The Right Way to Make Changes in Your Pharmacy

rms_pos_traffic_at_lightEarlier this week I posted a short article about the damage that making a change based solely upon anticipation can do.  In other words, failure to look before you leap and the quintessential buyer’s remorse.  There’s a big difference between being on the cutting edge and jumping off of that edge.

When it comes to making a change,   if you can’t think of the change as being synonymous with improvement, you should probably think twice about moving forward.  Lateral movements, movement in anticipation without having all of the information available, or change simply for the sake of change can all do major damage to your independent pharmacy business. 

This may seem simple enough in concept, but in practice, I know that taking a step back and waiting to make a change is easier said than done.  There’s so much happening in the pharmacy industry on a daily basis that if we get even a glimpse of a light at the end of the tunnel, we all just want to take off running for it.  With all of the background noise and conflicting information, it may seem easiest just to listen to the loudest voice and hope that everything turns out okay.

But the most successful independent pharmacies talk with their vendor partners before they make a change that they might later regret.  Especially when it comes to choosing a new pharmacy service provider of some sort.   There’s always more than one side to every story so it’s important to take the time to gather all the information you might need to make an informed decision.  Here are a few areas you’ll always want to investigate with any service provider you work with before you make any major changes in your pharmacy. 

Integrations and partnerships– Just because you are moving on from one system partner, doesn’t mean that you have to move on from all of them. For example, as a POS provider, RMS integrates with over 25 different pharmacy system providers. This means that if you choose to change pharmacy systems, chances are, you can keep your POS system.  Outside of pharmacy systems, you want to check on different credit card processing integrations, compatibility with wholesalers and any other systems that you may utilize.

Functionality– Another common reason that pharmacies make changes is due to a perception of lack of functionality.  But just because you don’t use it, doesn’t mean it’s not there, or that there isn’t a way to accomplish what you need to do that you may not have thought of before.  If you stop to ask a few questions before making a decision, you just might save yourself a lot of money and time by being able to make your existing solutions work for you.  

Industry Knowledge– Pharmacy is a unique industry and it’s important to work with a provider that understands your needs.  Whether it’s a credit card processor or POS provider, if they don’t work with pharmacy on a regular basis, they aren’t going to be able to effectively handle the unique requirements that go hand in hand with the business of pharmacy. 

On the flip side of all of this, there is no doubt that sometimes change can be a good thing for your pharmacy and is even sometimes necessary. If your existing service providers just can’t meet your needs, regulation forces your hand, or if you can truly improve your pharmacy business, change is a good thing.  But it’s important not to make changes off of a gut reaction or misinformation and be well prepared for the changes you do make.