A pharmacy was never just a location to fill your prescription. Patients saw pharmacists as advisors, someone who could help them choose an over-the-counter treatment or understand the dosage and instructions for a prescription.
They were always willing to help, but they rarely had enough information about a person’s medical history, allergies, or treatment plans to provide more thorough recommendations. However, this is improving. Pharmacies, like the rest of the healthcare industry, are changing.
Patients have secure access to their medical information and can share it with others. Hospitals are urged — if not compelled — to become interoperable and communicate with the rest of the industry.
Data is gathered and turned into insights that aid in making more confident life-or-death decisions. Essentially, abandoning manual processes and instead of participating in inpatient care makes it much easier to expand as a company and remain competitive in a rising market.
Let’s talk about pharmacy management software (PMS) and how it may help you achieve two goals:
1) a more efficient, automated pharmacy workflow, and
2) staying ahead of the competition by improving patient outcomes and giving a better customer experience.
Why is it necessary to use pharmacy management software?
Pharmacy management software
Any system used in a pharmacy to help automate the pharmacy workflow is known as pharmacy management software. This involves activities including evaluating physician prescriptions and preparing drugs, keeping track of inventories and placing drug orders, invoicing and insurance, counseling, finding incompatibilities, and more – all while adhering to legal standards and regulations.
These are just some of the common tasks that can be automated. Many more elements can give the pharmacy a competitive advantage by improving customer service and attracting patients with more tailored and engaging service. In the following part, we’ll go through these characteristics in further depth.
Now, let’s go over the key advantages that a pharmacy management system can provide.
Improving pharmacists efficiency
Pharmacists spend the majority of their time delivering medications. This activity demands intense concentration, extensive verification, drug interaction checks, and deciphering the doctor’s handwriting.
Is it required to manually distribute drugs? Not in the least. Prescriptions may be readily managed by software with flawless computer-to-computer communication in place, giving pharmacists more time to meet with patients.
Improving the health of patients.
Patients seek advice from pharmacists, and a PMS can help them get better advice, either directly or indirectly. In addition to spending so much time with consumers, in reality, doctors can communicate with them online through a patient site.
Preventing fraud in the pharmaceutical industry.
By entering all prescription information into the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program database and reviewing it when distributing drugs, pharmacies play a critical role in helping to manage the distribution of prohibited dangerous substances (CDSs).
As information is automatically linked to the patient’s history, a pharmacy management system integrated with the PDMP portal allows you to reduce recording time and effort to just a few clicks.
Continue reading to see how PMS functioning can assist you in achieving these goals.
Features of a pharmacy management software
Pharmacists employ several distinct types of computer systems.
Ordering systems that are accessible over the internet. These systems, which are frequently supplied by drug wholesalers, allow pharmacists to order drugs directly from the wholesaler’s website.
Perpetual inventory systems.
Federal legislation mandates the use of permanent systems (digital or not) for Schedule II-restricted substances, which entails continuously documenting the number of medications when the prescription is filled and dispensed. As a result, the drug is automatically withdrawn from inventory, and your stock information is always up to date.
Automatic dispensing systems
These are machines that count and dispense pills for a pharmacist automatically. Some more sophisticated systems will even print the label and put it on the bottle.
A PMS usually replaces a perpetual inventory system and adds capabilities and integrations to manage all other activities. Let’s go over them again.
The pharmacy’s inventory management systems are hampered by paperwork and manual checks. Order forms must be physically filled out and faxed to manufacturers, barcodes must be scanned daily to update stock information, unclaimed prescriptions must be restocked, and so on.
Of course, due to federal restrictions and the technical limits of your suppliers, not all of these operations can be automated, but a PMS can handle some routine chores.
Counting and organizing the stock.
Medication counts are done regularly, but it won’t help if drug doses are counted inaccurately or the system isn’t updated promptly. A PMS can preserve a detailed inventory trail that can be easily filtered by storage conditions and expiration date, helping you to avoid costly mistakes.
To produce automatic orders, a PMS uses reorder points or par levels set up by the pharmacy. The system figures out how many goods are required to raise the stock level and adds that number to the order. After then, the orders are sent using an electronic data interchange (EDI) system.
