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Apr 22 2020

Pharmacy Management During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Use Your Technology Tools for Improved Efficiency

As pharmacies continue to deal in real time with fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, most have done a yeoman's job in improvising ways to continue to serve patients while prioritizing safety and wellness. While the term "social distancing" didn't even exist a year ago, pharmacies have become models of efficiency in maintaining safe distances through the widespread use of point-of-sale tables, plex-glass barriers, one-way aisles and, of course, delivery services.  While these solutions are helping to maintain distance between patients and employees, pharmacies likely have another tool at their disposal that can further assist during this unprecedented time.

Specifically, pharmacy managers need to ensure they are taking full advantage of their technology management solutions.  The PrimeRx™ system, for example, includes multiple capabilities that can automatically manage key pharmacy functions, thereby freeing up staff to handle the multitude of daily front burner issues.

A quick overview of some critical PrimeRx™ functionalities includes:

Delivery Services
PrimeDELIVERY™
manages the logistics, signature capture, documentation, and co-pay collection components of a pharmacy delivery service. PrimeDELIVERY™ integrates with the PrimeRx™ pharmacy management system to ensure the highest levels of quality control, records management, and efficiency.  

    • Remote Signature Capability.  PrimeDELIVERY™ allows for remote HIPAA-compliant signature capture, with signatures and transaction information automatically transferred to the main PrimeRx™ management system and added to the patient's record.  The system provides patients with an easy-to-use, flexible solution that even allows a delivery to be made if the patient is not at home to accept delivery.  Instead, an advance electronic signature request is sent to the individual, who then provides an electronic signature that is automatically transmitted back to the pharmacy and uploaded to the patient record.
    • Delivery Route Optimization.  Google Maps-based route optimization ensures deliveries follow an efficient, logical course.  In addition, ready access to a map allows pharmacists to quickly determine if an address falls within its home delivery radius.

Contactless, Electronic Co-pay Collection. 
PrimeRxPAY™
is the latest addition to the PrimeRx™ suite of solutions.  With PrimeRxPAY™, pharmacies can seamlessly manage co-pay collection and receipt issuance for medications dispensed from within PrimeRx™. PrimeRxPAY™ enables contactless electronic copay transactions.  Here's a brief overview of how it works: 

    • PrimeRxPAY™ integrates with the PrimeRx™ Pharmacy Management System to access each patient's account.  From there, all prescriptions for which co-pays need to be collected can be identified from within the patient’s profile lookup within the PrimeRxPAY™ pharmacy profile.
    • A text message is then sent to the patient, advising that a co-payment is due.  The text will include a URL link that directs the patient to a "co-pay invoice."  That invoice will include a "masked" (partially obscured) prescription number and drug name. (A prescription for Advair, for example, might appear as: A*****.)
    • The copay invoice includes a "Click Here for Payment" button that will direct the patient to a secure page, where credit card information can be submitted, and the co-pay transaction finalized. 
    • A receipt will be automatically transmitted back to the patient, with the pharmacy's records seamlessly updated within the PrimeRxPAY™ pharmacy profile.
    • PrimeRxPAY™ does not require the use of PrimeCOMM™ Communications Module for texting, or PrimePOS™ Pharmacy Point-of-Sale System for transaction processing.
    • PrimeRxPAY™ is an ideal solution for pharmacies seeking to provide an alternative to touch pads and cash exchanges.

Shipment Preparation
PrimeSHIPPING™ provides a highly efficient solution for mail-order pharmacies and retail pharmacies that offer shipping services.  The PrimeSHIPPING™ module integrates directly with PrimeRx™ with critical benefits including:

    • Patient name and address information are exported directly from PrimeRx™ for shipment label generation.  This avoids staff members from having to manually reenter this information when generating a label from the pharmacy's designated shipping software manager.
    • Data is automatically imported from the shipping provider's software.  This ensures shipment tracking information will be captured within PrimeRx™ and easily accessible to staff members.
    • Seamlessly export patient name and address information from PrimeRx™ into the pharmacy's designated shipping software manager to eliminate steps from your shipping process.
    • Automatically import shipment tracking information from the shipping provider's software into PrimeRx™.

Value-Added Interface  
ScriptDrop prescription delivery service is available to PrimeRx™ users for a monthly subscription fee.  Through ScriptDrop, pharmacies have immediate access to a network of delivery providers to ensure guaranteed, on-time deliveries based on patient need.  Pharmacy staff can access ScriptDrop directly from the PrimeRx™ navigation menu.

