Leveraging Pharmacy Technology to Improve Patient Counseling

rms-pharmacy-pos-supplement-recommendation-1.jpgIf you haven’t noticed, we at RMS are pretty passionate about helping pharmacies to improve, grow and succeed.  We also passionately believe that for many pharmacies, what it takes to accomplish this has greatly evolved over the past 15 years.

While many pharmacies succeed with large front ends and even continue to grow, others are beginning to adapt to a new kind of business model.  One that’s patient care focused.  But running this model well takes more than a statement that your focus has changed.  You need a plan and the right technology to make it happen. 

We’ve seen a number of pharmacies adopt a more patient centric model over the past few years especially.  And what we’ve learned is that there are definitely some key factors involved.  Here are a few things to consider.

 

Environment: In order for a more patient centric business model to be successful, customers have to feel comfortable receiving counseling and talking about their health in your pharmacy.  And no matter how far back your “Please wait here” sign is set, the pharmacy counter can be a very exposed place for patients to discuss health concerns and very personal details.  In short, you need to make sure you create an environment where customers can openly talk with pharmacists and pharmacy staff.  A little corner with a small table and comfy chairs could be ideal.  I’ve even seen some larger organizations have special room for in depth patient counseling. If you have to use the pharmacy counter due to space constraints, try to have your line form as far away from your counseling space as possible.  Think about partitions or some other privacy measure.

Technology: Once you have your space for counseling set up, you need to think about how to tie your pharmacy technology in.  Of course you could stage payment and counseling separately but what if the patient needs a supplemental OTC medication?  The last thing you want to do is make patients play line jumping games, sending them assembly line style from one counter to the next.  Use of mobile technology solves this problem because it unchains you from the counter.  You can ring up the patient right where you counsel them.  Or if you need to walk out into the aisle to discuss different supplemental medication options, you can ring the transaction in the aisle.    

Pulling it all together: Customers not picking up prescriptions shouldn’t be deprived of the opportunity to receive feedback and education on OTC medications.  Alternately, if a customer just needs to quickly grab something and be on their way, it needs to be easy for them to do so. The same technology you employ for counseling can help you do this.  Everything in your pharmacy should run as seamlessly as your prescription pickup and counseling services.  

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