With independent pharmacy, owners have to be good at two things: They have to keep up with their pharmacy knowledge so they can be effective at counseling their patients, and they have to develop their business skills to ensure they run a successful business. Here, ComputerTalk’s Maggie Lockwood shares insights from Liberty’s Adam Engel.
“It’s an interesting job just from that perspective,” says Adam Engel, Pharm.D., director of client services at Liberty Software in Southlake, Texas. “Pharmacy owners encounter things on a day-to-day basis that I think I can relate to and help them with.”
After years in pharmacy in multiple settings, from retail, grocery, big-box retail, and hospital settings, Engel decided he wanted to develop his business expertise and got an M.B.A. from Southern Methodist University. When Engel joined Liberty as director of client services in 2017, it turned out to be a perfect fit: He got to step out from behind the bench, but remain closely connected to pharmacy.
Engel says he typically doesn’t share he has a pharmacy degree when talking to customers, although he has found that when he works it into the conversation, customers like to know they are working with someone who has been in their shoes.
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In Their Shoes
A typical week at Liberty begins with calls coming in on Monday morning, and the service team members either troubleshoot the issue themselves or route the call to another department. Engel has developed implementation training programs and teams to support various customer support areas, like printers, networks, and account management, so staff members know their roles and can handle specific issues quickly. He says that Liberty has hired a number of pharmacy technicians, since they understand the day-to-day routines in a pharmacy and how to get through the prescription-processing process. Mondays are a tough day in pharmacy, and that trickles down to the customer support department. And the first day of the month is even busier. “They can really be in the shoes of the customer on the other end of the phone,” Engel says. “Some pharmacies are large enough to hire a computer guru, so to speak, to help them with the problems, but for a lot of our customers, we’re their first line of defense when it comes to computer-related problems — from hardware to networking. And we take the time to try and help them with those problems.”
Seeing Trends, Implementing Change
Every pharmacy setting is different, and the issues that pharmacy staff call in with to Engel’s team are unique. There are a few themes, though, including insurance and getting paid based on insurance company requirements. The Liberty team helps in reviewing the steps to take with the insurance company to get a claim paid. On the clinical side, Liberty has developed an eCare plan and assists customers with submitting the plans. “We’ve seen this slowly increase,” Engel says. Medication therapy management (MTM) is also a fairly common concern.
One of Engel’s favorite parts of his job is development meetings. The staff reviews features that could be improved or new features that are ready for release. He serves as a resource to the team, providing experience to make it more user-friendly for the customer. “I didn’t know that was going to be part of my role,” Engel says. “But it’s one that I really enjoy. I can have a big effect on thousands of people if I make a suggestion that can prevent one extra click. That means our customers can more easily deliver a service to their customers.” CT
Maggie Lockwood is VP, director of production at ComputerTalk. You can reach her at