How Pharmacy Management Software Is Changing the Industry

To patients, pharmacies are fairly straightforward. A healthcare provider gives the patient a prescription. The patient brings the prescription to the pharmacy. The pharmacy fills the prescription. It’s all relatively simple, and even though there may be some slight variations to this process, or even the occasional complication, the overall procedure is anything but complex — in the eyes of the average patient.

However, to those who work behind the scenes, complexity is only the beginning.

Modern pharmacies have many responsibilities.

When patients go to a pharmacy to fill a prescription, they tend to only see their own interaction. But that interaction is only one in billions. In fact, according to the most recent available data, approximately 4.45 billion prescriptions are written and filled in the United States every year, and 73% of patients have been prescribed medication within the past year.

Given the dangers associated with using and misusing certain medications, every one of those billions of prescriptions requires extensive verification and authorization. Pharmacists are required to prepare medications, review physician orders, maintain and control the pharmacy inventory, work with billing and insurance companies, identify therapeutic incompatibilities, provide counseling, and work with pharmacy technicians to maintain pharmacy operational requirements. And that’s to say nothing of the rigorous protocols and legal compliances that need to be followed.

Taken altogether, these vital tasks and responsibilities represent billions of points of data that need to be closely — and constantly — monitored. This creates a significant resource drain on modern pharmacies, but of far greater importance are the dangers that come from misplaced or misinterpreted data. After all, a simple medication given in the wrong doses or to the wrong patient can have disastrous consequences.

Additionally, pharmacies face a certain amount of competition. There are over 67,000 pharmacies in the U.S., often located within drug stores or other retail locations, and most patients have a number of options to choose from when decided where to fill their prescriptions. Pharmacies that fail to meet patient expectations (such as those associated with wait times) may find themselves having to close their doors.

Pharmacy management software provides a viable, and much needed, solution.

What is pharmacy management software?

With the introduction of accessible information technology, industries of all types have been able to revolutionize their data management. And, thanks to the benefits of automated information processing, important-yet-repetitive tasks now can be performed with previously unheard-of levels of accuracy. When applied to use in pharmacies, this technology is called “pharmacy management software.”

Pharmacy management software is designed to help improve pharmacy operations, promote better patient health outcomes, and increase ongoing revenue. It does this by tracking patient data and billing information. High-quality pharmacy management software solutions can also help ensure regulatory compliance and even automate drug prescription processing.

And while few pharmacies still rely on analog, paper-based data management systems, the same cannot always be said for their patients. Twenty-eight percent of patients keep their medical records in a physical (rather than digital) location — such as a shoebox. The switch to digital is one that benefits both patients and pharmacies, by giving authorized users on either side of the counter access to the same data, up to date and accurate, no matter who is accessing it.

Of course, to achieve this goal, pharmacies need to be able to rely on pharmacy management software to cover a wide range of tasks and functionalities. That said, thanks to new cloud-based solutions, pharmacies are finding that accurate automation and data management are not only possible, but also extremely attainable.

The cloud offers significant advantages.

The cloud is a term used to describe any system or software that is maintained offsite. Where inhouse systems rely on onsite servers — hardware located and maintained on premises — cloud-based systems rely on internet connections to facilitate communication between users and hardware systems not located on the premises. This offers a number of advantages for the pharmacy market.

For one thing, cloud-based technology eliminates several key expenses. Cloud solutions demand no server-related hardware or maintenance costs. As the servers are kept offsite, these concerns are handled by the cloud provider, who ensure that everything is kept functioning optimally. This also means that IT payroll costs are generally significantly lower for cloud adopters. And, because cloud technology takes the responsibility of data maintenance off of the shoulders of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, it naturally results in decreased opportunity costs — professionals have more hours to devote to the areas of their expertise, rather than having to spend their extremely limited time managing data.

The cloud also provides improved security over in-house systems. The unfortunate truth is that pharmacies sometimes find themselves the target of break-ins. But beyond just the medications that are retained on the premises, patient data is likewise becoming a valuable commodity. Onsite servers and computers that contain patient information can be stolen, exposing the patients themselves to a variety of legal and personal complications. This is to say nothing of other onsite dangers. Fires, floods, and natural disasters may damage in-house servers beyond repair, potentially resulting in lost data. The cloud is also better protected against cyber threats. In fact, Gartner predicts that in 2018, the businesses that implement appropriate cloud visibility and control tools will experience one-third fewer security failures, and through 2022, at least 95% of cloud security failures will be a result of user error. Given that 60% of small businesses that experience data loss end up shutting down within six months, protecting that data is of vital importance.

The cloud offers other advantages as well. By empowering authorized users to access up-to-the-minute data over the internet, direct collaboration becomes much easier. Multiple users can work with the same information without having to be in the same location, and pharmacists can perform certain tasks remotely for improved efficiency.

The cloud makes advanced pharmacy management software a possibility, but how are pharmacies implementing this new technology?

Pharmacy management software connects pharmacists and patients in a meaningful way.

Making the switch from legacy computer systems to cloud-based pharmacy management gives pharmacies the power to keep accurate track of potentially millions of patients and patient interactions. This means improved oversight and significantly fewer prescription medication errors. Additionally, pharmacies can use management software to incorporate automation services, such as automated reminders. But perhaps the most meaningful advantage of pharmacy management software lies in how it allows pharmacists to actually connect with their patients.

When a patient has a question or concern regarding their medication, they are just as likely to reach out to their pharmacist as they are to reach out to their healthcare provider. By giving pharmacists direct, easy access to relevant, up-to-date patient information, pharmacy management software facilitates a better patient-pharmacist relationship. Patients are able to enjoy a one-to-one customer journey, guided by someone who understands their needs and concerns on a personal level.

Is this important to patients? Research suggests that it is. Approximately 72% of American patients would rather do business with pharmaceutical providers who are engaged in their outcomes, rather than those who are not. Medication is a personal subject. As such, patients are more likely to want to do business with pharmacies that demonstrate a personal interest in their well-being, and who are willing and able to interact with them on a personal level.

Accurate data, simplified care, and personalized engagement — cloud-based pharmacy management makes it all possible.

Advanced pharmacy management software is optimizing the industry.

To the untrained eye, pharmacies may not look like much more than places where people in white lab coats put pills into bottles. But the truth is that pharmacies are complex, data-driven hubs of activity that have a lot more going on than meets the eye. By incorporating reliable pharmacy management solutions, pharmacists can effectively eliminate errors, decrease costs, and help more patients in less time.

But even more than that, pharmacy management software brings patients and pharmacists together, for a more personalized customer journey. After all, today’s patients expect more from their pharmacies than just filled prescriptions; they expect fast, accurate assistance from someone who understands their situation.

Health Cloud brings the business advantages of the world’s number one customer relationship management (CRM) service to pharmacies. For advanced, industry specific capabilities that promote a truly connected patient journey, check out Health Cloud today and get ready put data to work for the patient.