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by Justin Guinn,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: November 17, 2016


As the health care industry continues to grow in size and complexity, running a pharmacy business has become increasingly difficult and competitive. Despite shrinking profit margins, pharmacists are expected to be able to offer knowledge and advice to customers and ensure excellent customer service while also adhering to complex regulations and continuing to drive profitability.

The challenges are often even greater for multi-store pharmacy owners, as they have a number of responsibilities, including:

  • Managing multiple teams
  • Ensuring all necessary paperwork is completed
  • Streamlining workflows
  • Managing inventory levels

As such, many seek out a dedicated pharmacy management solution to help run their daily operations.

With its host of features, pharmacy management software, which falls under the larger category of retail software, can enable drug store businesses to simplify and automate workflows to improve efficiency and help keep pace with the competition. To that end, we’ve created this guide in order to help pharmacists better understand the pharmacy software market, so they can make an informed decision about what solution is right for their business.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Common Features of Pharmacy Software
Benefits of Pharmacy Software
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Market Trends to Understand

Common Features of Pharmacy Software

Most pharmacy management solutions offer much of the same features and functionality as a retail point of sale (POS) solution. They also include features that are specialized to the pharmacy business.

Automatic refills This feature enables pharmacy stores to automatically refill clients’ prescribed medicines during a specified period, before they run out.
Bar code scanning This feature enables the ability to scan barcodes to ensure accurate pricing and label tracking while preventing human errors associated with medication handling.
Barcode generation This feature creates printable barcodes to fulfill prescription labelling requirements.
E-prescribing This feature enables pharmacy owners to receive electronic prescriptions directly from patients’ medical practitioners, thus avoiding the need for handwritten prescriptions and helping to speed the process of filling prescriptions.
Inventory management This feature enables users to optimize and manage inventory levels to ensure they remain at capacity while minimizing inventory costs by making sure only those medications that are necessary are in stock.
Point of sale (POS) This feature helps sales clerks ring-up customers and process payments. Ensures cashiers charge the correct amount, adjusts inventory and prints receipts.
Prescription processing This feature enables pharmacists to process single or multiple prescriptions simultaneously. It can also help reduce manual overhead activities while tracking inventory levels.
Rx image scanning This feature enables pharmacies to scan, read and store hard copies of prescriptions. In addition, it reduces the need for filing manual prescriptions and retrieving paper prescriptions.
Reporting Reporting tools can identify slow to sell products and send automatic notifications if inventory levels drop to a certain level. This feature also analyzes business performance by monitoring specific metrics such as inventory levels, operational efficiency and customer satisfaction levels.

Benefits of Pharmacy Software

Pharmacists and drug store owners can realize numerous benefits by adopting a pharmacy management solution, including:

More streamlined, automated workflows. Pharmacy software systems can eliminate potential processing errors, automates purchasing and reduces the amount of time spent on manual tasks. Features, such as POS, image scanning and e-prescribing, automate the tasks of payment processing, data entry and prescription processing—all of which can improve an organization’s operational efficiency. In addition, pharmacy management software enables pharmacists to plan and distribute staff rosters and assign and monitor working hours to ensure the business is adequately staffed at all times.

Providing better customer service. Pharmacy management software systems help druggists provide more comprehensive knowledge and advice to customers by suggesting appropriate generic substitutes for prescriptions. These generics have the same anatomical therapeutic chemical (ATC) code, yet are fare less costly for patients. Pharmacy solutions also enable pharmacists to run marketing campaigns and loyalty programs as well as send automatic notifications for refilling medications, so customers can stay on top of their prescriptions.

Ensure complete coverage of business operations. Pharmacy software systems are designed to manage every part of a pharmacist’s business, from inventory management to maintaining regulatory compliance. Moreover, these tools provide helpful features that are essential for running a retail business, including advance expiry alerts, automated sales operations and purchase tracking.

Analyze business performance. Detailed reports provide pharmacy owners with performance insights, so they have access to both real-time and historical tracking in key performance areas. Many pharmacy solutions also enable customized reports and data visualizations using integrated business intelligence tools.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Single-store retail pharmacy owner. These are independent medicine stores where owners typically have complete control over all managerial and operational decisions. Such independent stores often seek solutions that will enable them to adopt new regulations, reduce paperwork, increase operational efficiency and gain ground on their competitors.

Multi-store/multi-location pharmacy owner. The requirements and challenges of multi-store retailers are considerably greater than those of single-store retailers. Their primary requirement is to manage teams and operations from a central location, which means that features such as inventory management and real-time information sharing become pivotal in monitoring operational efficiency and consistency from one location to the next.

Specialty pharmacy owner. A specialty pharmacy operates differently than a traditional pharmacy retailer. The supply chain and logistics required for the handling and processing of specialty drugs also typically comes with increased compliance and regulatory measures that one must follow. Such buyers often seek out solutions that have a greater degree of customization in order to allow for these nuances.

Market Trends to Understand

Mobile applications. Mobile applications enhance customer accessibility and enable pharmacists to receive orders and accept payments from clients’ mobile devices. Such applications also enhance customer convenience by enabling pharmacists to process orders or refill inventory on-the-go. Clients can also opt for automatic refills and share e-prescriptions through these applications.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Cloud computing has impacted numerous industries, including health care, and cloud adoption rates are higher among small and midsize businesses (SMBs). According to Forbes, 78 percent of U.S. SMBs will adopt cloud computing by 2020. Cloud-based pharmacy solutions can not only reduce capital investment and provide agility when it comes to digital infrastructure, but also make it easier for pharmacy owners to launch and manage multiple locations.

 

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