Speed Script CEO Chuck Welch on services that pharmacists should ask if their vendor can provide.
ComputerTalk: Can you share advice pharmacists could use to know they are getting the best IT support for their monthly fee?
Chuck Welch: If a pharmacy is looking for a new system, they should be looking at all of the hardware they are getting. Our system includes the server, battery backup, all the peripherals, and the main router for the store. If a customer has a lot of workstations, we have different switches we can add to make things work. One of the biggest things we do for our customers is the router. It is a VPN (virtual private network) router that is configured to keep a consistent connection to a concentrator here at our office. That way, we can offer a lot of different services that work over a secured connection — like our SSLTC eMAR (electronic medication administration record) system, off-site backups, customer support, and other services.
CT: How specifically can you be responsive to a pharmacy’s technology needs beyond basic pharmacy management software?
Welch: It takes a lot of planning and a lot of investment to begin the process. It starts at the vendor or their hosting facility — building out a network to support customers and making the entire system secure. Many different measures have to be developed to manage the entire network and monitor it at the same time.
CT: Most pharmacists know their software vendors can write an interface or develop an integration. This is all software based. Share with us a few case studies or examples of how Speed Script has worked with customers to provide that IT support inside the store.
Welch: When Speed Script installs a system, we replace the router in the pharmacy with a Speed Script router, that is configured for their store and creates a secure VPN connection with the Speed Script network. This allows our support personnel the ability to connect with their servers without the need for a service being installed in the pharmacy and could pose a potential threat, if left running. Speed Script sends a hardware technician onsite, for the install, to make sure all the other networking hardware is performing optimally. Sometimes, we advise replacement of the remaining hardware. Also, as a store grows, Speed Script will work with the store to make sure they have the proper switches and networking equipment to support their needs.
CT: You mentioned pharmacists should “look under the hood” at a system before they make a change. What should they look for so they aren’t surprised down the road?
Welch: Most system vendors do not install or help manage the networking in the store. They load their software or system in the store and that is about it. When you install a system in your store, you should be looking for someone who is going to partner with you for the growth of your pharmacy, not just the cheapest system out there. Sometimes, when you buy the cheapest, you get the cheapest. Sometimes, the cheapest solution costs you more in the long run.
CT: How does a vendor work as an IT partner, to keep the pharmacy’s system running and safe?
Welch: Speed Script builds the network and systems to support the customer and manage their network. With all the other issues going on in pharmacy today, pharmacy owners do not need to worry about the router installed and their data being kept safe. We install the routers and set them up to connect with our systems through a secure VPN tunnel. We have seen where pharmacies have changed vendors and don’t even know the password to their router. The router is the firewall to the internet and should be viewed the same way as setting the alarm when they leave the pharmacy. We have seen pharmacies where the router is open to the internet or is some kind of homegrown router that does not support much security at all. CT