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Become the pharmacy of the future with technology solutions

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Technology helps manage every aspect of pharmacy.

Technology is reshaping how healthcare is delivered. From doctors’ offices to pharmacies, many innovative ideas and solutions are poised to change the way pharmacies interact with their customers and patients.

drug topics® discussed some of these solutions with Eric Lindsay, MBA, Vice President of Product Management at OmniSYS.

drug topics®: Please give an overview of the available technologies to help pharmacies and pharmacists manage compliance. What, if any, are the challenges of these technologies?

Eric Lindsey: The field of compliance is complex and multifaceted, so we will focus on the aspects that are most pressing to our readers.

Pharmacist qualification: The growing movement associated with pharmacists as healthcare providers has increased the need for pharmacists to obtain qualifications for certain clinical services, resulting in an increased demand for related information technology services. As this need is relatively new, this is challenging for both pharmacies and pharmacists, increasing the need for pharmacists to partner with knowledgeable technology vendors.

Some pharmacies may prefer to outsource the qualification process to a third party based on resource constraints and specialties. In such cases, you need a system that facilitates items such as information gathering, status tracking, and error correction.

Let’s go one step further and consider the following patient experience scenario. The patient searches for the location of a pharmacy that offers the services he requires, and when he reaches the pharmacy, he discovers that a qualified pharmacist is not present at the time of the patient’s visit. Pharmacies need a solution that ensures that when a patient searches for a particular service location, the appropriate qualified pharmacist is available at the location presented. This looks rather simple, but it actually adds complexity. Think of a pharmacy that offers different services by pharmacists with different qualifications. These pharmacists and services may only be offered during certain hours. That information is important to present to patients during their search for services and locations. Dedicated technology that addresses these nuances is essential to ensuring an exceptional patient experience.

Medication compliance: Medication adherence can be viewed as a patient need based on its impact on clinical outcomes and financial impact on pharmacy. Pharmacists are well positioned to influence behavior in this area based on their status as trusted health care providers and the breadth of information technology solutions available.

Information technology solutions pharmacists can use to influence medication adherence include:

  • Patient communication solution Promote medication adherence through patient refill reminders, reminders when it’s time to pick up medication, and related educational materials
  • Solution for grouping prescriptions Same-day delivery is now possible, greatly improving convenience for patients
  • analysis tools This can be used by pharmacists to identify non-adhering or at-risk patients who may wish to call personally or otherwise contact that patient’s physician
  • Data visualization function Provide actionable trending patient risk reporting to prescribers, clients and payers
  • Interoperable or integrated pharmacy and laboratory solutions Supports the exchange of laboratory test results to monitor medication adherence, guide patient care, modify treatment plans and confirm clinical impressions

These types of solutions are offered by a variety of vendors, from vendors that offer only a subset of these specialized services to large enterprise solution vendors. There are several services dedicated to pharmacy solution providers that are well suited to addressing the nuances of pharmacy and the rapidly evolving business model underway.

Pharmacies in all markets need to think strategically about how their technology stacks and partners fit into the future so that they can determine the best platforms and partners for their current and future business.

What are the most important considerations for pharmacists/dispensers when deciding which technology to implement in their practice?

The process of selecting the right technology vendor for pharmacists and their staff will vary based on their individual needs. However, there are some common considerations across pharmacies.

  • Strategic direction: Are pharmacists/pharmacies and vendors in agreement on the direction of the industry and therefore how the solution should move forward?
  • Proven Solutions: Does the technology vendor have a proven track record?
  • Expertise and Advocacy: Beyond technology providers, are they experts in your business, advocating for your industry alongside governments, payers, associations, and other key stakeholders?
  • Operational suitability: Does the solution fit the pharmacy’s approach to care and has the necessary integration into existing workflows?
  • Return on Investment: Which vendor will provide the greatest return, either by driving growth or by reducing costs, and how long will it take to achieve this return?
  • Partnership considerations: Can the vendor address partnership needs such as support hours, service level agreements, system integration and data encryption?

What are some of the most common workflow issues pharmacists face, and how can technology address these issues? How can I deal with

Pharmacists and pharmacy staff are feeling tired and burnt out in a variety of clinical settings due to staff shortages, professional demands, and the realities surrounding COVID-19. Many people might think that adding new technology to a system only means that there is more to learn, but when the technology fits right in, the opposite can be seen. Technology can greatly improve the workflow efficiency of pharmacy teams, allowing pharmacists and their teams to spend more time with patients. Technology solutions can also provide additional benefits such as improved medication adherence, reduced risk, increased revenue, and enhanced customer convenience and experience.

Apart from pharmacy management systems, typical solutions that follow the flow of prescriptions and improve workflow efficiency include:

  • Inventory management solution Automate the prescription filling process and reduce administrative tasks.
  • U&C Pricing Solution Runs automatically on a set schedule to address staffing constraints while maximizing third-party reimbursements by lowering payouts at U&C events
  • Patient communication solution Automate inbound and outbound communications (e.g. replenishment reminders, phone reservation alerts, business hours, etc.)
  • Clinical documentation solution Support the expanding role of pharmacies as providers.
  • Immunization registration reporting solution Automate the process of submitting vaccination claims to state registries and facilitate easy means of correcting errors