2020 has certainly been one for the books. Just about every industry has been impacted by COVID-19, and pharmacy is no exception. From enforcing social distancing and increasing sanitization protocols to ensuring adequate stock and meeting community guidelines, pharmacists today are faced with a number of new challenges to navigate.
Fortunately, advanced pharmacy software features have helped pharmacists as they work to adapt to the new normal. Here’s how 2020 has altered the pharmacy industry, plus why software is important for getting through difficult times.
Pharmacy in 2020: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Industry
The events of 2020 have had a significant impact on the pharmacy industry as a whole, as well as the software market—and those changes are likely here to stay. Pharmacists, who play a very important role as community caregivers, are adjusting to the changes and preparing for what’s ahead.
To help with navigating the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued guidance for community pharmacies during the COVID-19 response. The CDC’s guidelines apply to all pharmacy staff and were designed to minimize risk of exposure for team members and patients alike.
The guidance calls for implementing universal use of face coverings, advises pharmacy staff members who are sick to stay home and away from the workplace until they are recovered, and encourages the use of social distancing strategies to minimize close contact clinical care services. The CDC also offers guidance on reducing risk during COVID-19 testing, which many community pharmacies have started offering.
It’s not only operational changes that are taking place. The pharmacy software market has also been subject to a number of changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now pharmacists have new areas of concern, and they are looking for different pharmacy software features to help them address pain points and navigate the new normal.
Why Pharmacy Software Is Important During Difficult Times
Pharmacy software is always beneficial, but it has been especially helpful for patients and pharmacists alike during the pandemic. Modern pharmacy software solutions are essential for getting through difficult times when it comes to transparency and meeting community guidelines.
The features that pharmacists are looking for in 2020 are potentially radically different than the ones they needed prior to COVID-19. Today, many pharmacists are looking for pharmacy software features that help them with a myriad of tasks associated with the pandemic.
Medical Billing and Reconciliation
COVID-19 has introduced several changes that impact medical billing, from different prescribing habits to new billing codes. Now that pharmacists have the opportunity to offer COVID-19 testing and future vaccinations, they need peace of mind that their billing software has the features they need to navigate these changes and ensure they’re paid for the services offered.
Of course, the selection of medical billing software matters both during COVID-19 and after the fact. The right solution allows pharmacists to submit medical billing claims and optimize reimbursements for clinical care services and supplies. With the ability to expand service offerings, pharmacists can grow their business and improve access to care in rural, underserved communities.
Real-Time Inventory Tracking
Ensuring adequate stock is essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. The right pharmacy software features, such as real-time pharmacy inventory tracking, allow pharmacists to easily determine which quantities they have on hand and reorder items automatically as stock becomes low. This ultimately prevents medication and supply shortages, ensuring they always have access to the therapies patients need and can meet continuous demand.
Pharmacists can utilize pharmacy technology to manage medication synchronization (med sync) programs, which allow patients to fill multiple prescriptions at one time. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, med sync programs are a great way to limit the number of in-person pharmacy visits and minimize both patient and staff exposure to the virus.
On top of social distancing benefits, med sync programs also improve medication adherence and offer a convenient way for patients to access the medications they need. According to the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), med sync patients are more than 2.5 times more likely to be adherent and 21 percent less likely to discontinue drug therapy.
With access to advanced pharmacy technology, pharmacists can automate time-consuming tasks to work more efficiently. Streamlining pharmacy workflows frees up pharmacists and technicians to focus on new COVID-19-related tasks. For example, automated drug dispensing offers a convenient, efficient way to fill prescriptions. And by automating the reordering of supplies, pharmacists can prevent potential shortages before they occur.
Advanced Pharmacy Analytics
Access to advanced pharmacy analytics and reporting allows pharmacists to utilize patient data to track and improve profitability. This can be accomplished by identifying new ways to save on supplies, reduce waste, and work as efficiently as possible. In addition, pharmacy analytics can help pinpoint low-hanging fruit opportunities to drive better business results and improve patient care.
Plus, the benefits extend beyond those related to COVID-19. For example, many pharmacists turn to pharmacy analytics to improve medication adherence by using data to take action and monitor success. This, in turn, helps to improve care quality and increase U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) star ratings.
Utilizing Pharmacy Solutions in 2020 and Beyond
Access to advanced pharmacy software with these features empowers pharmacists and technicians to offer the best (and safest) services possible during such difficult times.
If you’re struggling to adapt amidst the pandemic like many other pharmacists, consider utilizing pharmacy software solutions to aid in the transition. Pharmacy technology can help to ease the burden on pharmacists as they navigate the changes brought on by COVID-19. By choosing the right technology for your pharmacy, you can realize improved clinical, financial, and operational performance—even during the global pandemic.Request a demo of the FDS suite of pharmacy solutions to see firsthand how they can benefit you, your pharmacy, and your patients during trying times.