Community Pharmacy — Quality Equals Positive Patient Outcomes
Community pharmacies continue to move toward a pay-for-performance model. The model provides independent pharmacies a great opportunity to improve patient outcomes and generate new revenue streams. Payors recognize that preventative care is beneficial for patients, as well as themselves. Therefore, pharmacists’ focus will be geared toward patient outcomes and clinical services, instead of data entry for prescriptions. With the increased attention to medication synchronization, medication therapy management, immunizations and other pharmacist-provided services, pharmacies should consider having one pharmacist dedicated to these services, while another manages the filling process.
Another focus moving forward is the need for interoperability and the use of Health Information Exchange (HIE) systems. The ability to share patients’ data with other members of their healthcare team is crucial to providing the best possible outcomes. The push for interoperability also confirms the importance of being included in High-Performance Networks for community pharmacies. High-Performance Network inclusion is based on the pharmacy’s ability to provide clinical services that increase positive patient outcomes. The ability to prove these positive results shows the pharmacy’s value and secures its place in the network. Pharmacies already providing these services, without reimbursement, are positioned to begin taking advantage of the pay-for-performance model. Others need to begin focusing on these services in order to grow business.
Long-Term Care (LTC) Pharmacy — Integration and Simplification
In order to remain competitive, LTC pharmacies need more time to perform functions and need to be able to demonstrate the value they provide to customers. All members of QS/1’s PrimeCare® team are working to find ways to reduce steps associated with certain tasks, and this may be as simple as reducing clicks. To enable LTC pharmacies to demonstrate their value, QS/1 must demonstrate its value.
Consumers want the money they spend to reach further in regards to functionality. Those who purchase different products from the same company want more value. To that end, QS/1 PrimeCare customers who also have WebConnect® can expect to see more features in both. Specifically, WebConnect changes will enable facility users to provide a higher level of patient care without requiring pharmacy intervention. Achieving this means allowing access to additional pharmacy data and providing more reporting options. The initial steps in this direction will be providing access to drug images and giving facilities the ability to run up to six different text-only nursing home forms. QS/1 is working toward allowing WebConnect users to print forms with patient pictures and drug images.
Communication, documentation and efficiency are important to everyone in LTC. Integra®’s product suite speaks to these needs in a meaningful way. QS/1 and Integra are working together to develop ways to deliver more value to mutual customers. Presently, a deeper level of integration for PrimeCare and DocuTrack® customers is in the works. Integration will allow pharmacies to effectively communicate with providers to ensure the best patient outcomes are reached quickly. QS/1 will also be concentrating on DeliveryTrack® and Logix; we are researching ways to use the application programming interface made available to DocuTrack customers with everything in Integra’s product suite.
Home Medical Equipment (HME) — Second to None
In February 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services temporarily halted the next steps of the Round 2019 Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program. This is great news for the HME industry, since competitive bidding has some flaws that require examination. Allowing companies to bid artificially low, and not supply at that price, has pushed reimbursement rates lower. Without strong representation from the American Association for Homecare and your state HME associations, the future of HME is questionable.
For example, although some bidding areas can cover as much as 7,500 square miles, most of the competitive bidding winners will only deliver within a 20- to 30-minute radius of their offices. Patients outside those delivery areas are forced to drive to pick up what’s needed. This impacts patient access as well as the success of many HME businesses.
To help stand-alone and pharmacy-based HME customers combat competitive bidding issues and more, QS/1 offers SystemOne®, the most affordable full-featured HME business management program available. Our focus is maintaining strong inventory control, including serial and lot numbers, and making sure customers are compliant with all Medicare-required documentation. With over 2,000 QS/1 pharmacies managing HME sales, the Medicare Part B Compliance Documentation feature is available in our NRx® and PrimeCare Pharmacy Management Systems. This feature is available through QS/1 at no additional cost.
QS/1 is working on a high-end document management system that will allow stand-alone HME businesses to automatically handle the sending and receiving of fax and email documents. It will also allow the creation of custom forms and the ability to import data fields from SystemOne directly into those forms.
Point-of-Sale (POS) — Flexible, Intelligent and Mobile
Now, more than ever, merchants are looking for flexibility, control and intelligence in their POS systems. The cash registers and credit card machines of today still get the job done, but POS technology for pharmacies and HME businesses is advancing. Current POS systems are great for providing basic data, such as what is sold and how much is sold, etc. However, more integration allows the ability to identify which customers are making the largest impact in order to improve marketing strategies and provides additional data, which can be used to improve patients’ health outcomes. POS and pharmacy system integration will continue to transform the point of sale into a point of service for pharmacies and their patrons. With enhancements to QS/1’s POS, the point of service not only provides convenient and secure checkout, but also allows for additional interaction between the pharmacy and front end, ensuring counseling opportunities and more.
Although not new to the industry, mobility is a big player in the future of POS. Whether it’s for deliveries or the ability to offer checkout at the drive thru or remotely throughout the pharmacy or hospital, the capabilities of POS must continue to evolve with society. Contactless payments, such as Apple Pay® and Google Wallet™, are still in the early stages of use, but more consumers are adopting the new technology, which will require enhancements for those processing these types of transactions. QS/1 will focus closely on these advances to stay ahead of the technology curve.
Mobile pharmacy apps are gaining ground in the industry. With many consumers barely looking away from their cell phones, mobile apps can help attract and retain customers. Mobile apps for pharmacies, like mobileRx®, will continue to grow well beyond the ability to set medication reminders, view prescription profiles and submit refills. Research is already underway to determine what these apps may be capable of three years from now. Pharmacies should get on board now. This trend has grown roots.
What the future holds can be hard to visualize. It’s QS/1’s job to not only make the picture of the future clearer for customers, but to strive to ensure that it’s brighter, stronger and more prosperous. Change is inevitable, but it’s the response that determines the outcome.