Clinical pharmacies are responsible for providing patients with important, life-saving products. They provide a necessary service to the general public. Unfortunately, many clinical pharmacies are sorely lacking in the technology department.
Many utilize simple cash registers or point of sale (POS) systems that are built for general retail environments. But clinical pharmacies have their own challenges to overcome that go beyond what can be achieved with a standard retail POS. They often don’t need all the features of a point of sale system built for large corporate pharmacies nor the budget for something as robust.
The Challenges of Clinical Pharmacies
With limited floor space and specialized focus, clinical pharmacies need to ensure that they have the right product on the shelf at the right time for their patients. It’s essential that their POS has the ability to accurately track and account for the inventory coming in and going out, to ensure that each patient has access to the correct mediation, and the right point of sale system can help.
It’s necessary to have access to the right data in order to maintain profitability. Without it, you may not have the insight you need to make informed business decisions regarding your stock and your processes. For this reason, a clinical pharmacy needs a POS that has the ability to securely access business data when you need it.
With the heavy demands placed on clinical pharmacies, it’s important that you give your staff the right tools to be able to do their jobs quickly and effectively. By streamlining and automating many routine tasks, you free up their hands to better serve customers, answer inquiries, and provide better overall customer service.
The Role a Pharmacy POS System Plays
A POS system is essential for handling day-to-day transactions. It facilitates the sale of products, records those transactions, and then provides data on them in order to help optimize business. When used correctly, it can also help automate many routine tasks, like placing orders for inventory and managing deliveries.
Not All Point of Sale Systems Are Created Equal
Some POS systems are designed with specific industries in mind. Many salon POS systems come with appointment scheduling, while restaurant software often has modules for menu management and reservations. Retail POS focuses heavily on loyalty programs and promotions.
When you opt for a POS system that wasn’t designed for your specific industry, you end up paying for those software functions that you won’t use. You also run the risk of not having all the functions you need. Some basic POS functions begin and end with transactions, leaving out data access, inventory controls, security features, and integrations. In addition, many low-cost systems lack timely technical support and ongoing software updates.
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Common Needs for Clinical Pharmacies
If you utilize a basic point of sale, it often doesn’t have the tools you need to integrate data from major distributors like McKesson and Kohl & Frisch.
Your clinical pharmacy POS system should incorporate prescription scanning with most Canadian pharmacy systems, including:
You need the ability to track all of the inventory coming in and out to ensure that you have the products that your patients need when they need them. Having strong inventory management systems in place will ensure accuracy, right size your inventory investment and free up time to focus on what’s important, your patients.
Once you can accurately forecast your needs, it’s helpful to have automated ordering software that can place orders for you whenever your inventory drops below a certain threshold. That way, you can ensure you always have proper stock on-hand when you need it.
Loyalty programs aren’t necessary to the day-to-day function of clinical pharmacies, but software that offers these features designed for your pharmacy banner does provide added value and functionality. For example, PharmaChoice Perks and Pharmasave Rewards modules.
Security must be taken seriously when it comes to any healthcare-related industry. You don’t want to risk a data breach and be subject to fraud. For this reason, your software must be PCI-compliant, and have integrated credit/debit processing.
When to Make the Switch
If your processes are not very streamlined and you are experiencing operational challenges, but you lack the visibility and access to data to identify the sources of those challenges, it may be time to switch. Data is critical when it comes to diagnosing issues like bottlenecks and understanding where your operational inefficiencies are coming from. Without this knowledge, you won’t have the ability to implement solutions that solve those challenges.
You may be experiencing this issue if your customers are complaining about poor experiences and your profits are suffering. If you’ve tried simply training employees better to no avail, it could be a system-wide issue that stems from the technology you use.
What to Look For
There are a number of qualities you want to look for beyond specific functionality. First, you want to look for a system that is within your price range. You’ll have to determine what your budget is. You get what you pay for, so don’t sacrifice functionality for price, but make sure you aren’t overpaying for software functions you don’t need.
You also want to make sure you have a complete all-in-one solution, which will come with both the hardware and software that you need. To minimize training time, look for an intuitive system that has all the functionality you require, but is easy to train employees on.
When it comes to pharmacy point of sale systems, the provider is just as important as the software. Look for a reputable provider like Auto-Star, who has extensive experience in your industry. We can provide you with all the information you need to make a solid choice and get the most out of your system. Our experts offer solutions that are purposefully designed for the clinical pharmacy setting to help your business achieve greater success.
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