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Brick-and-Mortars vs Online Pharmacies

We are sure you have seen the news and read the articles regarding Amazon’s intent on breaking into the pharmacy business. This announcement has many vested in community pharmacies, small and large, asking if they can compete with this giant and other growing mail order and online style pharmacies in general. A recent J.D. Power survey¹ (2016) on pharmacy customer satisfaction found that both mail order and brick-and-mortar pharmacies are equally filling needs. Customers are turning to mail order for the convenience, and the study also showed they are turning multiple errands into one at local pharmacies – picking up groceries and getting their flu shots all while retrieving their meds. For now the answer is yes, local brick-and-mortar pharmacies can still compete on service and patient touch, but for how long?

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Amazon has talked about moving into pharmacy for a while now, started with online sales of OTC and it appears to be inching closer to putting online Prescription drugs plan into place. It recently hired a general manager to formulate a strategy for breaking into the multibillion-dollar pharmacy market. There is speculation surrounding the 450 Whole Foods grocery stores the company recently acquired; those locations could easily be outfitted with pharmacies. However, 450 stores is a trivial number compared to the existing 23,000 independent retail pharmacies and over 40,000 locations of the chain store segment, including Walgreens and CVS. The real opportunity Read full article >



Data and the Future of the Healthcare Ecosystem

by Elie Khalife, president, KeyCentrix

Data has always been a part of the healthcare ecosystem. Although it’s been collected inconsistently in the past, technology has helped advance the gathering, storing and needs for this data today. For decades healthcare professionals had worked independently to collect and aggregate data, but the calling for advancements in the healthcare industry required better interaction for all of healthcare’s actors including, but not limited to, drug manufacturers, prescribers, pharmacies and patients. Continuous improvements in technology facilitated and promoted this collaboration while providing even better outcomes for the industry and patients alike. These advancements and outcomes in healthcare now grow exponentially, and patient data is the new driving force.

Data in the Healthcare Ecosystem

The Need for Data

In 1972, with the distribution of methadone, the first drug was required to have data tracking and controlled distribution from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Now fast forward to 2005, an interesting year for drugs and pharmacies in general, the FDA started to demand more data points from drug manufacturers regarding new drug therapies in clinical trials and maintaining patents for existing blockbuster drugs. In turn, drug manufacturers required more process controls and limited the distribution to a select number of pharmacy locations that were capable of handling the collection of the expected data needed. This started a new trend of limited distribution drugs (LLD’s) Read full article >



EMV Implementation Tips

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.

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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 Read full article >