What to look for in pharmacy software…

Pharmacy software….It seems simple enough. You need to be able to do the following:

Enter demographics for the customer—>Enter the prescription data (NDC, directions, date written, etc)—>effectively store prescription data with a database related to reports that can flag therapeutic duplication and drug-drug interactions —>file electronic claims to pharmacy benefit managers and receive e-prescriptions—->print labels for bottles and unit dose packages—>submit appropriate controlled substance reports to track and monitor controlled substance prescribing/dispensing habits—>integrated point of sale with pharmacy software to retain signature logs

Pharmacy software + pharmaceutical textbooks meeting the needs of your practice +  access to online databases (to ensure patient safety regarding therapeutic dosing and current off label uses of drug products) are the things a Pharmacist will need to practice pharmacy effectively and efficiently.

So why the blog post? We’re done right!? Not so quick… 

How does the Pharmacy Owner and/or Manager select a pharmacy software that allows the pharmacy to track and monitor profitability? In my opinion, that’s the hardest part about selecting who should be your pharmacy software vendor. Most vendors will meet your basic needs to practice pharmacy effectively and efficiently. But, do most pharmacy vendors aid your ability to practice pharmacy in a manner that prevents your business from going upside down? THE ANSWER IS NO.

When you demo a pharmacy software what should you be looking for on the business side of things?

Making the right decision with your pharmacy software in respect to business management will allow the owner and/or manager to operate with greater efficiency in a market that has tight profit margins.

Consider the following aspects during the demo:  

  • Accounts receivables (A/R)
  1. How easy is it to monitor receivables from your pharmacy benefit managers with the software?
  2. Does your PSAO (pharmacy services administrative organization) offer a service to monitor receivables? If your PSAO offers this; can the service be integrated into the software you are demoing?
  3. Will your pharmacy have charge accounts for customers? If so, how quickly can you print a report for the account receivables for your customers? Is the information on the report appropriate and concise?
  • Accounts payable (A/P)
  1. Does the software integrate with your drug wholesaler to give you an accurate reflection of costs of goods purchased?
  2. Are you able to monitor and integrate multiple wholesale accounts to gain an accurate reflection of costs of goods purchased and where the products were purchased?
  • Inventory management
  1. Can the software sync to the wholesaler account so that the pharmacy can quickly and accurately receive invoiced drugs?
  2. Can the software sync to the wholesaler account so that the pharmacy can quickly and accurately order drugs based on par levels and reorder points?
  3. Can the software be integrated with telxon scanners so that you can accurately monitor par levels and inventory turns?
  4. Once more, can you effectively monitor when and where you purchased inventory?
  5. Can you create purchase orders from the software that can be integrated into your wholesaler accounts?
  • Claims Reconciliation
  1. Can the software sync with your switch data (relay health, emdeon) which is monitored by your PSAO to effectively reconcile paid versus unpaid claims?
  • Data Updates and Uploads 
  1. Can the software sync with appropriate sources (wholesaler and third parties) to update data pertaining to average wholesale price and acquisition price?
  • Pharmaceutical Compounding
  1. How does the software handle compounding claims?
  2. Can the software accurately ensure that prices are updated appropriately and in a manner such that pharmacy benefit managers aren’t billed erroneously and/or incorrectly?
  • Data Mining
  1. Can you build spreadsheets with your data?
  2. How easy is it to take data from your pharmacy software and upload it into an a spreadsheet document so that you can monitor pharmacy patterns?

The points I covered are by no means the only points to consider.  In fact, I think they’re just a touch of the surface when discussing which pharmacy software to select.

What are the needs of your pharmacy practice? At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you consider all the topics that you find important. Get the answers to your questions. Choosing a software vendor should not be taken lightly. Pharmacy software vendor relationships are anything but short term in nature.

The perfect pharmacy software has yet to be created, but with more input from practicing Pharmacists we can continue to help innovate how we practice pharmacy. By selecting a pharmacy software that tracks your business decisions efficiently you will be able to devote more time to talking with your customers and meeting their needs.

_________________

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Sam Blakemore is the Pharmacy Manager of Peds Rx Pharmacy Solutions. Connect with him via: LinkedIn

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