Running an independent pharmacy, even with advancements in technology, is still very challenging, even today. With declining reimbursements, PBM’s constantly in your pockets between DIR fees, GER fees, and audits, owners need to find new profit centers, and most importantly find a way to operate as lean as possible. That means you need the ability to get more done, with less staff. Let’s face it, aside from inventory, staffing is the next biggest drain financially on a community pharmacy.
Knowing all of this, a pharmacy software system should deliver on all fronts:
Pharmacy software should be easy to use
If its easy to operate, that means its also easy to train new staff on how to use it. If the interface is programmed in a logical way, anyone should be able to fill prescriptions with ease, freeing up your time to work in other areas of the pharmacy. Ease of use also means the ability to operate the pharmacy management system via keystrokes in the fill screen – you should never NEED the mouse. A user-friendly interface will allow for minimal training with regards to the most important and frequent day to day operations from filling prescriptions, adjudicating prescription claims, to printing labels and editing scripts.
If the fill screen on your pharmacy system is too busy, with a lot of empty boxes that you need to read one by one to decipher whether you need to enter data in them, that is wasting your time and that of your technicians. A simple screen that easily leads you to the promised land, aka a paid claim to get that patient out the door, is key to efficiency and speed. Sometimes more doesn’t mean better – some software for pharmacies overwhelm users with too many buttons, words and features on one screen. That is especially true with how many options and data points are displayed at one time on the fill screen of all pharmacy systems. The best pharmacy software designers and programmers have experienced live what occurs in a pharmacy day to day. They know the chain of command or workflow of a busy pharmacy, and can utilize that experience to help build user friendly pharmacy management software.
Retail pharmacy software needs to have simple integration with the pharmacy point of sale system
This helps track prescriptions from start to sold and / or delivered. It helps track patient history for both RX and OTC purchasing, and should tie family members together to help see overall profitability of any given patient/family. The pharmacy POS needs to get data in real time from the pharmacy software system to perform functions such as alerting when there are other prescriptions that have not been picked up, or stop a prescription that was denied from an insurance company from walking out the door at a loss. Tying these systems in seamlessly will help drive better data, provide accurate reporting, save you from losing money, and overall give the software customer and the pharmacy patient the best overall experience.
The Best Pharmacy computer systems have many different screens, features and capabilities
So when you depart the fill screen (where you will spend most of your time), how easy is it to navigate around the pharmacy system? Take a close look at patient profiles and how they present data. Once in the profile, is it easy to find what your looking for, and take the next step/action? This is where mouse functionality can be welcomed. A quick click of the mouse should offer you a myriad of functions simply by clicking on any prescription. With so many different actions one would need to do with a prescription (reverse, retransmit, reprint a label, send a PA, void, etc), this is not the place you should have to remember shortcut keys. Quick easy to use navigation in your pharmacy computer system will absolutely build efficiency into your business.
Automation that is easy to use within a pharmacy computer system is what helps build efficiency beyond the fill screen
Automating tasks and putting the pharmacy software to work for you saves you time personally, and saves you labor costs. The best pharmacy systems on the market will offer all different utilities that can be scheduled to run automatically when you want them to. Putting the pharmacy management software to use in this manner will allow it to pay you back multiples over what it costs you monthly.
Organizing all of your tasks by paper is so 1980s. Your pharmacy management system should do just that, help manage your business
When you send PA’s out, have rejected claims, organizing your MTM opportunities, tracking RX’s with quantities owed, tracking new prescription requests sent to doctors – the list goes on and on for these tasks that all require follow ups. Are you still managing all of this using plastic bins, cardboard with notes and prescriptions stacked in them and sticky notes? If so, stop the madness! Put your pharmacy computer system to work for you! Doing things the ‘old school way’ is opening you up to mistakes and potential delays in serving your patients. Again, the best pharmacy software on the market will help you organize these tasks in queues. Assign a staff member to manage them, and focus on growing your business.
The top pharmacy software systems on the market will check all of these boxes off. Running any business is stressful, add the mix of being the owner of an independent pharmacy in and it escalates from there. So why make your life harder? Just because a pharmacy system looks pretty, doesn’t mean it will help you run your business more efficiently. Maybe your friend recommended the system they use (and user recommendations are important), but it does not necessarily mean that is the right system for you. Shop around and look carefully at pharmacy computer systems from a different perspective. Don’t focus on price, don’t focus on the look at first glance. Think about how you will train new users, how you will implement the technology into your day-to-day workflow. Can you see it saving you time and money? If not, run. Take your time, because no one wants to switch their pharmacy software if they can avoid it in the long run.