The pharmacist role has evolved significantly in recent years, with an increasing number of pharmacists taking on more responsibilities and expanding the clinical services they offer for patients in their communities. That said, while simply filling and billing is no longer the reality of the pharmacist role as it exists today, the prescription center is still the lifeblood of a pharmacy. It needs to function as smoothly as possible to build stronger patient relationships and deliver better community care.
Of course, doing so is easier said than done—especially amid all the other changes we faced in 2020. Here’s how you can use modern pharmacy technology to transform the prescription center of your pharmacy.
Using Pharmacy Technology to Transform Your Prescription Center
Many pharmacies today are largely driven by automation technology, which can make internal processes easier by streamlining prescription center workflows and positively impacting the time and energy of pharmacy staff. With the right technology at their fingertips, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can free up more time to spend caring for patients and offering the clinical services they need most.
According to a survey by the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), independent pharmacists continue to embrace workflow technologies to improve both their efficiency and effectiveness. In fact, 89 percent utilized a point-of-sale system in 2018, a number which is likely to continue increasing in the future as more and more pharmacists begin to recognize the numerous benefits of investing in technology.
Using pharmacy technology that sits on top of their pharmacy management system (PMS) enables independent pharmacists to:
Automate Time-Consuming Manual Tasks
Pharmacy automation technology empowers pharmacists to automate the time-intensive manual workflows to transform the prescription center operations. By shifting from manual to electronic eligibility verification, streamlining cumbersome tasks associated with compliance and regulatory requirements, and finding other creative ways to work more efficiently with the help of technology, pharmacists can get much-needed time back in their day and spend it engaging with patients one-on-one.
The benefits don’t end there. With improved efficiency comes increased prescription volume and profitability, without the need to add man-hours or overhead costs. In fact, many pharmacies even find they can reduce their overhead costs by relieving staff of manual workflows and enabling them to work as efficiently as possible.
Prioritize Patient Safety with Electronic Prescribing
Pharmacists play a critical role when it comes to ensuring medication safety and error-free prescribing. While every great pharmacist already makes patient safety a priority, it can be difficult to stay on top of emerging news and important drug-related indications from manufacturers.
Fortunately, electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) not only helps pharmacists and staff work more efficiently, but also aids in prioritizing patient safety above all else.
Modern pharmacy technology offers built-in clinical flags and important alerts to make pharmacists aware of medication indications and lessen the risk of adverse events such as unwelcome complications, drug interactions, or medication discontinuation. Plus, e-prescribing reduces prescription mishaps and minimizes data entry mistakes due to illegible handwriting, human error, and other results of outdated prescribing practices.
Reduce Overhead Costs and Unnecessary Waste
As we mentioned, pharmacists can significantly reduce overhead costs by relieving staff of manual work and allowing them to work more efficiently. This not only offsets the cost of the technology, but also helps identify other opportunities to minimize unnecessary waste. For example, real-time inventory management across pharmacy locations make it easy to reduce expired medications and supply overages, while also minimizing supply shortages and keeping the shelves adequately stocked, so to speak.
The newfound ability to take back control and gain greater visibility into pharmacy inventory is even more beneficial in the COVID-19 age, when many pharmacies have faced unprecedented supply chain challenges due to the pandemic. With technology to support these efforts, pharmacists can rest assured they have what patients need, when they need it—meaning no more treatment delays or excuses for non-adherence.
Drive Medication Adherence Improvements
When patients are adherent and committed to taking their medications as prescribed, they’re more likely to have positive treatment outcomes. Adherent patients are also much less likely to experience unwelcome and unnecessary complications as a result of stopping or skipping doses of their medication. The great news is, independent pharmacists can make use of technology to start a medication synchronization (med sync) program and spot opportunities to improve adherence.
Introducing a med sync program makes refilling prescriptions easier for both your patients and your pharmacy staff, which ultimately helps to cut down on missed prescriptions, improving medication adherence and generating additional revenue. Pharmacies can generate as much as $90,000 in additional annual revenue for every 100 multiple medication patients who are enrolled in a med sync program.
In addition to implementing and managing a med sync program, pharmacists can turn to technology to identify which patients are most likely to be non-adherent based on their prescription history and take action to drive improvements. For example, pharmacists can offer targeted intervention counseling and/or include adherence packaging directly on prescriptions to reduce non-adherence in patients who are behind on their refills.
Running an Efficient Prescription Center with Technology
The pharmacy industry has been forever changed by the evolving role of pharmacists, the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, and technological advancements that change how we work and deliver patient care. Using advanced technology can help pharmacists address these changes head-on, allowing for increased profits, improved adherence, and a prescription center that operates as smoothly as possible.
When the prescription center at your pharmacy is operating efficiently and without complications, you can free up time for yourself (and your pharmacy technicians) to spend interacting with patients and providing top-quality clinical care services that are much-needed in your community.
Curious about technology benefits beyond the pharmacy prescription center? Download our free guide to learn about How Technology Additions to Pharmacy Management Systems Help Independent Pharmacies Improve Efficiency and Customer Care.