Teresa Butler, D.Ph., is a pharmacist/owner of Rx Shoppe in Grove, Okla. She has been a pharmacist for 26 years and graduated from the College of Pharmacy at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Butler worked in hospitals and chains before deciding to work for herself, and opened her pharmacy in Grove, her hometown, in 2010 with her friend and fellow pharmacist Larry Herrelson.
Butler’s Rx Shoppe offers MTM (medication therapy management), compliance packaging, compounding, and a focus on customer service. ComputerTalk’s Maggie Lockwood asked Butler about how she’s benefiting from artificial intelligence through DrFirst SmartSuite.
ComputerTalk: How did you decide to try AI with your pharmacy system?
Teresa Butler: I am always the person with a new computer or phone. I have always worked with our pharmacy software company and offered to be a beta tester on a lot of their new innovations. So it fell right in for me to get to be one of the people to try it out and see how it works. I was excited to try it out.
CT: What does SmartSuite look like in action in your pharmacy?
Butler: We use it to autofill medication directions and check for allergies. It may not seem like a timesaver to not type your sig codes, but throughout the day we find it’s a great timesaver.
CT: How did it change your workflow?
Butler: Our workflow stayed the same physically. What changed was how many of our staff members weren’t afraid to try typing. We have some clerks who are hesitant to type because they have to ask too many questions — they don’t know the sig codes and had to type out the directions, in full, each time. That’s not conducive to workflow, answering all the questions or having them type them out longhand.
With SmartSuite they are autofilled and the clerks can double-check it. With SmartSuite as accurate as it is, and the clerk’s basic knowledge, we move along much better. When they know they don’t have to ask 20 questions they are much more likely to jump in. For the more experienced ones it has been a big timesaver — they can definitely get through the queue much faster than before, and everyone loves to get to go to lunch on time.
CT: How did it support clinical decision-making?
Butler: That’s exactly what we‘ve needed — support. We often have to stop to look up a lot of information, and anytime we get an additional hand in to allow us to do the other tasks, the day goes more smoothly. It does not take away any of your abilities to make all these decisions; it just provides additional information in a quick format to process it a bit more quickly. The format is easy to read/process/understand. The best part is that with it being new technology, it doesn’t add time or training time required.
CT: What advice do you have for pharmacists considering AI for their pharmacy?
Butler: My advice would be to take a look at it first, of course, but my experience has been all positive with what we have tried. We have decreased wait time for a prescription. We have gotten good responses when we provided feedback to DrFirst to help initiate some changes. We definitely have a smoother workflow with fewer errors to be fixed. For us, this adds up to happier people and a better day all around. CT
Maggie Lockwood is VP at ComputerTalk. She can be reached at email@example.com.