These days, nearly every industry has been transformed by technology—and the pharmacy industry is no exception. Independent pharmacies feel the pressure to adopt new technology in order to keep up with big-box chain stores, but knowing which tools to embrace is easier said than done.
Just having some form of pharmacy technology isn’t enough; it has to be the right technology in order to provide all the associated benefits. So what exactly is the right technology for an independent pharmacy and how does it differ from larger, multinational pharmacies? We’ll break it down for you.
How Using Technology Benefits Pharmacies of All Sizes
Both independent and large, retail chain pharmacies benefit from using technology in a myriad of ways. For example, here’s how the president of Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Brian Nightengale, RPh, explains it:
“In addition to data sharing, there is a push for independents to meet patients where they are, specifically online. Technology, such as social media and mobile apps, has aided in the pharmacist’s role and expanded their reach. It has allowed the pharmacist’s knowledge to extend from the pharmacy directly to the hands of their patients, no matter where they are, to create a better patient experience and improve adherence. We expect technology to impact the overall customer experience model and increase the importance of connecting the pharmacy’s physical and digital presence.”
With that said, independent and larger pharmacies have different needs and benefit from using technology in different ways. Most independent pharmacies are not only looking for ways to save time and be more proactive with patients, but also for ways to identify cost-savings opportunities that help scale up the business and keep the lights on.
Solutions that Enhance Independent Pharmacy Performance
Smaller, independent pharmacies experience improved clinical, financial, and operational performance as a result of using the following technological solutions:
Medical Billing Software
Independent pharmacies can streamline medical billing and eliminate inefficiencies in the process with access to the right technology. Medical billing software optimizes reimbursement for services, equipment, medications, and supplies provided to patients.
Not only that, but an integrated medical billing solution empowers independent pharmacies to expand and bill for clinical care services. This means you can finally offer flu shots and other immunizations, diagnostic testing, diabetes management, and more.
Claims Reconciliation Software
Patient care is always your number one priority—but of course, you still need to get paid to keep your doors open. Independent pharmacies lack the corporate support that comes with being a larger, retail chain pharmacy and need a comprehensive, cost-effective way to identify missing claims payments and slow-paying third parties.
Enter claims reconciliation software. This type of solution enables small pharmacy owners to zero in on claims, spot errors, and make simple corrections. Offer care with the peace of mind that comes with knowing your claims are being paid in full and on time.
Patient Management Software
Smaller community pharmacies often pride themselves on their ability to offer personalized care. Maintaining strong, lasting relationships with patients in your community has remained a top concern, and in the wake of the transition to value-based reimbursement, it’s more critical than ever before.
With patient management software, you can prioritize and deliver on clinical opportunities, effectively taking proactive steps toward population health and value-based care initiatives. Integrating this type of solution with your pharmacy management system and into your current workflow will empower you to easily identify outreach opportunities that drive improved medication adherence.
Business Intelligence Tools
These days, nearly every pharmacy utilizes data analysis to improve profitability and the health of their business. Business intelligence tools allow pharmacies to utilize patient and financial data to pinpoint opportunities to drive better business results and care.
Data and analytics tools help identify areas of business that can be improved upon, ultimately freeing pharmacists up to focus on offering more personalized patient care. Identify low-hanging fruit opportunities to drive valuable improvements that help you grow and manage your pharmacy business.
And that’s not all. Other tools, such as those for managing mail-order pharmacies and telepharmacy services, can also be extremely beneficial to small community pharmacists looking to drive better business results.
Choosing the Right Technology as an Independent Pharmacy
What features should an independent pharmacy look for? According to Kurt Seefeld, the Director of Retail Product Development, McKesson U.S. Pharma:
“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. 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. But every independent pharmacy is different, so how much each needs from one bucket can vary.”
There are also a few more important considerations to keep in mind when choosing which technology to invest in as an independent pharmacy, such as:
- Seamless integration with existing solutions. Make sure all your systems are seamlessly integrated, communicating, and working together to maximize the clinical, financial, and operational benefits to your business.
- Dedicated customer and technical support. Most modern technology is relatively user-friendly, but even the most tech-savvy can run into the occasional hiccup. Look for a solution with dedicated customer support to help when you need it.
- Customizable dashboards for reporting. Make smart use of your clinical and financial data by embracing a solution with a robust suite of reporting, including customizable dashboards that are easy to analyze.
- Automate time-consuming tasks. From medical billing and claims reconciliation to eligibility verification, there are multiple areas of your business you can automate to reduce inefficiencies. Work smarter and free up time that can be otherwise spent one-on-one with patients.
From medical billing software and patient management tools, there are multiple forms of technology available to help independent pharmacies improve performance, and we have a recent case study that highlights this fact. Learn how Magnolia Pharmacy used data tools from FDS to come back from losing their biggest prescriber, and did so in a volatile market much like the one we find ourselves in now.