OmniSYS CEO John KingCT: Where do you see pharmacy owners putting their technology investment dollars in 2018?

John King: 2018 will continue to see pharmacies invest in technology which helps them better engage patients, compete on value and differentiate their brands.

CT:  What existing technology do you think pharmacist should use more in 2018?

King: Smart clinical alerts are an emerging yet proven technology that pharmacists can leverage to expand their relationships with patients, increase pharmacy revenue and make a positive impact on population health. Smart clinical alerts identify patients eligible for pharmacy-administered vaccines in real-time and inside the pharmacist’s existing workflow. In addition to providing revenue growth for the pharmacy’s immunization service line, they also help change the patient’s perception of the pharmacy as a provider of preventative care.

CT: What’s your top pharmacy trend to watch for 2018?

King: Based on the growth in private insurance and the overall move towards value-based reimbursement, preferred networks will continue to be a trend that pharmacies should watch in 2018. With more than 85 percent of Part D beneficiaries now covered under a narrow network, payers will continue to put pressure on pharmacies and use tightly controlled networks to reduce pharmacy margins as they seek additional drug savings. As a result, pharmacies need to quantify the total value that the customer brings to the pharmacy and focus on ways to strengthen those customer relationships. Network criteria will continue to focus on performance and quality, and therefore pharmacies will need a patient engagement strategy that helps them make informed decisions about how to best engage patients. At the end of the day, the pharmacy’s ability to influence the patient’s behavior will have the biggest impact on performance measures.

CT: What do you see as the most important market for pharmacy in 2018?

King: Patient communications is the most important market opportunity for pharmacies in 2018. With a number of disruptive market factors beyond the pharmacy’s control such as payers, PBM’s, mail order pharmacies and potential new entrants like Amazon, meaningful engagement with patients beyond the point of sale will be critical to the success of the pharmacy. The pharmacy needs to position itself as a health hub for the community, developing strategic, long-term relationships with patients that won’t be disrupted by other market factors.

CT: What new revenue source should pharmacies look to in 2018?

King: Adult immunization services are a great place for pharmacies to grow. Over the past several years, most pharmacies have expanded their immunization service line. However data over this same time period shows that adult immunization rates remained stagnant, which means there is still a large revenue opportunity for pharmacies to capture. With new technologies that allow pharmacists to easily identify vaccine-eligible patients, pharmacies can continue to expand their immunization service line and reach a large population of adults who remain unvaccinated from vaccine-preventable diseases such as pneumococcal, influenza, shingles and more.