel the exact same way coming into The Prescription Shoppe for their pharmacy needs.
Datascan: What made you decide to partner with Datascan?
TPS: Honestly, all of the pharmacy software systems have bells and whistles. So while you probably can’t really go wrong either way, the difference between Datascan and the others that we considered is the customer service. As a new startup, there were plenty of things that we didn’t know or needed additional assistance with. Sarah Callioras, has been absolutely amazing. At The Prescription Shoppe, we believe very strongly in going the extra mile and above and beyond. Datascan proved to us through their actions that they feel exactly the same way. Their entire staff is awesome and Henry and I appreciate how supportive and helpful that they have all been along this journey with us. Aside from having truly amazing customer service, the technology they offer is innovative yet easy to use, affordable, and so far ahead of the competition. Our patients love being able to use a mobile application or sign in on line to view their profiles and send refill requests. It’s helped them to better manage their medications and ultimately has helped us to reduce DIR fees due to better compliance. The scheduler in Datascan’s pharmacy software has made it easier for us to get more accomplished every single day! We’re able to automate tasks like refill requests, reprocessing PA’s, and even completely running our auto refills RX’s. The best part is that all of these features are included and we’re not paying extra for them! Many of the other pharmacy system vendors we looked into wanted to charge fees for all of the things Datascan offered us free.
Datascan: What are some of the ways you use Datascan’s software to help in your pharmacy? What features are particularly helpful in your store?
TPS: Prescription insurance look-up has been wonderful and makes our lives so much easier during the first of the year, when everyone has new or updated insurance plans; it also makes us look efficient when a new patient comes to pick up and their script is ready to go and has already been successfully submitted to their insurance (patients are usually pleasantly surprised). Text message reminders and capability to send out custom, mass text messages to our patients has been particularly helpful when we need to get urgent messages out to them. Also, the ability to bill vaccinations and have them automatically uploaded to the state immunization registry has been invaluable, especially in the era of covid vaccine reporting. In general, our staff has always felt that the system is very user friendly and comprehensive.
Datascan: What’s your outlook on the future of independent pharmacy?
TPS: We are optimistic that independent pharmacy is going to keep making a comeback. The big corporations have lost focus on what is truly important, patient care. Henry and I will not be the last pharmacists to decide that enough is enough and take a leap of faith. Even in the two short years since we have been in business, we have had other pharmacists reach out to inquire about beginning the process of opening their own pharmacies. We give them pointers, offer different resources and cheer them on along. The way we see it, the more new and emerging independent pharmacies the better! As pharmacists, we can take back our profession and put the care back into patient care if we continue to work together, and remember what’s truly important. New legislation will also be a turning point within our profession as a whole. Our hope is that younger pharmacists, like the fourth year pharmacy students that we precept will be inspired to branch out and start their own pharmacies so that independent pharmacies continue to have an impact on our communities and our patients overall.