Benefits of Going Digital in Your Pharmacy
As we continue to advance in technology and pharmacy makes strides in the digital frontier, new ways become available to enhance organization and reduce chaos in the pharmacy workflow. Going digital with documents, notes, faxes, and other papers floating around the pharmacy can help achieve paperless synchronization, both in front of & behind the counter and on delivery routes. Below are examples of typical pharmacy documentation and tasks that can be converted to electronic, digital copies and processes.
Faxes sent to your pharmacy aren’t always relevant to a patient, doctor, facility, or drug; unwanted faxes just waste paper and time spent sorting through them. Where regulations allow, opt to receive faxes electronically. Resources are available through pharmacy software companies and interfaces to digitally receive faxes containing new prescriptions, demographic information, information from doctors, patient info, clinic info, etc. If an electronic fax is junk, it can be deleted and never waste a sheet of paper or an ounce of ink. Store the relevant, important faxes you receive within a pharmacy software system so a backup of all documents with all patient info is kept up-to-date with automatic software backups typically offered to pharmacies.
For paper copies of prescriptions and pertinent information that comes into your pharmacy, use a document/image scanner to create a digital copy that can be categorized and stored in your system. While loading documents and faxes in a digital format in your pharmacy management system, you can also store notes and comments digitally. If you have notes like, “Call patient with final cost,” “In the fridge,” or “Wants delivery,” those can be stored within compatible pharmacy software systems, eliminating the need for excess notes left in baskets or on the counter.
Notes & Preferences
Exceptions are the norm in a pharmacy setting; having a space for custom patient preferences to be saved in a digital format and easily accessed allows for a better customer service experience. Avoid the hassle of special requests every time certain prescriptions are filled with notes like, “Call to verify duplicate pain meds,” “Cut pills in half,” or “Always use this certain manufacturer,” already saved in the pharmacy management software system. Be aware of the actions you can take to help manage the health of your customers.
To keep the workflow running smoothly, comments could be attached digitally to patients, drugs, and facilities. Keep orders together if customers have a preference on what they will wait to pick up and want right away i.e., “John Doe is not coming in until his Tramadol is ready.” If somebody is already working on a time-consuming prescription and wants to notify coworkers, they can make a digital note on the prescription so that the work won’t be doubled up. Internal messaging can also be used for staff communication to further eliminate paper floating around the pharmacy. Use a messaging service or a compatible pharmacy software system to send notes to staff like, “Renew your password,” “Turn in your timesheets,” “Update your enrollment form,” and more.
While managing the inbound and internal documents, also consider the outbound documents. Use a compatible pharmacy software system or interface to send outbound faxes electronically. Do you host events or clinics and create flyers to send with your customers? Try emailing or sending a text message instead with enabled software or interface program. If you have digital display board in your pharmacy, keep it up to date with your current events. Customize your receipts with a message about an upcoming event or sale as well.
Some software programs make it possible to target messages to your full database down to a single person. If there are specific patients affecting your star rating, patients who haven’t picked up their prescriptions yet or have a refill due, etc., send them a message via email or text as a friendly reminder. An IVR system can also be used to generate phone calls to those that would prefer a call over a text or email.
Printing reports can be a very paper-consuming task. Instead of printing them off, try saving them as a PDF to file digitally or export them to a spreadsheet to view on-screen for analysis. Receipts are another common paper task that can be converted digitally. If a Point of Sale system is FSA certified, patients may not need the paper copies of their receipts to submit. Settings can be configured to prompt to either print a receipt or not, or to save it as a PDF and email if desired.
Instead of sending your delivery driver out the door with a stack of delivery sheets, eliminate the waste with mobile delivery apps. Apps are available for use on iPhones and iPads that interface with pharmacy software systems to seamlessly transfer applicable patient info to delivery drivers. Signatures can be captured and stored digitally for easy reference if needed for auditing purposes.
Having everything digital and all in one location makes auditing who did what in the system a task completed with a few clicks of a mouse instead of shuffling through stacks of papers or file cabinets. Improve your organization and enhance your pharmacy workflow by going digital.* Check your inventory of tools to go digital (document/image scanner, electronic signature capture device, etc.), then check the compatibility of your pharmacy software management system, your point of sale, and the compatible interfaces to fully digitize your workflow from intake to delivery.
*Remember to check applicable regulations to ensure that going digital meets standards in your area before implementing any changes in your pharmacy.