Kraig McEwen, CEO of RedSail Technologies, LLC, spoke with ComputerTalk’s Maggie Lockwood about the company’s vision for the independent pharmacy market as its portfolio increases to include three major players: QS/1, Integra, and most recently, PioneerRx. With a long background in healthcare technology, McEwen sheds light on the importance of scale for independent pharmacy, as well as innovative technology platforms that respond to the healthcare trends toward value-based care.

Kraig McEwen
CEO, RedSail Technologies

ComputerTalk: Thanks for speaking with us, Kraig. Let’s start with your background and RedSail’s mission, especially with the addition of PioneerRx to the product suite. How is this leading to an evolution in the industry?

ComputerTalk: Thanks for speaking with us, Kraig. Let’s start with your background and RedSail’s mission, especially with the addition of PioneerRx to the product suite. How is this leading to an evolution in the industry?

Kraig McEwen: I’ve been in health-care technology for 20-plus years, and the last 10 of those have been in pharmacy, including with Francisco Partners, which typically looks for markets or segments that have either experienced massive disruption or that have been dormant for a variety of reasons. Pharmacy is undergoing changes, and we think leveraging technology investment can really drive meaningful clinical and market transformation.

We’ve studied the pharmacy management system market for quite a few years and have admired the independent pharmacy market specifically. What we really liked about independent pharmacy is for 30 years people have been saying, “Independent pharmacy is dead.” But we’re inspired by the resilience of independent pharmacy. And when you look at some of the broader trends in the market, such as a shortage of primary care physicians that is only going to worsen, we believe independent pharmacy can be a really important growth market for the country.

What’s great about independent pharmacies? They’re responsive and innovative. They deliver personalized care, but they don’t scale with clinical outcomes. Because of this, payers can lock them out of networks. We believe it’s important to demonstrate the superior clinical care at an aggregate level — to flip that paradigm. We also believe we can improve the ability for independent pharmacies to deliver clinical care as well as aggregate the outcomes across the network — thus, enabling us to create the most clinically advanced and financially sustainable network in the country.

That is the vision behind RedSail and how we got here. The first step in the process happened when we acquired QS/1. As we were acquiring QS/1, we were also pursuing Jeff Key at PioneerRx. We viewed scale as a necessity, and PioneerRx has done an awesome job innovating. Combining the two businesses became really important.

CT: Independent pharmacists are innovative, but they aren’t necessarily ahead when it comes to the data they can share.

McEwen: We can help solve for this by aggregating outcomes and services for the 9,000 independent pharmacies that are effectively doing eCare plans today. This can help show pharma and payers how pharmacy is driving greater adherence rates and can bring dollars and patients back into independent pharmacies.

If you look at how PioneerRx implemented eCare plans, they did it in such a way that it’s part of the workflow, so pharmacists are able to practice amazing clinical care naturally. Technology should be a lever that elevates independent pharmacy by allowing it to capture information and quantify it to demonstrate the impact of local, independent pharmacies.

View PioneerRx’s 2021 Buyers Guide Profile Here

CT: Tell us a little more about the payment models and how scaling up in terms of pharmacy locations will help that.

McEwen: It’s not only scale. A lot of that can be done on a state-by-state basis. We can now leverage our density in states where we have a sizable population of the retail pharmacies and go to specific payers and specific states and run programs that are unique to that state or that payer to drive different models.

Part of what we see as important is making sure we help pharmacies understand the value of the information they possess. We believe you need the data not to sell it, but to prove the clinical value that illustrates the argument that independent pharmacy has been trying to make for decades. And you’ll see us create a common clinical engine on the back of it. In the community pharmacy space, PioneerRx is just an amazing system, and we want to let Jeff Key and his team continue to rapidly innovate.

CT: I want to go back to a different issue with technology, which is customer service. Tell me about the RedSail Hub customer portal.

McEwen: We’re absolutely investing in the technology platform and concentrating more on support solutions. The RedSail Hub is a great example of that. We’re creating a knowledge center and an easy access point to help our customers help themselves in a lot of ways and build an online community. We launched several new releases on the QS/1 platform that we believe will really enhance our customers’ experience. By and large, we’ve been focusing on making sure the QS/1 base has a much better customer experience, and that’s step one.

CT: Now let’s touch on Integra.

McEwen: Integra is and will continue to develop innovative long-term care solutions. The Integra team is helping develop our next-generation long-term pharmacy management system, and once again Integra is going to introduce cutting-edge technology that will redefine the category. While QS/1’s PrimeCare is a strong product, all of the pharmacy management systems in the market are extremely mature. The long-term care [LTC] market is going through a significant change. An example of this is the trend toward care moving into the home much more extensively. These trends will demand contemporary SaaS [software-as-a-ser-vice] technology platforms. Integra is the way with what will be the first truly modern and cloud-enabled LTC pharmacy management system. We are completely committed to this new architecture because we believe that’s how we can deliver the solutions our customers need, and actually reduce the cost of ownership for long-term care pharmacies that we suspect will continue to be under increasing cost pressure.

Check Out The Integra 2021 Retail Buyers Guide Profile Here

CT: With the vision you’re sharing for pharmacy, what is your plan for growth?

McEwen: We will, in my opinion, invest in organic development — technology development and customer support — which is the lifeblood of this company. And we will do so aggressively in those areas. We will see this first and foremost through PioneerRx. PioneerRx has a remarkable set of features coming to market, from COVID/vaccine solutions to exciting mobile patient engagement innovations.

Additionally, we’re really excited about the upcoming launch of what we believe is the first true multitenant SaaS long-term care pharmacy management system in the country within the next year.

We’re also very interested in expanding our breadth in the areas we’ve talked about, particularly clinical services, and trying to ensure we’re using our scale to bend the curve for independent pharmacies. CT

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