Modern independent pharmacists are tasked with juggling a number of responsibilities, from engaging with patients and maintaining inventory to navigating the complex world of medical billing. On top of managing ever-increasing daily responsibilities, independent pharmacies must look for ways to compete with large, big-box locations with a widespread national presence.
Fortunately, the development of retail pharmacy computer systems has allowed pharmacists to spend more time with patients, while also better equipping pharmacy technicians to do their jobs. With the right technology at their fingertips, independent pharmacists can improve operations while enhancing patient care.
How Retail Pharmacy Software Helps Improve Operations
Modern retail pharmacy software enables independent pharmacists to improve their operations and work more efficiently by helping to navigate medical billing intricacies, streamlining time-consuming pharmacy workflows, and improving pharmacy inventory management.
Helping to navigate medical billing intricacies
These days, independent pharmacies offer more clinical care services than ever before. According to the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), 77 percent currently offer medication therapy management, 76 percent offer immunizations, and 57 percent offer blood pressure monitoring.
Now, COVID-19 has introduced the opportunity for many independent pharmacies to offer point-of-care testing, and with a vaccine on the horizon, it’s very likely service offerings will continue to expand. While expanding clinical care services is an excellent way for independent pharmacies to compete with major retail chains—not to mention to increase access to care in rural, underserved areas—new offerings introduce new, unfamiliar medical billing complexities.
B Douglas Hoey, NCPA CEO, RPh, described the current climate well: “Independent community pharmacists have long been lauded for the services patients can access and the quality care they can receive at these locally-owned pharmacies. As economic pressures on pharmacies continue—and as more medical-side payers find value in community-based pharmacies—it’s increasingly important to change the pharmacy payment model to compensate for value and recognize pharmacists for the services they do and can provide.”
Retail pharmacy software supports pharmacists navigating medical billing complexities, making the process both seamless and efficient. Using retail pharmacy software to streamline medical billing processes helps with tracking claims and pinpointing slow payers or missing claims, which maximizes reimbursement and ensures pharmacists get paid for the services and supplies they provide. This allows independent pharmacies to increase their profitability and identify new revenue streams with peace of mind they’ll be adequately reimbursed.
Streamlining time-consuming pharmacy workflows
Now that distributing medications is only one part of the pharmacist role, working efficiently is even more important. Independent pharmacies are known for offering exceptional patient care, but as service offerings increase, they’re tasked with finding creative ways to save time and manpower.
Retail pharmacy software with automation capabilities streamlines pharmacy operations, reduces the number of workflow interruptions, and cuts down on the cost per prescription. By automating manual work, pharmacists can spend more time with patients and less time bogged down by time-consuming tasks.
On top of helping pharmacists eliminate time-consuming manual tasks, automation also reduces medication dispensing errors, improving accuracy, compliance, and patient safety. This allows independent pharmacists to spend more time with patients while also remaining compliant with regulations.
Improving pharmacy inventory management
The ability to track on-hand inventory accurately and efficiently across retail locations helps pharmacists avoid drug waste and shortages. Manual inventory tracking is inefficient, costly, and often prone to inaccuracies. By taking action to better manage their inventory, independent pharmacists can increase profits and make sure the appropriate medications and supplies are readily available.
Retail pharmacy software with real-time inventory management controls can disclose out-of-stock items quickly without the need to manually track supplies. Plus, automated reordering capabilities ensure patients have access to the medications and supplies they need, when they need them—which ultimately helps drive adherence to their prescribed treatment regimens.
Why Independent Pharmacies Thrive with Solutions That Drive Adherence
Speaking of which, retail drug stores that are independent can better thrive with a pharmacy management system (PMS) that drives medication adherence. Improving adherence leads to better patient outcomes and increased profits. The right technology, with the right automation capabilities and features, empowers independent pharmacists to help patients overcome barriers to adherence, such as cost, accessibility, and time-consuming prior authorizations.
Using retail pharmacy software that drives medication adherence allows independent pharmacists to accomplish the following:
- Flag patients who are likely to be non-adherent
- Spot timely opportunities to engage and intervene
- Offer medication therapy management counseling
- Introduce medication synchronization programs
- Reduce the number of abandoned prescriptions
- Improve patient outcomes and satisfaction
Services like medication synchronization (med sync) and medication therapy management (MTM) not only increase adherence, but also improve quality of care and performance measures that impact reimbursement, like CMS Star Ratings. Adherence is significantly greater in med sync patients. In fact, according to an NCPA report, med sync patients are 2.5 times more likely to be adherent to medications and 21 percent less likely to discontinue drug therapy.
Patients will also appreciate one-on-one customer service, which improves loyalty, satisfaction, and ultimately retention—all of which is invaluable in such a competitive pharmacy environment.
Improving Patient Management and Operations with Technology
By taking advantage of advanced retail pharmacy software, independent pharmacists can improve their operations and health outcomes—while also remaining competitive in the market and increasing their revenue. If you’re considering investing in new technology for your independent pharmacy, look for solutions with features that enable affordable patient management to get the most out of the tool you choose.
Our free infographic, “The Independent Pharmacist’s Guide to Medical Billing,” dives further into the intricacies of medical billing and how to improve the health of your business. As an independent pharmacy, it is now more important than ever to increase clinical care services and strive toward becoming an entrusted neighborhood caregiver. Your patients, processes, and profits will be all the better for it!