The success of your chain pharmacy depends on the care you give to patients. But you can’t deliver high-quality care if you’re bogged down with time-intensive, routine tasks. If you’re still performing many of your daily tasks manually—and not making the most of pharmacy technology—it’s all too easy for processes to become sluggish. This can affect both your bottom line and patient care.

The solution is to streamline those time-intensive tasks so your pharmacy can become a well-oiled machine. Here are three things you can do to streamline daily operations at your chain pharmacy.

1. Switch to ePAs

If you’re still manually filling out prior authorization (PA) requests, your chain pharmacy may not be running as efficiently as possible. Plus, it can increase the time patients wait to receive their prescriptions. Instead, switch to electronic PAs, or ePAs. Doing so can make the entire process more seamless. Michael Bukach discusses this in “Navigating Prior Authorizations at Your Chain Pharmacy.” Bukach is the senior vice president of pharmacy for CoverMyMeds. He explains that you can use your pharmacy management system (PMS) to integrate ePAs into your workflow.

When a prescription comes into your PMS electronically, your system can tell if a PA is required. If it is, your PMS will immediately send the PA request to the physician.

Switching to ePAs streamlines daily operations at your pharmacy in several ways:

  • It cuts down on paperwork and random files of information. Switching to ePAs calms the clutter and chaos of having to manually search random folders for notes on different drugs, health plan requirements, and contact information. Instead, all of this becomes centrally located within your PMS.
  • Patients start their treatments sooner. Instead of waiting days or weeks for authorization, patients can begin treatment right away. This helps them start improving their health right away, too.
  • It makes better use of your staff’s time. Time your staff would spend filling out PAs can now be spent with patients. The more one-on-one time they have with patients, the better care those patients receive.

Filling out a PA request manually is labor intensive. When you switch to ePAs, what used to take days or weeks will now take just a few hours or even minutes. That way, you’re free to spend time on more meaningful patient interactions.

2. Optimize your clinical programs

Manually running all the clinical programs at your chain pharmacy can lead to potential errors and omissions. Plus, all the tasks involved with doing so can become time-consuming for your staff. Ian Fallon speaks to this in “Using Technology to Power Your Chain Pharmacy’s Clinical Programs.” Fallon is the vice president of clinical programs for McKesson Prescription Technology Solutions. He notes that when you run clinical programs manually, it’s hard to capture adequate data or be consistent in how you interact with each patient. This leads to inefficiencies and inconsistencies.

There are several types of clinical programs you can optimize through pharmacy technology and automation. These include programs that fall into these categories:

  • Adherence. These are programs you run to identify patients who aren’t taking their drugs as prescribed.
  • Medications. These programs help ensure patients are on the right medications and address any concerns they have. This includes things like medication therapy management (MTM) or comprehensive medication reviews (CMRs).
  • Disease management. Clinical programs around disease management help patients with chronic illnesses manage their own health. This could involve offering patient education or nutritional counseling.
  • Vaccines. These include immunizations like seasonal flu shots and year-round vaccines for diseases such as pneumonia or shingles.

Use technology to help you run these clinical programs. You’ll be able to capture more patient data, create consistency, and simplify the billing process, too. Well-run clinical programs can help more patients improve their health.

3. Maximize existing technology

Making the most out of the technology you already have is one of the best ways to streamline daily tasks at your chain pharmacy. Not only should you use pharmacy technology to help you run clinical programs, but there are countless other scenarios where technology can streamline daily processes.

Steve Petrozzi talks about this in “Making Technology Work Harder for Your Chain Pharmacy.” Petrozzi is the senior director of account management for McKesson Pharmacy Systems. He explains that you can use your PMS to auto-fill prescriptions as well as to improve patient care and daily workflows. Here are concrete ways to maximize your existing pharmacy technology:

  • Set up patient alerts for patients who aren’t taking their medication. When you can identify non-adherent patients, you can ask the right questions to find out why and help them overcome any barriers to adherence.
  • Even out your workflow. Your PMS can integrate tasks like claims adjudication or prior authorization into the workflow of filling a prescription.
  • Identify other patient needs. Your PMS can alert you to other supplements or related health products that could benefit a patient based on their disease state. For example, if a patient is diabetic, they might need over-the-counter diabetes products or blood-sugar tests. You can take care of more of a patient’s needs by having your PMS flag those with chronic diseases ahead of time, so they don’t have to come back multiple times for different things. This benefits your patients and it makes your pharmacy more efficient.

Tapping into the complete functionality of your PMS allows you to help patients proactively and anticipate other health concerns or needs. It also helps speed up formerly sluggish processes that might be eating up a lot of your time.

By making several tweaks to daily operations at your chain pharmacy, you can save time and streamline daily tasks. When you can be more efficient, you improve not only the success of your pharmacy, but also the level of care you’re able to provide to your patients.

Related: Learn more about McKesson’s pharmacy management systems for chain pharmacies

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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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