How One Pharmacy Chain Used PMS-Integrated Technology to Increase Its Star Rating and Generate New Business
It’s not easy to run a pharmacy. In addition to the day-to-day operation of the store and all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, pharmacy owners also have to compete with mega-conglomerates like CVS and Walgreens with their convenient multiple locations, longer hours of operation, and sky-high marketing budgets. With the addition of online retailer Amazon to the pharmacy wars, the struggle is only going to get worse. Is there anything community pharmacies can do to stand out from that crowd?
It turns out, there is. Offer a customer service model that can exceed the nationally recognized chains. And that’s exactly what Mike Halliwell, Director of Pharmacy for Balls Food Stores, set out to do.
Complexities and Pain Points
When PBMs began to negatively impact reimbursement rates, Halliwell knew that something had to change if Balls Food was going to stay competitive. He decided to shift Balls Food Stores pharmacies toward adopting a CPESN model, allowing them to remain profitable without relying on dispensing prescriptions.
To achieve this goal, Halliwell broke down the specific pain points he wanted to address:
- Improve communication with pharmacists and pharmacy techs
- Increase consistency between stores to maintain a standard of care across all Balls Food locations
- Introduce enhanced services like flu shots and vaccinations, as well as the ability to address individual patient needs within critical healthcare areas — like diabetes or heart disease — and become a go-to pharmacy in that field
Ultimately, he wanted to do all these things with just one software provider. One login, one password to remember, and no headaches. Spoiler alert: He found it.
One Answer, Three Solutions
Halliwell was introduced to FDS while vetting options for his pharmacies’ pain points. He was confident that the ENGAGE, MYDATAMART, and EZDME features would be viable choices to help improve operations and put the focus back on the customers in their community.
ENGAGE, FDS’s patient management solution, would help Balls Food Stores prioritize patients, deliver on clinical opportunities, and strengthen patient relationships.
MYDATAMART, a complete business intelligence tool, would provide analytics to help Balls Food pinpoint specific opportunities to drive better business results and improve patient care. Halliwell could even send reports to individual stores to gauge progress and assess needs.
EZDME, a low-cost durable medical equipment billing solution, would allow the pharmacy to eliminate tedious paper forms and avoid costly custom hardware and systems by seamlessly integrating with existing pharmacy software all while speeding up reimbursement.
While impressive on their own, the solutions really shine when they work together. The ENGAGE and MYDATAMART platforms changed the way Halliwell was able to communicate with pharmacy staff. By generating daily reports and applying the data from multiple sources, Halliwell was able to stress the importance of specific information to pharmacists and techs, and in turn, the community. Working in tandem, the communications features of ENGAGE and the critical insights of MYDATAMART allowed Halliwell and his team to convey important responsibilities and tasks based on timing, seasonality, and individual patient needs. For example, patients filling five or more prescription drugs could be asked about enrolling in a medication synchronization program, and new patients could be informed about flu shot availability.
And The Award Goes To . . .
For its achievements, Balls Food Stores received the prestigious Pinnacle Award. By revolutionizing operations and applying analytics to Balls Food’s processes, the team was able to make better business decisions, benchmark performance, and help forecast additional revenue streams. Regular reporting and task automation eliminated labor-intensive and time-consuming manual processes, improving quality of service and quality of care.
Primary systems are now fully integrated to provide critical information with a single login. “It’s all laid out for the team in one place,” explains Halliwell. “FDS has changed how Balls Food Stores pharmacies gets information out to the front line, including the necessary numbers to better illustrate how to improve operational deficiencies and patient care.
“Most importantly, FDS has given us the ability to create a culture of accountability. The visibility and awareness of what the priorities are has shaped the pharmacy staff to become more focused to differentiate Balls Food Store Pharmacies as a community resource with great customer service and enhanced clinical care.”
Headquartered in Kansas City, MO, Balls Food Stores has 20 pharmacies housed within their supermarkets. Employing over 50 pharmacists and more than 100 pharmacy techs, the pharmacy chain fills approximately 700 prescriptions each week per location for regional communities.