How to Use Technology to Improve Your Pharmacy

How to Use Technology to Improve Your Pharmacy

Pharmacy software is a game-changer for independent pharmacists looking to drive business improvements. Whether independent or large, retail pharmacies benefit from using technology to work more efficiently, increase profitability, and deliver better patient care in their communities.

Smaller, independent pharmacies experience improved clinical, financial, and operational performance as a result of using technological solutions for everything from medical billing and claims reconciliation to patient management, business intelligence, and more.

How to Improve Your Pharmacy Business: The Role Technology Plays

“There is a whole new constellation of tools and technologies pharmacies are looking at that go much further and deeper than their current pharmacy management systems (PMS). The tools and technologies fall into five buckets: clinical performance, patient engagement and marketing, regulatory compliance, business analytics, and consumer mobile applications. Every pharmacy needs something from each bucket these days to be successful.”

In other words, by making smart use of advanced digital solutions, independent pharmacists can improve several areas of their business. Here are some of the business areas that see the biggest improvements with the use of technology:

Adherence

Medication adherence is a top priority within the medical community. When patients are adherent, they’re less likely to see complications and more likely to have positive treatment outcomes. Patient management software empowers independent pharmacists to develop medication synchronization (med sync) programs to improve adherence to prescribed medications.

The long-term benefits to launching a med sync program speak for themselves: Med sync patients are 2.5 times more likely to be adherent and 21 percent less likely to discontinue drug therapy. Because improved medication adherence means less missed refills and lost profits, pharmacies can generate $90,000 in additional annual revenue for every 100 multiple medication patients enrolled in a med sync program. 

(Curious about medication synchronization? Check out this  Med Sync Calculator to see the financial impact it can have on your business.)

In addition to med sync program management, software alerts independent pharmacists to non-adherent patients, allowing for timely intervention right when they’re at the counter. Pharmacists can also utilize technology to include adherence packaging directly on prescriptions to drive overall improvements.

Safety

Patient safety is always of the utmost importance for pharmacists and providers alike. Electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) helps reduce unnecessary prescription errors, ultimately improving patient safety by allowing providers to send prescriptions directly to the pharmacy. Electronic processes eliminate data entry errors due to illegible handwriting and other results of outdated prescribing practices.

Additionally,clinical flags and alerts built into e-prescribing technologies help to prevent errors and improve medication safety. For example, the right technology can alert the pharmacist if a medication has new side effects or drug interactions they should be aware of, which can lessen the risk of adverse events.

Pharmacists play an important role when it comes to medication safety and error-free prescribing. According to a Health Affairs articlealthough already very effective, e-prescribing could be made even safer if “communication between prescribers and pharmacists would be enhanced, supporting pharmacists’ counseling role.”

Compliance

Compliance is no joke, and pharmacists must do everything they can to ensure they’re complying with federal regulations. Modern technology streamlines manual tasks associated with regulatory compliance requirements around prescribing, dispensing, and distributing controlled substances.

Using technology helps meet pharmacy reimbursement compliance issues like provider participation, claims submission, overpayment disclosure and repayment, and reimbursement limitations. It also helps ensure compliance with state and federal regulations as they change over time, alerting pharmacists to any major updates to help keep them up-to-date.

Efficiency

For pharmacists, especially those at small, community pharmacies, there simply are not enough hours in the day—at least not without the help of technology. Digital solutions enable pharmacists and technicians (particularly in independent pharmacies with limited resources and lack of corporate support) to work more efficiently and free up time to spend one-on-one with patients.

Automation technology allows pharmacists to eliminate time-consuming manual processes that slow down clinical workflows and take away from time that could be spent with patients, such as checking eligibility verification and submitting, tracking, and reconciling medical billing claims. By working more efficiently, you can increase prescription volume without adding man-hours or overhead costs.

Profitability

At the end of the day, your pharmacy is still a business—and keeping it healthy is essential in order to do the same for your patients. Independent pharmacists can reduce overhead costs and unnecessary waste due to expired medications, supply overages, and inefficient workflows by using modern pharmacy technology for real-time inventory management.

Technology also empowers pharmacists to expand service offerings with enhanced clinical care services, ultimately helping to introduce new revenue streams, maintain a competitive edge in the community, and increase overall profitability. Using patient management and medical billing solutions, pharmacists can focus on new high-profit services, such as diabetes care and travel vaccines.

Not only does technology provide education and support that helps with expanding clinical care services, but also ensures fair, timely reimbursement for the services, medications, and supplies pharmacists offer. That means more revenue for your business, minus the administrative hassles that come with navigating medical billing intricacies.

Embracing Technology to Transform Your Retail Pharmacy Business

Pharmacies large and small can benefit from using digital tools to engage and interact with patients, produce clinical and business insights, and enhance business operations and patient outcomes. That said, pharmacy software features do matter. 

When you’re evaluating which technology to invest in as an independent pharmacy, keep an eye out for the following features: 

  • Seamless integration with PMS and other existing solutions
  • Ability to automate time-consuming and manual tasks
  • Customizable dashboards for reporting and analytics
  • Educational resources on clinical care services
  • Extensive medical billing and reconciliation support
  • Real-time inventory management capabilities …and more. 

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