Today’s most successful, profitable pharmacies have entered a new era, diversifying their patient care services and increasing their revenue streams to keep their businesses alive and thriving. Throughout 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has only further accentuated the need for pharmacists—especially independent pharmacists who manage smaller, rural stores—to rise to the challenge or risk getting left behind.
Modern pharmacy technology is the driving force behind these changes, enabling independent pharmacies to maintain a competitive edge and stay open in a complex, ever-changing environment. With profit margins shrinking, new competitors entering the market, and patient expectations constantly evolving, diversifying the pharmacy business model is now more important than ever before.
Learn how technology is driving the New Era Pharmacy, and what you can do to improve your pharmacy business for better patient care.
Modern Technology for the New Era Pharmacy
With companies like Amazon expanding to offer pharmacy services, and big box retail chains having an immediate leg up on the competition, independent pharmacies simply cannot afford to put off embracing technology. Plus, patients today expect a more convenient experience, faster service, and better care, so independent pharmacies need access to tools that enable them to offer the same services as big-box retail chains—just as efficiently and effectively.
New Era Pharmacy: The Basics
Adam McMullin, FDS CEO and pharmacy advocate, broke down the New Era Pharmacy concept in an interview with Pharmacy Times: “We think that pharmacies are incredibly well situated to integrate medication and patient care, since they’ve been giving care that’s been subsidized by the Rx distribution model. As you move to this new model, you need to understand what your patients need, at what time.”
New Era Pharmacy: The Process
With the right technology at their disposal, independent pharmacists can transform their stores into New Era Pharmacies that offer what patients need, when they need it. Digital tools enable New Era Pharmacists to provide an array of patient care services, such as:
- Medication therapy management (MTM)
- Diagnostic testing
- Diabetes prevention and management programs
- And more
Additionally, New Era Pharmacists also understand how to ensure they are compensated fairly and quickly for the services they provide.
New Era Pharmacy: The Benefits
By expanding their business to incorporate clinical care services, independent pharmacists can introduce new revenue streams and increase their profitability. Plus, technology also helps to introduce workflow efficiencies that decrease overhead costs, reduce unnecessary waste and supply overages, and pinpoint areas for cost savings and room for improvements. Each of these benefits adds up to improve the health of both the pharmacy business and patient care that New Era Pharmacists deliver today.
Overview of the Different Types of Pharmacy Technology
A New Era Pharmacy utilizes various modern technologies to help accomplish the following:
- Automate time-consuming tasks
- Work more efficiently
- Introduce new patient care services
- Cut down on overhead costs
Many of these technology tools function as add-ons that integrate with your existing pharmacy management system (PMS) to drive workflow efficiencies and improve care quality (and relationships with community care providers).
Of course, with so many different pharmacy solutions available, it can be challenging to hone in on which products, services, and features you need for your business. Here’s an overview of different types of pharmacy technology.
Patient Management and Medication Adherence
Patient management software allows New Era Pharmacists to prioritize and deliver on various clinical opportunities, such as immunizations and chronic disease management programs. By integrating a patient management solution with your pharmacy management system, you can accomplish the following:
- Streamline existing patient management workflows
- Identify outreach opportunities to drive improved medication adherence
- Take proactive steps to drive adherence by deploying and managing a medication synchronization (med sync) program
Billing for Medical Services and Equipment
As we said before, it isn’t enough to simply offer patient care services—in order to be successful and remain profitable in the New Era of pharmacy, you also need to know how to accurately bill for the clinical care services and durable medical equipment (DME) you provide.
Medical billing solutions arm independent pharmacists with direct access to helpful education and timely alerts. This empowers pharmacies to put an end to medical billing errors and reduce the number of claim denials and/or reimbursement delays that can impede cash flow and harm your business.
Pharmacy Claims Reconciliation
Even with a medical billing solution to provide much-needed support when submitting claims for reimbursement, you still need to make sure no money is left on the table—and with pharmacy claims reconciliation solutions, doing so has never been easier or more effective. With claims reconciliation technology, you can:
- Identify missing reimbursements and slow-paying third parties
- Reduce the time between check receipt and claims removal
- Ensure you’re always getting paid in full and on time
Business Intelligence Tools and Analytics
Today, nearly all business decisions are driven by data. Using pharmacy business intelligence tools with comprehensive reporting, built-in and customizable dashboards, and various exporting capabilities, New Era Pharmacists like you can:
- Measure your pharmacy’s performance and spot opportunities for improvement
- Make decisions informed by clinical, financial, and operational data
- Identify high-risk patients who require early intervention
With business intelligence tools and analytics, you’re always aware of the current state of your business from both a clinical and financial perspective.
Improving Care and Achieving Growth With Technology
To keep up in a highly competitive industry that’s constantly evolving, independent pharmacies need to be ready and willing to step up to the challenge and make smart use of technology to expand and improve on their care services. Empowered with modern digital tools designed specifically for the New Era Pharmacist, you can transform your business, drive more revenue and profitability, and take action to protect the health of your pharmacy, both today and in the days ahead.