As the name suggests, a pharmacy management system is a platform that digitizes workflows and functionalities in pharmacies. People who visit pharmacies often rely on pharmacists to help them understand medication parameters and even interpret doctors’ recommendations.
Additionally, pharmacists have to dispense medication, complete insurance formalities, manage sales and day-to-day administrative activities. This is where a pharmacy software system comes in handy.
Benefits of a Pharmacy Management System
HIPAA regulations stipulate strict rules for handling patient data by professionals in the medical industry. Using a digital platform for pharmacy management makes it easier for the staff to ensure the privacy of health data and its appropriate usage.
2. Improved Efficiency
Pharmacists have to do many things and ensure that there aren’t any medicines past their expiration date. Furthermore, the staff must also manage the finances of the pharmacy. A single, consolidated pharmacy inventory management system empowers pharmacists to manage daily workflows with a few clicks while minimizing errors.
3. Reduction in Medicine Malpractice
Pharmacists often sell highly exclusive medication that might be harmful if consumed without physicians’ explicit instructions. These include medication for mental illness, steroids, and pills with opioids. A pharmacy management software helps the staff dispense the right amount of medication to the right person and eliminates any opportunity to misuse drugs.
4. Improved Patient Outcomes
Patients often seek guidance from pharmacists about drug adherence and discuss their conditions. Pharmacy management solutions that can integrate with electronic health records allow pharmacists to counsel patients and resolve any queries. Cloud computing in healthcare has even enabled mhealth applications for pharmacy management. These allow people to connect with their pharmacists using smartphones and clarify any doubts about drug usage while pharmacists make valuable recommendations. As a result, people suffering from chronic conditions go on to enjoy better outcomes in the long run.
Important Features of a Pharmacy Management Software
Several vendors that develop custom healthcare solutions also offer pharmacy management system solutions. In light of numerous options, it might become difficult to choose the right one for your pharmacy. But there are a few common, indispensable features that every pharmacy management software ought to have –
1. Inventory Management
Pharmacies deal with a large variety of inventory that must be carefully monitored and dispensed. These include filling out orders to manufacturers, updating stocks, checking for expiration, ensuring that over-the-counter medication is always available, and so forth. Many of these are repetitive, and pharmacy inventory software with healthcare automation would reduce the burden on staff, not to mention minimize the possibility of errors.
2. Prescription Management
This is one of the essential features of any pharmacy management solution. It enables doctors to update prescriptions and refills directly, easing the workflows at the pharmacy. This is possible because of seamless electronic data exchange between the physician’s end and the pharmacist’s end of the platform. Furthermore, functional healthcare interoperability allows pharmacies to pull up health records and verify doctor recommendations, thereby reducing the risk of errors.
Reporting and healthcare analytics solutions within pharmacy management systems assess the daily business data. The amount of each drug sold, the people sold to, cost-to-expenditure ratios, and so forth reveal insights on the business side of things. Efficient clinical data analytics also helps to minimize over-stocking or wastage and optimizes operational overhead.
4. Electronic Prescription
Everyone’s aware of the illegible handwriting that most physicians have. Unsurprisingly, this increases the chances of errors. Moreover, it might also slow down pharmacy workflows as the staff may have trouble understanding a handwritten prescription. Electronic prescriptions become extremely helpful for pharmacies in densely populated urban locations that deal with many customers.
Assessing patterns of drug usage could help doctors and policymakers take an informed approach to population health management. In addition to analyzing the business side, clinical informatics solutions for integrated pharmacy management platforms also assess comprehensive data about every patient who buys medication, operational workflows, and purchase patterns of various kinds of drugs. Such analytics further help pharmaceutical research and improve healthcare provider solutions.
Steps to Build a Pharmacy Management System
Let’s look at the sequence of steps to develop a pharmacy management software –
1. Identify Your Goals
This is one of the first steps in developing software for any application. Knowing what exactly you need it for helps developers add relevant functionality. The same holds good for a pharmacy inventory system. The goals of pharmacies might differ based on geography or other parameters, and a pharmacy at an urban location might have different needs from one at a rural one. Parameters like the number of customers served and the kind of medications sold frequently help prevent shortages or excessive stocks.
2. Finalize Architecture
The design of pharmacy software programs must reflect the workflows of a pharmacy. A particular pharmacy might need to have a function for medical records management to access health data and assist patients. Moreover, an architecture modelled after integrated healthcare systems would also help pharmacists serve their customers better regarding refills, alternatives and even counsel patients about drug usage.
3. Migrate Data
Pharmacy operating systems need data to function after the architecture is finalized. Migration of a pharmacy’s business data to the platform would help the development team incorporate administrative workflows and add the relevant features.
4. Integrate With a CRM Platform
Integrating with a customer relationship management platform helps pharmacy inventory management software interact with customers better, and it goes a long way in establishing effective patient engagement systems. A CRM functionality helps pharmacists know their customers better and make informed decisions about their workflows. Moreover, it also provides an overview of patients’ health needs and allows the staff serves customers better.
5. Deploy and Test
This is the last step in building a pharmacy management system. After the requirements have been finalized and operational data migrated, the development team builds the platform and tests it to check for bugs. The final product must meet client requirements and ensure seamless functionality. Furthermore, the pharmacy software systems company must offer periodic support and updates for smooth operations.
Electronic pharmacy systems go a long way in improving the overall clinical experience for patients and help pharmacists optimize operations. They form an indispensable part of the broader integrated care management strategy at larger hospitals. The covid-19 pandemic accelerated the digitization of several aspects of healthcare, including parts of the pharmacy management process. It has helped pharmacists enjoy higher revenues, reduced waiting times for patients, and resulted in a win-win for all stakeholders involved. Pharmacy management software development has cemented its place in the healthcare technology industry.