Streamlined health-system pharmacy operations and improved profitability: Two goals that were always important to hospital pharmacies, but in the wake of COVID-19’s stresses to the healthcare system, there’s even more of a need to implement digital solutions. The letter from the AHA (American Hospital Association) to Congress this March outlined the altered hospital landscape. COVID has resulted in 49% more admissions, and expenses are up 11%. Add to that the labor expense increases and the profound toll on health systems and healthcare professionals.
Reducing Readmission Rates
Hospital outpatient pharmacies can play a role in reducing readmission rates and improving compliance. To do this, pharmacy directors and leadership need to look at how pharmacist systems interface with the EHR (electronic health record) and the patient experience in picking up prescriptions at discharge. Here is where looking at technology and what it can do to alleviate tasks or streamline workflow can have a big impact.
Artificial Intelligence In Healthcare
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one innovation that is gaining traction in healthcare, and it especially makes a difference in pharmacy as it handles mundane tasks and supports point-of-care decision-making. DrFirst’s Colin Banas, M.D., M.S.H.A, chief medical officer, covers this in the company’s 2021 Health-System Buyers Guide profile. AI won’t replace people, but rather automates tasks more accurately and at a rate faster than staff could handle.
This means less work for the staff, for example, when adding patient data to medication histories and alerting pharmacists to potential adverse drug events. The ultimate goal is to leverage digital solutions and AI to enable data-driven decision-making at the point of care. Which means the staff can do other things.
Covenant Healthcare provides a case study of implementing DrFirst’s MedHx, which integrates patient medication history, including from local pharmacies, into the EHR. SmartSig, another DrFirst offering, translates, infers, and normalizes free-text sigs. You can read the entire profile here, along with the case study.
Health-System Pharmacy POS
Point of sale (POS) is an operational tool that’s been around for a while and might be easy to overlook. Systems today can offer more features to improve patient outcomes and pharmacy profits. The Retail Management Solutions (RMS) POS solutions let a health-system pharmacy mix and match its hardware to customize a system that works with and improves the pharmacy’s workflow.
POS can be a key component of a meds-to-beds program, capturing signatures and securely processing credit cards. Will call is another area where POS can mean a customer-friendly checkout. RMS’ Will Call batches prescriptions and associated with a single barcode. POS can also give pharmacists an opportunity to review any drug-induced nutrient depletion. The RMS solution does this at checkout, and the staff can engage with a patient, ultimately improving patient outcomes.
Health-System Pharmacy Buyers Guide
Learn more about these companies, as well as other key players in the health-system pharmacy technology space, in our 2021 Health-System Buyers Guide. We publish our 2022 edition in September. If you’re interested in being included, review the issue details at or contact me.