A pharmacy management system (PMS) offers reports that enable pharmacists to quickly identify the best-performing wholesalers and vendors, as well as analyze the factors that influence drug ordering. This can help them better prepare for flu season, when specific treatments are in high demand, and calculate par levels automatically.
The electronic preparation and transmission of a prescription between a physician and a pharmacy are known as e-prescribing. A doctor makes a medicine order and transmits it to a patient’s pharmacy via a secured network using an EHR or, more specifically, a computerized provider order entry (CPOE) system.
The pharmacy can then notify the patient that their order has been received and filled, as well as if they have not picked up their medication. Renewal applications can also be sent with a few mouse clicks.
This reduces paperwork and helps to ensure that the order is never lost or misunderstood — the dosage is always precise because the risk of human error is reduced.
A particular XML-based standard called SCRIPT enables system-to-system communication. Surescripts (which acts similarly to EHR certification) should certify all prescription software, so check their directory to see whether your PMS provider supports it or get your system certified.
Integrations with pharmacy management systems
Aside from the fundamental PMS capabilities, a pharmacy can profit from a variety of integrations. For eg-
Solutions for delivery and shipment. Integration with FedEx or DHL will let you manage orders, issue delivery notifications, and automate fulfillment operations if you don’t perform your deliveries.
Systems that use interactive voice response. When the pharmacy floor is busy and the phone continues ringing, HIPAA-compliant IVRs are popular. Digital Pharmacist and Omnicell, for example, collaborate with pharmacy management systems.
Because compounding, inventory management, and prescription are all linked, they’re frequently marketed as a single solution. A PMS can assure precision in the process of drug dosing in several ways.
Integration on a large scale.
A PMS will be able to connect to scales and automatically log weight, as well as provide notifications when the weight falls outside of the tolerance range.
Batch support and multi-batch compounding are both available.
Compound batches can be readily created, managed, and organized using the software. You can also combine batches into a single prescription with all relevant details so that you can track them down quickly.
Compound pricing and billing are done automatically.
Pricing for your compound items will be calculated using average wholesale prices for the constituents.
Let’s take a look at some more features that can help improve the customer experience.
Managem.t of medication therapy
We discussed the importance of patient participation in a recent piece, particularly in a hospital context and during patient-doctor interactions. The pharmacy environment now has even more tools for influencing patients’ adherence behaviors and, as a result, improving customer relationships. Medication Therapy Management refers to a collection of services given by pharmacists.
- Creating a medication treatment plan is one of the processes covered by MTM.
- Getting to the bottom of drug-related issues
- Educating and teaching patients is a big part of what we do.
- Some PMS characteristics that help MTM activities are listed below.
Buy vs build: Develop Pharmacy Software similar to Healthera
There are several excellent providers on the market, companies that are well-versed in the field and can provide you with true value. However, there are a few things to think about before buying a PMS:
- Vendor lock-in creates integration issues and makes it difficult for pharmacies to adopt from beyond the product’s reach.
- Pharmacists must learn to operate with an old unwieldy system due to outdated design and user experience.
- With business tools, customization is almost always required.
Pharmacy management software isn’t something you can buy and use right away; it usually requires a lot of modifying and configuring before you can use it. This will be a difficult undertaking in terms of digital transformation.
As a result, in many circumstances, totally custom development may be preferable. These are only a few examples.
You have no prior experience with pharmacy software.
It will take a long time to organize and move this data to the system if you have never used a PMS before and have haphazardly conducted your operations, using notebooks and spreadsheets. Especially if your IT skills are poor. Collaboration with an independent software developer who can assist you safely will provide you with greater value.
You have particular specifications.
These needs are a lot easier to meet when you’re working on the solution than attempting to locate them in current products, whether it’s bespoke UX to help your pharmacists operate more quickly or interoperability with tools you’ve been successfully utilizing.
You’re forward-thinking and eager to try new things.
Some of the most inventive concepts can only be realized through custom development. When you’re tied to a single vendor, it’s difficult to implement IoT sensors in your refrigerators, AI-based analytics, or robotic process automation.