Our latest thoughts and inspirations on buying a pharmacy, starting a pharmacy, and ongoing pharmacy operations

The Use of Technology in the Independent Pharmacy World

Pharmacies are relying more and more on technology every day. Technology helps the pharmacy staff create a more efficient workflow by alleviating redundant tasks and solving complex problems. In this article-series we will discuss the different types of pharmacy technology and why technology should not be overlooked.


The power of an IVR system

I often get asked the question “Is an IVR worth it?” and my answer is always “Yes absolutely!” An IVR helps an independent pharmacy in more ways than one. Most pharmacies rely on their IVR to reduce the staff workload every day.

What is an IVR?

IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response. It is technology that allows a computer to interact with humans through the use of voice and “Touch-Tone” inputs via a phone or keypad. A pharmacy IVR usually offers 3 different options or tiers of service.  Each tier is a bit different and I will go over each of them.

Inbound IVR – Inbound IVR refers to the customer or doctor calling the pharmacy and refilling an RX without having to talk to any pharmacy staff member. The option to leave a voicemail, speak to a pharmacy staff member, refill rx, directions to the pharmacy, and pharmacy hours are all other options of inbound IVR. The prescription refills are usually automatically sent to your refill que in your pharmacy system.

Outbound IVR – Outbound IVR refers to the automated calling features of the IVR system from the pharmacy system. For example: Automatically calling or texting a patient to pick up their prescription. Pharmacies also use outbound communication through the IVR as a marketing tool to reach their patients. Example: “Flu shots are now in for $25, stop in today.”

Cloud IVR– Cloud IVR refers to the cloud or online services of the IVR system.  This can include mobile apps designed specifically for your pharmacy and allows your patients to refill their RX directly from their mobile device. Another feature of this service is the ability to refill prescriptions directly from your pharmacy’s website.

Why should your pharmacy use an IVR?

A pharmacy owner's reason to use an IVR service can be explained in one sentence. Patients and doctors expect pharmacies to have an IVR when they call your pharmacy. If that’s not enough, how about the reduction of calls to your pharmacy staff for refills?

As discussed above, an IVR brings a lot to the table. We recommend looking into an IVR if your pharmacy doesn’t have one already. If your pharmacy does have an IVR make sure you are utilizing all that it offers.

Choosing an IVR company

Not all IVR companies are the same. Some are a little better than others. While some offer much better support and stability it really comes down to which system is compatible with your pharmacy software. Below is a list of some of the common pharmacy systems and the IVR companies they work with.

McKesson Pharmaserv / EnterpriseRX IVR

PioneerRX IVR

ComputerRX IVR

RX30 IVR

PrimeRX IVR

Still interested in learning more about an IVR for your pharmacy? Check out the IVR page at ConfigRX - IVR to learn more about IVRs.

Written by - Josh Caskey

Pharmacy Technology Consultant

ConfigRX
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Outsource Your Accounting and Grow Your Business

Outsource Your Accounting and Grow Your Business
It sounds ridiculous that your accountant can help you with sales and marketing. However pharmacy owners for some reason want to do all the bookkeeping, bill paying, payroll, etc by themselves. But this is not efficient, you as the pharmacy owner are not trained to do accounting you are trained to be a pharmacist and work with patients. In addition to this it is hard to outsource sales & marketing, inventory management, workflow improvement. These are business practices that you as the owner have to be involved in. But if you are in the office entering bills, creating financials, etc you are not spending that valuable time out cross selling to your customers or meeting with a doctor.

Think about the following -  one doctor sending you referrals could pay for 3 accountants. So stop doing the things that can be outsourced and do the things that either cannot or that you can make the biggest impact on.
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What is the Purpose of Due Diligence when Buying a Pharmacy?

Due diligence from a buyers perspective three main objectives. Below outlines each:

1.       Determine if the business you are exploring the purchase of is what you expected. In other words is there a reason not to buy the pharmacy? Objectives include, finding out is the pharmacy revenue accurate, are script counts correct, are control substance %’s acceptable, etc. You should strive to verify all operational and financial information.

2.       Pharmacy Transition – Once you know the business is what you expected, then you want to gather information that will assist you in transitioning the business after acquisition. Some objectives of this diligence include, what is current wholesale agreement, what health benefits are provided, what staff is staying or not staying, what marketing is done.

3.       Legal – you should have your attorney gather and review information to ensure legally you can buy the pharmacy and that also the pharmacy does not have a legal concern that would cause you to not purchase. Examples include, assisted living contracts, PBM contracts, lease, UCC checks, etc.
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