Communication
The PrimeCOMM™ module allows pharmacies to easily communicate with patients via secure, two-way outbound calling, SMS/TXT or email.  The PrimeCOMM™ solution is built into the PrimeRx™ management system, and integrates seamlessly with a pharmacy's daily workflow with capabilities that include:

  • Pre-programmed outbound emails, texts and phone calls to patients
  • Personalized Messages
  • Prescription refill reminders
  • "Ready for pickup" reminders
  • Notification that a prescription has been received
  • Dosage/Adherence reminder.
  • Receive inbound text and email messages from patients

Workflow Efficiency
Pharmacists were already over-extended before the COVID-19 crisis struck, with the 2019 National Pharmacist Workforce Survey reporting more than 70 percent of pharmacists believe their workloads are "high" or "excessively high."  Pharmacists had a full plate before the pandemic changed everything, which means a greater need for time-management tools. PrimeRx can help improve daily workflows in several critical areas that include:

Refills Management
The FillMyRefills™ app allows patients to submit refill requests directly from their home computers or personal devices.  Refills can be submitted 24/7, eliminating the need to call or visit the pharmacy.

    • The app directs patients to a web portal, where they can create an account and submit refill requests directly to the pharmacy. The web portal can be accessed from any PC, tablet, smartphone or internet-connected device. 
    • FillMyRefills™ was originally intended as a convenience for pharmacy customers but has become a vital tool in helping to ensure contact-less transactions. 
    • Refill requests transmitted via the app are automatically added to the pharmacy's daily work queue, with all records recorded in the main PrimeRx™ operating system.

Inventory Management
PrimeRx™ simplifies the critically important - and time-consuming - inventory management process with capabilities that include:

    • Automated dispensing. Drug levels are monitored within PrimeRx™, with inventory subtracted each time a prescription is filled. The system can interface with an automated dispensing device which eliminates the need for manual pill counting, thereby reducing the risk of an error occurring while allowing more prescriptions to be filled in less time.
    • Automatic medication reordering.  A pharmacy manager can determine preferred inventory levels for medications and trigger an automatic reorder when the supply of a particular drug reaches that level.

Pharmacies also have the option to manage inventory from the convenience of the PrimeINVENTORY™ app.  The app is compatible with Android, iPhone and other smart devices, and provides broad capabilities that include:

    • Scanning capability: A pharmacy manager's device becomes a powerful barcode scanner and can be used to read codes found on medication bottles and packages.
    • Inventory management: Inventory counts can be monitored in real time, with new products "checked-in" as they arrive from wholesalers or distributors.
    • Drug search capability: Specific drugs can be identified either via barcode, or by entering an NDC or item code.
    • Report capability: Customized inventory-related reports can be requested directly from a device.
    • Workflow visibility: Real-time insight into pharmacy activity with regard to prescription queues, bin activity, and individual prescriptions.

Prior Authorizations
Prior authorization (PA) management has long been a pain point for pharmacists, but the time and emotion the process requires is exacerbated during this time of crisis. Pharmacists often find themselves having to inform patients that a prescription request has been denied by an insurance company or other payer.  Too often, pharmacists act as liaisons between the patient and prescriber. 

PrimeRx™ offers capabilities that help streamline the PA process, thereby facilitating the initial request, adding visibility, and helping to accelerate the decision-making process.  Key capabilities include:

    • Direct integration with the CoverMyMeds platform, which is the U.S. healthcare industry's primary platform for electronic transmission of prior authorization requests. This direct linkage automates the process of exchanging patient health and medication information, and also allows providers to initiate PA requests after a rejection at the pharmacy.  One study of more than 4,000 prior authorizations submitted electronically found the automated process reduced turn-around time by as much as 90 percent, and entirely eliminated incidences of missing information.
    • Direct integration allows pharmacies to easily track the status of PA requests. This real-time visibility reduces the need for pharmacy staff to spend time on follow-up phone calls, and allows pharmacies to update patients, thereby minimizing instances of patients arriving at the pharmacy only to learn their prescription has been rejected.
    • Facilitated recordkeeping.  Prior authorization outcomes – including rejections – can automatically be added to patient records, thereby ensuring real-time access to complete patient prescription histories.

Each of the capabilities outlined above can have a measurable impact in helping pharmacies manage during this unprecedented period.  But implemented as a whole, the results can be truly significant.

If your pharmacy has yet to integrate any of these PrimeRx™ capabilities, you may be missing out on opportunities to streamline key processes.  Please contact Micro Merchant Systems today, and we will be pleased to have a technician consult with you about obtaining maximum efficiency from your pharmacy management system.

At Micro Merchant Systems, we have the deepest respect for our pharmacy partners as they continue to serve on the front lines of this healthcare emergency.  Our partners can count on us to help in any way we can.

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Don’t forget to check out our COVID19 Resource page for latest info on assistance to Independent Retail Pharmacies.