With new competitors entering the market all the time, your chain pharmacy needs to separate itself from the pack. You also want to keep current customers while attracting new ones. This might include spending more time with them or offering additional services.

Technology can help you achieve these goals. Read on to learn how technology can improve financial, operational and clinical results at your chain pharmacy.

1. Get more from your pharmacy management system

Your pharmacy management system (PMS) is essential to daily operational success. But are you taking advantage of its best features? Steve Petrozzi poses this question in “Making Technology Work Harder for Your Chain Pharmacy.” Petrozzi is senior director of account management for McKesson Pharmacy Systems. He’s learned that pharmacies can increase their revenue and offer more to customers when they use certain features in their PMS.

Use your pharmacy management system to:

  • Auto-fill prescriptions. If you’re not doing this already, let your system fill prescriptions instead of your pharmacists.
  • Flag nonadherent patients. Your PMS can tell you which patients aren’t taking their medications. When you have this information, you can ask the right questions to help get them back on track.
  • Suggest other clinical services. Your system should also flag patients who can use other services. Maybe they need an age-based vaccine or a blood pressure check.

Using these three functions in your pharmacy management system can help you outshine the competition in a number of ways. You free up pharmacists to spend more one-on-one time with patients. You improve adherence, which benefits patient outcomes and your bottom line. And you offer more to each customer, which helps them see the unique value in your pharmacy.

2. Reduce costs with automation

If you want to keep up with the competition at your chain pharmacy, automating manual tasks is a no-brainer. Joe Tammaro expands on this in “Why Automation is the Key to Your Chain Pharmacy’s Success.” Tammaro is the vice president of sales for McKesson High Volume Solutions. He explains that automating more functions can lower the cost per prescription by eliminating manual tasks. And that’s more important than ever these days, when patients don’t just expect more one-on-one time—they also expect competitive drug prices. He suggests you use automation to:

  • Measure, count, fill and verify prescriptions
  • Process claims
  • Manage inventory, and more

By automating manual tasks, you lower the cost per prescription. And when you do this, you can compete with online retailers getting into the pharmacy business. You also offer patients better care when your pharmacists aren’t bogged down by manual tasks. Automation can also scale with you as your prescription volume grows, without needing to add man hours.

3. Streamline time-consuming tasks with technology

We’ve explained how technology and automation can help you lower costs and offer more value to your patients. But it can also help streamline complex or time-consuming tasks. In “How Your Chain Pharmacy Can Stay Ahead of a Changing Market,” Nancy Gallo explains that technology can help your pharmacy with things like prior authorization or benefits verification—time-consuming tasks where accuracy is the highest priority. Gallo is the senior director of sales support for McKesson pharmacy systems. She recommends that chain pharmacies use technology to do the following:

  • Automate prior authorization
  • Verify benefits
  • See if patients qualify for financial aid
  • Make sure you’re following state and federal dispensing rules

By streamlining tasks like the ones above, you become more operationally efficient. You save time. You free up your staff to focus more on patient care. And with regulations and the health insurance landscape constantly changing, this technology helps keep you compliant.

4. Optimize inventory cycle counts

One of the best tasks you can streamline through technology is your pharmacy’s inventory management. Manually performing inventory management is time-consuming and costly. Because of this, many chain pharmacies only perform cycle counts once a year. But doing this only once a year means you don’t have the most accurate read on your inventory on a day-to-day basis. To improve accuracy and benefit both your business and patients, use technology to help you perform cycle counts. Jody Harvey expands on the benefits of this in “How to Optimize Inventory Cycle Counts Using Technology.” Harvey is the vice president of sales and account management for Supplylogix. She explains that technology-fueled cycle counts keep your pharmacy competitive in several ways:

  • They take less time than an annual count of your entire drug inventory
  • They save you money, because you use excess staff hours instead of an outside vendor
  • They ensure on-hand accuracy of your inventory on a daily basis
  • You avoid overstocking drugs that are dispensed infrequently

Integrate cycle count technology into your pharmacy management system and you’ll start to reap the benefits. You’ll save time and money. You’ll improve your inventory accuracy. And you’ll ensure you have exactly the right amount of drugs on hand for patients who need them.

Against a background of fierce market competition, technology can help you improve financial, operational and clinical results at your pharmacy. Whether you’re getting more from an existing pharmacy management system or streamlining time-intensive tasks, there are plenty of ways technology can give you a leg up on the competition.

Related: Learn more about McKesson’s pharmacy management software and services

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McKesson editorial staff is committed to sharing innovative approaches and insights so our customers can get the most out of their business solutions and identify areas for operational improvement and revenue growth.

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