As more and more industries enter the EMV realm, there are both joys and challenges of having the EMV option. Customers and business owners can enjoy the security of EMV chip-cards to reduce fraud by protecting against loss from counterfeit stolen cards. Customers and business owners must also adapt to this new way to pay. When EMV is available to your business, know your device and teach your staff about it so they can help customers through the steps of an EMV transaction.
Cards with a mag-stripe and an EMV-chip will exist simultaneously until all merchants have EMV-capable devices and until all banks replace all existing mag-stripe cards issued to their customers with an EMV chip. Some devices have the EMV terminal slot, but it doesn’t function.
TIP: If you have a non-functioning terminal, make a sign or insert a placeholder to let customers know if EMV is not available. Some examples of sayings are, “Please swipe card,” “Swipe card here – Chip card functionality coming soon,” or “Please swipe; Do not insert card.”
Because the cards in use today have both a chip and a stripe, people may swipe their card first out of habit. If EMV is enabled on the device, it will reject the swipe and tell the user to insert their card instead. Once a person inserts their card (also called “dipping”) with the chip-end first, facing up, they need to wait to remove it until prompted to do so. While the card is inserted into the terminal, the chip and the terminal are communicating to verify the card is real and to validate the cardholder’s identity.
TIP: Advertise that you have EMV functionality available and tell people that they will need to insert their card into your device when it’s time to pay. This will help cut down on the time it takes them to complete their payment. While it only takes a few seconds for the device to reject a swipe and prompt to insert the card, the seconds can add up and lead to customer frustrations, both with the person paying and the people in line behind them.
Once the card is inserted, there will be different prompts that come up on the screen. The device will either ask for a PIN or signature, based on the card configuration. The device terminal reads the EMV chip and automatically reads the preferred cardholder verification methods (CVM) for that card. Some cards don’t prompt for either PIN or signature if the transaction amount is low.
TIP: If a user can’t remember their PIN, tell them to push the ENTER button or follow prompts to give their signature instead. While using the PIN is a safer method, the transaction can still be completed using a signature to save time and frustration if the card user is drawing a blank. If their behavior seems suspicious, you can always ask for a photo ID to match with the name on the card.
When the transaction is completed, it’s important that the user removes their card from the device. Some devices will beep until the card is removed; other devices will just display a message saying that the card can now be removed. As a merchant, get in the habit of double-checking that the customer has their card.
TIP: Hang a sign on your door with a reminder message like “Make sure you have your EMV chip card!” so that on the way out of your store, customers will have their memory jogged that they may have forgotten their card. If they do forget their card, keep it in a safe place and reach out to them via a phone call, text message, or email if you have their contact info.
Can you put a price on your data? Probably not, but if you lost it, you’d probably give anything to get it back. While it’s not the end of the world if data is lost due to nature, human error, or malicious acts, it is a headache that could have been prevented by proper backups either onsite, offsite, or both.
Depending on the volume at your pharmacy, a simple flash drive could suffice to house your pharmacy management software data and point of sale system data backups. There are multiple sizes of flash drives available on the market at affordable prices. For example, a 128GB SanDisk Flash Drive is available for less than $20 on Amazon.com. Select flash drives based on the size of your data base; if you are not sure what size you need, check with your IT department or ask your software provider for their recommendation.
To make remembering backups an easy task, set them to be automatic if the option is available. Just set the location of the flash drive in the software when configuring the auto-backups. Make sure the flash drive is plugged in when backing it up.
Another recommendation is to have multiple flash drives and switch them out at an interval of your choice. The ideal scenario would be to have one flash drive for each day of the week that is rotated daily. Other scenarios could be two flash drives switched daily, or you could have four or five flash drives that are rotated each week of the month. The reason for having multiple flash drives in use is to make sure that there are recent backups to restore in the event that a flash drive becomes corrupt or unreliable. It is rare that a flash drive fails, but it’s better to be aware and prepare for a situation than to be caught off-guard.
Adding an encryption to a flash drive is another recommendation for further data protection. If the flash drive ends up in the wrong hands, that person won’t be able to access the HIPAA-sensitive data in the software backups. When a flash drive is not in use as the active backup, make sure it’s stored in a safe location like a fire-proof, water-proof safe, or a bank deposit box.
If your database is too large for a flash drive, you can house the backups off-site. The nice thing about off-site backups accessed online is that all you need is internet, just make sure you have the bandwidth needed to transfer the data files.
As an example of a low-bandwidth scenario, if you send large backup files overnight on low-bandwidth after your pharmacy closes, there is a chance that the backup process could still be in progress when you start business the next day. This scenario can bog down your system and slow it down to a frustrating pace, but this scenario can also be avoided with proper bandwidth.
Offsite backup locations are reliable because you don’t have to worry about hardware failure. They often feature a combination (if not all) of a redundant power supply, chiller systems, biometric security, and continuous monitoring. They are flood-proof, and in the event on an emergency, they use a generator and have fuel on-hand.
In the event of a natural disaster or other emergency, you can preserve your crucial data and prevent the loss of productivity with the right backup plan in place. Whether it’s a flash drive or online to an off-site location, having your data backed up is a responsible business decision.
Avoid any action with an unacceptable outcome. – Nichols’ Fourth Law
Pharmacy management systems with a true workflow have many moving parts working together in synchronization. Transmitting a prescription through these workflow stages (instead of queues) in a software prescription processing program enhances pharmacy management system efficiencies with tools built in to aid in enforcing patient safety checks and best practices when filling a script.
Credit Review – Stop prescriptions from leaving the pharmacy if the cost is above a certain credit limit with a credit review stage. Maybe a customer doesn’t want to pay more than $50 per prescription; instead of having to check each transaction, a credit review stage can automatically alert you.
Scheduling – Need to talk to a patient before a prescription is dispensed? A scheduling stage is made for tracking contact and attempted contact with patients, and it enforces completion of patient touch-points. Activities in the scheduling stage should be saved and stored with the patient’s information for historical data and reporting purposes.
Custom Data Collection – Adding in custom information fields defined by the user to a workflow can allow collection of data as needed for unique or newly required information. Reporting can be pulled from these custom fields, known as “User Defined Fields,” when required by manufacturers and third parties.
Business Rules – Have complete control of prescription processing actions with business rules running an exception-driven workflow. Business rules act as safety nets based on certain triggers, configurable for unique scenarios. For example, business rules can be set up for routine maintenance medications to function through the workflow in one way, while more complex specialty medications can be set to function in another way with additional patient touch-points.
Order-Based – Order-based workflows help keep mail orders and deliveries together with order matching. Instead of mailing out multiple packages or making multiple deliveries because of repeat customers or facilities appearing in your workflow, fill the prescriptions as an order. See exactly where an item is during the filling process by checking the order status as items within the order will have their current status displayed. Orders can also have a description or priority/urgency that stays with it as it travels through workflow stages.
Gates – Set up a gate so that all items within an order must catch up in a stage before moving to the next stage in the workflow. For example, gates enabled prior to a packing stage ensure that all items will be packed together once they are complete. Gates make sure everything leaves the pharmacy together, whether it’s an order picked up in store from will-call, a delivery, or a mail order shipment.
Having a customizable workflow unique to each pharmacy location is the first step in increasing workflow efficiencies, with a streamlined and organized approach to how prescriptions process and what checkpoints they pass through. Check with your pharmacy software provider to see what options they offer to start improving your workflow functionality today.