Some great ideas begin small. With time, imagination and repetition, most ideas can be improved and expanded. Through hard work and dedication, ideas can evolve with the times, if the right people are in place to make things happen. Add technology and a team approach to improve customer service and streamline an entire operation.
Klingensmith’s drugstores, in western Pennsylvania has always been determined to be on the cutting edge of pharmacy. Rick Gribik, pharmacist and director of pharmacy operations, and his entire team have never been afraid to strike out on their own to develop and perfect new pharmacy practices. “Customer service is at the heart of all we do and the decisions we make,” explained Gribik. “All the services we offer are aimed to strengthen customer service. Leveraging customer service with technology has allowed us the opportunity to interact with more patients and customers and to establish a healthy level of trust.”
About 10 years ago, in an effort to improve inventory management, Gribik and his team were one of the first to develop their own perpetual inventory system. Their method began simply, with index cards in a box. Patients had their own index card with their name and medications listed. In the first leg of the process, customers’ regular prescription(s) were filled and then moved to will call. After customers were notified and prescription(s) were picked up, the process was repeated again and again. The process helped the pharmacy staff know when to reorder medications, which streamlined their entire operation. It didn’t take long for this method to grow into something much bigger.
Gribik referred to it as the “poor man’s prefill program,” with a chuckle. “Customers got their medications when they needed them and were only required to make one scheduled trip to the store. The program allowed us to keep a tight rein on our inventory. We didn’t have tons of extra inventory stocked because we knew when and how much to reorder,” he explained. “It was workflow before Workflow.”
While attending the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Conference two years ago this February, Gribik and Klingensmith’s staff received useful information on how to take their prefill method to the next level. Their effort became computerized and is now known as Prescription Synchronization or ScriptSync. “Now patients are notified 7-10 days before their prescription is due to be refilled. This way we can keep up with changes to their drug therapy, any additional medication added, any samples received and any deletions,” Gribik said. The once manual call by a pharmacy staff member is now automated. “Automation allows us to reach more customers on a daily basis and keep patient information more current.”
Gribik and staff are working hard to increase the number of customers participating in ScriptSync. Their hope is to take the program to the next level and incorporate medication therapy management to improve Five-Star Quality Ratings. Additionally, several different focus groups comprised of pharmacists, pharmacy professors and patients were formed to identify the pros and cons of the program. Their findings proved that ScriptSync makes managing prescription therapy less stressful for patients and Klingensmith’s staff as well. “It helps us consolidate deliveries, reduce inventory and increase customer service. It’s a real win-win for us as well as our customers,” Gribik said.
Klingensmith’s drugstores raised the bar with their program, but Gribik credited QS/1’s Health-Minder® as a big help, as well as brainstorming sessions with several QS/1 employees in order to develop some software features to aid in the synchronization process.
Through the years, QS/1 has played an integral role in Klingensmith’s success. A former CRx® customer, the company now uses NRx® at its eight retail pharmacies, as well as PrimeCare® and Multi-site Management (MSM™) at its long term care pharmacy. “We have always enjoyed an interactive, honest relationship with QS/1. Most importantly, it’s a team approach. We work together to make things better,” Gribik said.