BestRx Pharmacy Software has recently announced a partnership with Script Management Partners (SMP) to help pharmacies better manage their immunization programs, in terms of both opportunities and reporting. In this interview BestRx President Hemal Desai talks about the challenges independent pharmacies face in identifying and converting on immunization opportunities, as well as managing the different reporting requirements for each state registry.
ComputerTalk: Why is a strong immunization program important for an independent pharmacy?
Hemal Desai: First, immunizations create a great additional revenue stream for pharmacies. Second, they also help to build patient loyalty when your patients know they can come to you to get certain immunizations rather than having to make a doctor’s appointment. Third, they really position pharmacy in the clinical space in the patient’s mind. Something that they used to have done in the physician’s office, well, that’s now happening at the pharmacy. Finally, we’re finding that a successful immunization program opens the door to allow the pharmacy to provide additional services.
CT: What’s the new partnership with Script Management Partners bring to the table?
Desai: It’s about getting immunization tasks into the pharmacy system workflow and ensuring they are as automated as possible. When a BestRx pharmacy user signs up with SMP, we’re then able to sync up patient prescription and immunization histories within the pharmacy system profile with SMP, which then is able to query and report to the immunization registries. Our goal was a system-driven approach that’s completely within the workflow. You’re not going to a different portal or having to log into a separate program.
CT: So you’re bringing this into the pharmacy system workflow. How exactly?
Desai: Whenever the pharmacy works on a patient, either when you‘re filling a prescription, viewing the patient’s profile, or even more critically when you have the patient in the pharmacy, an alert pops up within the workflow announcing any immunization opportunities available for the patient.
These alerts are especially valuable when you have the patient in front of you at the pharmacy, what we can call the point of care. This is when you can make the biggest impact on the conversion rate, particularly when pharmacy staff are well trained to engage patients on the topic and explain that an immunization will just take a minute and that it‘s also really important.
This same alert system can also present a list of a range of other clinical opportunities that are available for that patient, who is present at that very moment.
You also need to be able to automate the reporting process. It‘s a real burden if a pharmacy gives an immunization and documents it within BestRx, for example, but then has to go over to the registry portal and do the data entry again. We understood these problems and we needed to find a way to streamline all of this.
CT: Tell us more about where the immunization data is flowing from and where it’s getting reported to.
Desai: The data on immunization opportunities comes from SMP, and they are handling the integration and data exchange with all the various state immunization registries. That was one of the key things for BestRx users. They don’t have to have that data exchange set up with a registry in order to submit a query on a patient. Being able to check the registries easily is critical, since a patient may have gotten an immunization elsewhere and we don’t want to generate an alert for an opportunity that isn’t actually there.
The immunization data is a two-way flow, of course. Pharmacies also need to report to the registries when they give an immunization. Our partnership with SMP is also allowing us to automate the process and bring it into the BestRx workflow.
Whenever a pharmacy submits an NDC for an immunization, we automatically pop up a window that allows you to enter additional information that you don’t normally need, such as the administration site and who administered the vaccine. That information is then automatically reported to the appropriate state registry in real time. If you end up reversing the claim for the immunization, then that’s reported to the registry too. There’s no need to set aside time for collecting and submitting immunization records.
CT: Anything else readers should know about this partnership?
Desai: Yes, I want to mention that all this comes with little cost to the pharmacy. There’s only a $99 setup fee from SMP to get started. There are no transaction fees for the registry queries or reporting, and it’s all done directly from the BestRx software. CT