El Monte Pharmacy Improves Customer Service With Hi-Tech Will-Call System

This case study was written by Bruce Kneeland. Click here to link to the original article, published in 2019.

Ken Thai, PharmD., owns a very busy pharmacy. It is located in El Monte, a densely populated suburb of Los Angeles. El Monte Pharmacy fills three or four times as many prescriptions per day as the average independent.


I first met Thai in Las Vegas in 2016 just after he was interviewed by a senior AmerisourceBergen executive. During the interview he was asked to share some of things he does to run a profitable pharmacy with the 4000 attendees of the wholesaler’s Annual Trade Show. He impressed me as being an innovator, articulate – and, as a no-nonsense guy.


One of the remarkable things Thai has done is start a new pharmacy franchise program, operating under the name; 986 Pharmacy (98.6 is normal body temperature). The franchise program has 15 locations in California, Nevada and Texas.


As an innovator he is among the first to have invested in the scripClip LED light supported will-call bin system. He says he was “in the market” for a way to improve the look and feel of the will-call area. But, up to that time the systems he had looked at were too expensive; and, installing them also required expensive re-arranging of the prescription pick-up area.


Then he says, in 2017, while attending his wholesaler’s trade show he met with the people in the PerceptiMed booth where he was introduced to the scripClip system. Thai says, “It just impressed me as a creative and cost-effective solution to a long-standing problem.”


When pressed for more detail, Thai says, he is hard pressed to come up with superlatives. Frankly he says, “The system is pretty straight forward. The LED light lights-up in the handle of the patient’s bag, my clerks can see and quickly retrieve the right bag and give it to the right patient. scripClip just does what it is supposed to do.”




When asked how he could justify spending money on new technology as margins continue to shrink, Thai responded in a manner that surprised me. Noting the fact that despite the pharmacy teams’ best efforts there are too many times when locating a prescription proves difficult, so he says, cost justification is easy as, “Upsetting patients costs far more than scripClip does.”


Providing a little more detail, he ads that dwindling margins mean he needs to be more efficient and, he says scripClip makes retrieving prescriptions faster, and safer.  Then, he says, one other cost benefit is the ability to, at the tap of a button, locate all the prescriptions not picked up, based on a time frame he specifies, and return them to stock.


As one final note. Thai says that with all the technology he uses that scripClip, with its multi-colored flashing lights, is the only one that his patients really see.  All in all, he says, scripClip has been a positive addition to his pharmacy and he’d be happy to suggest other pharmacy owners take a serious look to see if it would be right for them.