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Larry Brantley, owner and CEO of RxMaster, Rogers, Ark., explains how he and the staff at RxMaster develop pharmacy software and solutions to impact the pharmacy operation, part of our May/June Cover Story on Workflow Efficiencies. 

ComputerTalk: We are interested in what you see as a key feature in your system that adds efficiency to a pharmacy. We assume it starts with workflow.

Brantley: When I think of workflow, it really impacts a lot of the operation. Sometimes people think about workflow and it’s the steps of filling a prescription, but we think of it in a broader sense. Let me run through how some of our stores use workflow.

One example is DIR [direct and indirect reimbursement] fees. These are a big deal, and we have features in our pharmacy software system that can automatically identify patients and prescriptions involving maintenance medications. And we can break that down into the categories of drugs that impact the star ratings, like hypertension. Then we can tell the pharmacists those prescriptions that need to be refilled in the upcoming days.

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ComputerTalk: Is that a setting that the pharmacists set up and they get a report?

Brantley: Pharmacists can set defaults but they have the ability to override those defaults on the fly. And it’s not a report, they’re screens. The pharmacy software system automatically generates a screen of the patient. You might click on Larry Brantley and then see the prescriptions that are coming due for Larry Brantley and whether or not they had refills left or we need to request refills from the doctor ahead of time.

All of that goes into controlling the chaos. If you wait until the last minute to fill a prescription and then find the patient is out of refills, then there is a need to send an e-script refill request to the doctor and get it authorized. While waiting for a reply, the pharmacist has to circle back and do something else. This all falls into workflow.

This also lets us be proactive with medication adherence. When we have slower times or a lighter workload in the pharmacy, pharmacy staff can go ahead and be working on those prescriptions that they know those patients are going to need tomorrow or the following day. And many of these prescriptions are filled by pharmacy technicians nowadays.

In the 1980s the average pharmacy was filling 75 scripts a day and it was the pharmacist who was running them all through the computer. Today, they are averaging three times that volume and it’s the technician who is inputting the data and transmitting the insurance claim. In the workflow when the prescriptions come down the counter, we have a quality control verification step where the pharmacist can have two or three techs feeding him prescriptions and the pharmacist just scans a barcode on the label and it brings that prescription up. The pharmacist can see a scanned image of the prescription as it was written and how it was entered into the computer to look for any mistakes. If it’s a controlled substance the pharmacist checks the patient’s narcotic score. That can all be completed at that stage.

Read the May/June Cover Story on Workflow

ComputerTalk: What else would you like to add?

Brantley: Right. And earlier we were talking about the screens that our customers use for medication adherence. One of our customers told us just recently that the store’s DIR fees were reduced thousands of dollars for that month.

The fact that we’re reducing DIR fees is because the star ratings are all higher and it goes back to patient adherence. And that goes back to us being proactive in communicating with the patient about clinical metrics, like blood pressure. This then shows up on those clawbacks from the third parties.

We also recently rolled out an pharmacy software update to our stores that gives them the ability to bill the third parties for deliveries. That’s proving to be a lot of help during COVID-19.

One of the best things about RxMaster is that we work closely with our stores and we respond really quickly. This can make a big difference for the stores.

You know, there’s a pretty high resistance to change, to changing your computer system and pharmacy software. We’re driven by integrity and serving our customers. We want to serve these people and be as big a benefit to them as we can, and that’s what I’d like to try and get across in our advertising this year. I want to let everyone know there are still family-owned companies out there that are small enough to really engage with the owners of those stores and provide the service they just can’t get anywhere else.

We’ve had a true modern Windows system for over 15 years now. We have modern technology and the benefit of being small enough to provide great service.

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ComputerTalk: It seems like that’s what many independents want.

Brantley: You know, back to workflow. When the coronavirus started happening, we have a couple of different ways to do signature capture in our pharmacy software system. We also have our own point-of-sale system and we have signature pads there at the checkout area, but we also have iPad signature capture and we also have a delivery system that’s part of our pharmacy POS system. A lot of our stores use this because of COVID-19, either doing deliveries or curbside delivery or even the drive-thru. They’re really using that iPad a lot now for signatures.

ComputerTalk: And that just goes right into the system?

Brantley: Yes. We also have Apple Pay and Google Pay on our point-of-sale system. I went into a convenience store the other day and I used my Apple Pay so I wouldn’t have to touch the machine. I hold it up and it turns blue and then it comes up on the screen, saying enter your pin number. Oh, so now I’ve got to touch the keypad to put my PIN number in there, and then it comes up and says, is this correct? So now I’ve got to touch the screen again. Hello. Who wrote this program? It was in a major convenience store chain.

That’s the other thing that happens when the developers are away from the customer. The software developers can be really out of touch with what’s going on in the real world. It’s almost impossible to design really efficient solutions like Sack-It unless you’re out there and you understand the issues. The way we developed our pharmacy software for Apple Pay and Google Pay is you don’t have to use the PIN pad and you don’t have to touch the screen. CT