My contract with my cellular service provider is up in July, which means in a few short months I’ll be able to replace my cell phone without having to pay flat out retail price for the latest gadget. When my contract comes up for renewal, it will have been two years that I’ve carried around the same cell phone. And while I have a two and a half year old dog that I feel like we just picked up from the pound yesterday, I feel like this cell phone has been certifiably old for about twice as long as I’ve actually had it. With 3 months to go I am anxiously reading the latest cell phone reviews and thinking about which new phone I’m going to get while at the same time telling myself that I shouldn’t even look now because in 3 months, there most certainly will be something new.
That’s kind of the problem when it comes to technology, isn’t it? No matter what vertical you’re in, there is always something new. How do you figure out when to adopt, when to wait, or if you’ve already been left in the dust? And how can you keep from compiling a ton of little used technology that’s no longer really on the cutting edge but isn’t quite old enough to be called out of date and hauled off to be recycled? Here are a few tips for managing pharmacy technology.
1) Be realistic about what’s working and what’s not. Find the areas in your pharmacy that just aren’t flowing smoothly. Identify the problem itself and then try to dig down to the root cause of that problem. For example, if you have lines of customers building all day, obviously there’s a problem with the workflow at your cash registers. Is the problem that you simply don’t have enough registers to handle the workload or is there an inefficiency in the actual process at the point-of-sale. New technologies can help you resolve this problem, perhaps by replacing a slow computer, or by adding a register to relieve the congestion caused simply by a high amount of traffic and transactions.
2) If you are going to replace or add technology, go with the newest options possible. Since we know that technology evolves at an incredibly rapid rate, if you are going to buy new hardware, try to go for higher end, enterprise level hardware that’s meant for business use rather than anything consumer level or outdated. It will last you longer and run more efficiently.
3) Know when it’s time to let it go. Some hardware and technology can last a really long time without needing to be replaced. For example, receipt printers often run for years and years without time being able to make a dent in their functionality. Some things however, like computers, just aren’t meant to be continually repaired and pushed past their expiration date. After 3 years, computers can be not only outdated, but struggling simply because of the massive amount of use they get in a pharmacy setting.
4) Consider mobile options. Mobile technology is something that is only going to become more prevalent as technology advances. And the great thing is that it can solve a lot of problems in your pharmacy. Sometimes at less cost than a less modern solution. Mobile is great for deliveries and drive thru windows but its usefulness definitely doesn’t stop there. Use it for line busting when your traditional registers get backed up, ring customers up in the aisle, run private consultations or start a curbside delivery service. Check out our E-book on mobile point-of-sale to learn more about where mobile is headed and find some more inspiration for using mobile in your pharmacy.
I hope that these tips can help you better manage technology in your pharmacy. And if you do have a lot of extra hardware lying around, well, you could always try to put it to good use and do something like this.
Karen Deckard came to RMS with a background in retail and customer service, and was initially brought on board as a Sales Assistant and managed IIAS certifications for RMS’s pharmacy POS customers. Today, Karen works as a Customer Success Manager, striving to provide independent and institutional pharmacies with the tools and resourcesthey need to succeed in today’s competitive pharmacy market.