Viewpoints Column Archives

Viewpoints [November/December 2017] Training Support with a New Technology Solution

A recent Wall Street Journal article by Heather Haddon described how “Grocers Imagine the Store of the Future.” It was an excellent article outlining how technology will improve the customer experience by customizing ads, deploying staff to cash registers based upon store traffic monitored via infrared sensors, and apps that take recipes and populate grocery shopping lists. Undoubtedly there is applicability to retail pharmacy management.

Viewpoints [September/October 2017] Amazon: Pharmacy Disrupter or Tough Going?

The mid-May announcement that Amazon plans to enter the pharmacy market was met with many divergent views. While many are convinced that Amazon will be a market disrupter that is too big and savvy to fail, one only needs to remember the Amazon Fire phone to realize that Amazon is not infallible

Viewpoints [July/August 2017] Drug Utilization Alerts: Failures and Future Direction

A December 2016 Chicago Tribune exposé concerning pharmacists’ failure to counsel patients on potentially life-threatening drug interactions and prevent the filling of these prescriptions. Of the 255 pharmacies tested, 52% dispensed medication pairs without mentioning the interaction risks.

ViewPoints [May/June 2017] What Happens When We Run Out of NDC Numbers?

The drug product identifier used by pharmacies to submit prescription claims — the NDC (National Drug Code) number for the majority of those products — is going to run out of numbers sometime in the next decade.

Viewpoints [January/February 2017] The Outlook for 2017

With the tumultuous election behind us, our thoughts turn to a new year and the challenges that lie ahead. These changes should be beneficial for the economy while also creating new opportunities and challenges for the pharmacy industry.

Viewpoints [November/December 2016] The Changing Dynamics of Opioid Prescriptions

Pharmacists are increasingly facing new challenges with managing and dispensing controlled substance medications. Market and regulatory changes have been taking place with controlled substances, including the new opioid guidelines, electronic ordering of CIIs using the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Controlled Substance Ordering System (CSOS), and increased availability and utilization of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs).

ViewPoints [September/October 2015] Performance Networks

We will review the types of performance networks and the different strategies employed to drive measurements designed to improve patient outcomes.

ViewPoints [May/June 2016] Getting a Handle on Your Inventory

Inventory management can help ensure the proper amount of product is in stock at the right time, while reducing inventory costs and increasing inventory turns. The inventory management system can also suggest, place, and receive orders, reducing the need to engage a pharmacist or technician in a labor-intensive process.

ViewPoints [May/June 2015] Biosimilars: Facts and Future Decisions

With the first biosimilar approval in March and the FDA’s publishing of biosimilar industry guidance documents in April, it is essential to evaluate different stakeholder perspectives concerning what is already known about biosimilars and what still remains to be determined.

Viewpoints [January/February 2016] The Market Impact of Pharmacy Consolidation

The rate of retail pharmacy mergers has increased in the last year, with the announcement of several mega deals. The total pharmacies involved in these announced mergers is approximately 10% of the retail pharmacies in the country. We will spend a few minutes reviewing the market dynamics driving the accelerating consolidation in the industry.

Viewpoints [November/December 2015] The Impact of Patient Intelligence Tools on Healthcare

As technological innovations expand, the opportunities for healthcare are limitless. In the last five years, smartphones and Bluetooth technology have opened the door for a number of new patient intelligence tools, often referred to as consumer intelligence tools. The most popular patient intelligence tools are, undoubtedly, fitness trackers or wearables.

ViewPoints [September/October 2015] Influence of Accountable Care Organizations on Clinical Services

Pharmacies have faced a constant struggle to obtain reimbursement for providing clinical services in the retail pharmacy space outside of the Medicare Part D market. There are new healthcare financing models that have been introduced in recent years that provide incentives to take a holistic approach to patient management.

Viewpoints [July/August 2015] Challenges of Managing Generic Pricing

Generic drugs used to be the golden goose for retail pharmacies. But with all of the changes taking place in the generic drug market, the new generic world requires that pharmacy owners remain flexible in their sourcing by examining pricing from several primary and secondary suppliers.

Viewpoints [January/February 2015] Predictions for 2015

As we begin a new year, we decided that an annual forecast of market changes would be in order. What follows is what we believe will have the greatest impact on pharmacy this year.

Viewpoints [November/December 2014] OIG Concerns with Co-pay Discount Programs

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report in September questioning pharmaceutical manufacturers’ safeguards to prevent co-pay card use in federally funded programs, specifically Medicare Part D. The OIG voices its concern with the strategies employed by the pharmaceutical manufacturers and their vendors that facilitate the execution of co-pay card programs.

Viewpoints [September/October 2014] E-Prescribing of Controlled Substances Moving Forward

Significant advances have occurred in electronic prescribing over the past few years. A substantial increase in volume was mainly due to the meaningful use of e-prescribing in prescriber systems according to the requirements set by CMS.

Viewpoints [July/August 2014] Refresher on HIPAA and HITECH

Many aspects of pharmacy practice have been shaped by HIPAA and HITECH requirements… Two areas that have recently emerged as potential threats to privacy and security are pharmacy apps and pharmacist-patient interactions outside of the pharmacy counter.

Viewpoints [May/June 2014] Interns and the Pharmacy Computer System

Pharmacy interns may interact with many computer systems within the prescription fulfillment workflow, with the most obvious being the pharmacy computer system. Interns who are educated on the different systems have the ability to impact the profitability of the pharmacy and improve customer service, while providing a head start on having a successful career as a pharmacist.

Viewpoints [March/April 2014] What’s Coming with Track and Trace: Part Two

In the last issue of ComputerTalk we discussed the requirements to be implemented under the the Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA) in the first three years. Here, we will discuss the longer-term conditions and implementation issues expected from 2017 through 2023, by which time the act will be fully operational.

Viewpoints [January/February 2014] What’s Coming with Track and Trace

The key provisions of the Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA) will be phased in over the next 10 years and will make it easier to trace where a drug has been in the supply chain; detect and remove counterfeit drug products; and facilitate drug recalls when necessary.

Viewpoints [November/December 2013] Prognostications for 2014

We have compiled our annual predictions for what is ahead in 2014, including changes in reimbursement, more critical analysis of technology investments, and the impact of pharmacist supply.

Viewpoints [September/October 2013] Assisting Patients with Health Insurance Exchanges

With many Americans looking for healthcare coverage starting Jan. 1, 2014, the importance of understanding the new health insurance exchanges cannot be overstated.

Viewpoints [July/August 2013] Starting a Refill Synchronization 

Refill synchronization is emerging as a new, innovative service for retail pharmacy. The service coordinates all of a patient’s maintenance prescriptions to be refilled on the same day each month.

Viewpoints [March/April 2013] Telemedicine in Pharmacy

We view this increased online patient contact with healthcare professionals as a huge opportunity for pharmacists to expand their scope of supportive care via telemedicine.

ViewPoints [March/April 2015] E-Prescriptions Leading to Uncharted Waters

E-prescribing has impacted the way pharmacies conduct their business. However, as technology helps solve problems, it may also create new problems.

Viewpoints [May/June 2013] Watchful Waiting for Health Information Exchanges

Gathering Information for retail pharmacists to be active users, HIEs need to be open to retail pharmacist involvement but pharmacists also share in the responsibility.

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