Read The 2017 Chain Report Cover Story Here

1Specialty and Compounding

The survey results showed approximately 70% of the chains responding dispense specialty, while just over 50% offer compounding.

Over 80% of respondents deploy a separate technology platform for specialty to address needs around billing, reporting and data feeds, accreditation, case/patient tracking, and document and call management.

Close to 70% of respondents use their existing pharmacy management systems for compounding.

Half of respondents see provisions in USP GC 800 on Hazardous Drugs — Handling in Healthcare Settings leading to a reduction in their compounding business.

2Reaching Out to Patients

Outbound communications remain important for pharmacy operations, and the survey shows that IVR (interactive voice response) is viewed as by far the most important technology for engaging patients, with text messaging, mobile apps, and integrated web refills following up.

What Are the Most Important Communications?

Clinical interactions, pickup reminders, and prescription-ready notices, along with med sync program interactions and refill reminders, come at the top.

What’s Needed in the Next Five Years to Stay Connected with Patients?

Interactive communications centering around mobile devices, apps, video chat.
Efficiency drivers such as kiosks, analytics, centralized fill and services, and robust interface to various healthcare platforms to create more time for pharmacist-patient interactions.

3Clinical Care

85% have collaborative practice agreements with local prescribers.
70% support provision of minor medical care by pharmacists.
45% have on-site clinics staffed by care providers other than pharmacists.
15% participate in accountable care organizations (ACOs).

Adherence Programs Are the Standard

Over 85% of respondents are either offering adherence programs or have them in development.

The top tools for adherence? Med sync, text messaging, automated outbound calling, adherence packaging, and pharmacy system dashboard metrics.

4Dispensing Automation

80% of respondents have some sort of dispensing automation deployed at their chains.
When asked to score dispensing automation’s importance to pharmacy operations on a scale of 1 to 10, the average score was a 6.
Robotics and countertop devices ranked the highest among specific types of dispensing automation.

5Will-Call Management Technology

40% of the chains responding either use technology to manage will-call or are deploying it soon.

6Technology’s Impact on Regulatory and Administrative Needs

The top areas where technology is having an impact are PCI (payment card industry) compliance and prescription monitoring program reporting and access.

Following close on those top two were financial reporting, prescriber validation, and electronic prior authorizations.

7Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances (EPCS)

Almost all of the chains responding are processing EPCS at all or some of their locations.