As SoftWriters celebrates its 20th anniversary of its pharmacy management platform, FrameworkLTC, and 20 years serving long-term care pharmacy, ComputerTalk’s Maggie Lockwood spoke with Tim Tannert, president, about the company’s commitment to its customers, the challenges facing the industry today, and how the philosophy to deliver solutions that support success still holds true.
ComputerTalk: Congratulations on this milestone. I know your customer conference would have been the time to highlight the many accomplishments of the company and its customers. With the pandemic, things are different. What’s been a positive this year?
Tim Tannert: It’s been a challenging year for the long-term care industry. Covid-19 has had an impact across healthcare, and as you know long-term care, specifically the skilled nursing facilities, have really been affected. The census in skilled nursing facilities is down, and that has definitely been a challenge for our customers. The other challenge has been the increased procedures around safely delivering and sanitizing the equipment for getting the medications to the facilities. While there’s been a reduction in revenue because of fewer scripts being filled, they have also seen an increased cost for delivery of care. From SoftWriters’ perspective, it’s been our focus to support our customers in every way that we possibly can. We’ve tried to do everything from free licensing to our pharmacies that supplied the medications to pop-up hospitals. We also provided free licensing for our mobile workflow product, FrameworkFlow, to allow our customers to more effectively socially distance within their operations and not have to share computer equipment in order to dispense medications. We’ve done a tremendous amount around developing our virtual training and e-learning offerings in order to make sure our customers know how to use the tools to be successful.
Our customer success team has done a fantastic job onboarding new pharmacies at a steady clip within the confines of our distributed environment. In fact, we’ve implemented the same number of pharmacies as in previous years, and with very favorable customer satisfaction scores, all by creating, testing, and delivering a powerful virtual training program.
CT: How did you develop the tools?
Tannert: It all starts with our relationship with our customers. We want to share in their successes as well as their struggles. We want to share our deep industry expertise and product knowledge in order to provide them guidance to configure and utilize our software in ways they haven’t used in the past to help them more effectively manage their business processes.
Covid-19 is definitely not what we, nor anyone, anticipated going into 2020, but I’m very proud of the resiliency of our customers and our team. Our customers have absolutely met the challenge and have been able to evolve and adapt to successfully care for their residents and patients across the healthcare ecosystem.
CT: I know it seems hard to think about celebrating right now, but I think that it’s worthwhile talking about what’s been successful over the years and maybe some of the high points.
Tannert: You know, our biggest event of the year is our FrameworkLTC user conference, and it definitely saddens us that we can’t be face to face with our customers to celebrate this significant milestone. Instead we’ve rolled out a 20th anniversary webinars series. This has allowed us to cultivate a pretty impressive lineup of speakers on some of the most pressing topics that our customers are facing today, whether that might be communication in a state of crisis or industry changes and how to effectively market to skilled nursing facilities in the day and age of COVID-19. For example we’ve seen a 300%-plus increase in the number of cyber security incidents across all industries. So we’ve held webinars to help owners understand how to thwart cyber attacks and put themselves in a better offensive position to understand the tricks used to penetrate pharmacies’ networks. We covered how pharmacies need to train team members to think about having backups prepared so if needed they can quickly get back up to speed. Hopefully, next year we’ll be back together and in Las Vegas celebrating everyone’s successful rebound from COVID-19.
CT: This fits into the idea of supporting your customers so they can support their customers.
Tannert: We really pride ourselves that we’re the only commercially available pharmacy information system that is purpose-built for long-term care and only focuses on long-term care. I believe that is so important because the functionality of long-term care pharmacies’ need is very different from the rest of the market. We’ve been able to build an impressive team with very deep industry expertise. We continue to leverage technology and innovation to help our customers be more successful.
CT: Back to the history of SoftWriters as a long-term-care–only system. Was that a conscious decision?
Tannert: Absolutely. There have been enticements to get into adjacent markets. There are ten times more retail pharmacies than long-term care pharmacies. But we’ve taken the disciplined approach that we want to be the very best at what we do, and we want to stay laser focused on that approach. I think that’s played to our advantage and been a big differentiator because we’re able to provide the resources and the technology to help our customers grow and win in the space.
CT: Did you have any new features roll out before COVID-19 hit?
Tannert: We’ve been able to successfully execute on the roadmap that we’ve had going into this year. The focus of our functionality this year is to continue to help our customers maximize revenue and to collect that revenue more quickly — for example, the functionality we built around Medicare Part A and prospective billing. By focusing our efforts on the things that matter most to our customers we’ve been able to deliver real value.
CT: I think this fits into the company philosophy that the company and customers are in this together.
Tannert: The core focus of SoftWriters is to serve our customers to the best of our ability to improve their patients’ lives. Yes, we are in this together and we truly do make an impact and we do make a difference together.
CT: I know SoftWriters is known for its suite of products. How can you develop products with this holistic view of how everything fits together?
Tannert: One of the things that’s really differentiated us is the fact that we have the most robust suite of products in the industry. By having that robust suite of products, we’re able to leverage functionality from one product into another to make it more seamless and fully integrated. And there is a network effect. How can we use the data from one system and the functionality and combine it with the function of the other two to come up with this cool new feature-function that drives real value? That’s what we’re constantly doing on a day-in, day-out basis. That is critical to our success and our customers’ success when we have a cohesive suite that seamlessly connects across their entire enterprise.
CT: What do you see happening over the next six months?
Tannert: I believe we’re going to see a steady increase in patients in skilled nursing facilities as the comfort level of the patients and their families increases. And ultimately, as we get a vaccine, this will increase the census coming back to normal. The most important aspects right now for customers and for the facilities is to try to get back to a sense of normalcy for their patient population and their patient numbers. As that occurs, things are going to continue to improve financially for the pharmacy. That’s one of the reasons we’ve put a tremendous amount of effort into our prospective billing functionalities, to automate and streamline this process to give pharmacies more effective and advantageous cash flow.
The services provided within the long-term care pharmacy landscape continue to grow in importance. And as the definition of long-term care grows and expands, we are excited to continue to lead the way in providing better pharmaceutical care and compliance with innovative software solutions. We are also privileged to partner with some of the biggest, brightest, and best pharmacies in long-term care to help shape our vision. These partners counsel us through an advisory board and influence the development of our solutions to better serve the patient population. With their guidance, combined with our growing team of talented employees, we’re excited to further our leadership position in long-term care.
CT: What are some of your favorite memories from the past 20 years?
Tannert: My favorite stories always start and end with the impact we’ve had on the lives of patients, customers, and employees. In particular, I’m humbled to reflect on the growth, resilience, and perseverance I’ve seen from our team during this time of great disruption and uncertainty in the world. Our team’s ability to stay grounded in our mission, supporting our customers in the long-term care industry, was a defining moment for us that solidified the strength we have as a team, industry, and force for improving long-term care. Another one of my favorite stories surrounds our core value: one team, family spirit. We’ve been able to cultivate a culture of growth both personally and professionally, where employees build their lives, families, and careers with SoftWriters’ mission as a North Star. CT
Visit www.frameworkltc.com to learn more about SoftWriters‘ solutions.