While you certainly have to look at the upfront and ongoing costs of purchasing or leasing new technology, it’s also smart to assess where savings will compound and end up generating more value for your business, as well as what not implementing would cost you and your patients.
In other words, the costs of not implementing solutions that help pharmacies operate more efficiently and accurately (i.e., preventing the medication errors that keep popping up in national headlines like this one) are far greater than just lost profitability. This notion brought forward in the APhA CEO’s recent open letter to pharmacists begs the question: if technologies are available to keep people safer, do we have a moral obligation to implement them?
Chew on that while you think about the several key areas where return on a will-call automation system investment adds up:
- Fill time savings at the point of dispensing and placement in will call, namely with streamlined workflows and intuitive, well-organized filing systems. Such staff-time savings translates to wages better spent on revenue-generating patient care services that happen to also be more fulfilling to provide.
- Search and retrieval time savings at the point of sale – not to mention sparing yourself and your staff the embarrassment of rifling through orders for minutes on end.
- Decreased error rate. The Institute of Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) estimates that 1.22 in every 1,000 prescriptions is correctly dispensed but given to the incorrect patient. i.e., A pharmacy that sells 500 prescriptions per day, 312 days a year, without a smart will-call system, “loses” an average of 190 orders per year – resulting in patient harm and double the drug cost.
Checks and balances in the dispensing and filing process help ensure the right prescriptions make it into will call, and a pick-to-light system with name and date-of-birth checks helps guarantee you get those prescriptions into the right patients’ hands. Avoided errors preempt adverse patient outcomes, HIPAA violations and fines.
- Improved RTS cadence and time savings. By conducting RTS more regularly and efficiently, you improve carrying cost of inventory, avoid claim reversal costs, decrease the number of touches and amount of time spent on unretrieved prescriptions, and grow revenue from prescriptions sold. Smart RTS functions also make the process of contacting patients much faster and simpler.
- Staff experience, engagement and tenure. Employees that feel valued and aren’t burnt out are more engaged with the business and finding opportunities to strengthen it, are friendlier with partners and customers, and have more time to spend with patients in the pharmacy – and are more likely to stick around.
- Customer experience, loyalty and lifetime value. Patients that have a good experience in the pharmacy are likely to keep coming back and spending their money there. If they trust that their prescriptions are correct and feel comfortable getting guidance or clinical services from staff, you’ll capture more of their share of wallet, and hopefully word of mouth. Especially as pharmacies and pharmacists play a greater role in patients’ healthcare journeys, garnering their loyalty could be the difference between a surviving pharmacy and a thriving one.
Again, can pharmacies afford not to make an investment in technologies that are available?
Save your seat for a webinar discussion with fellow pharmacists about this very topic on October 24, and get your full guide from InterLink to seriously evaluate will-call automation options by completing the form below.