how to pick the right pos system for your pharmacy - pos screen on a table

How to pick the right POS system for your pharmacy

Monday, November 24, 2014

Automation is a gamechanger for many businesses, and pharmacies are no exception. Pharmacy POS systems promote operational efficiency through the automation of critical tasks like inventory management (through wholesale tracking, for example), curbside medication pickup, and overall management of patient prescriptions. Not only does a pharmacy POS support a quality customer experience, but POS systems for pharmacies also ensure compliance with state regulations and HIPAA. POS systems can track pharmacy operations so that when compliance audits occur, your pharmacy will be able to produce reports and data that support your overall operational efficiency and compliance.

What is a pharmacy POS? 

A POS system for a pharmacy is a point of sale system designed for use in pharmacy business operations. Pharmacy POS systems can track patient medication, prescription information, pharmacy providers, and real-time pharmacy management information. Pharmacy POS systems and pharmacy merchant accounts can also enable contactless payments and streamline data used for pharmacy loyalty programs

POS systems designed with pharmacies in mind offer full-scale functionality to capture and process the most important data that a pharmacy needs. Typically, POS systems in pharmacies are cloud-based and compatible with a variety of devices. POS software that is intuitive and supports pharmacy point of sale needs will benefit a pharmacy in that workflows can run more smoothly.

A more generalized POS system may not include the customizable aspects of pharmacy point of sale systems, including insurance verifications, inventory information approval system (IIAS) integration, and pseudoephedrine sales validation during transactions involving this item. Pharmacies should consider the most important functions and features they need in operations and ensure they are available on their POS system.

What types of pharmacies benefit from a point of sale system? 

Pharmacies of all types can benefit from point of sale systems, whether working from a drugstore or a front end perspective. POS systems generally improve payment processing for all types of pharmacy businesses. 

Here are the types of pharmacy businesses that can benefit the most from the integration of a pharmacy POS system:

  • Independent pharmacies - pharmacies attached to doctors’ offices and clinics or that operate independently as a small business benefit greatly from a pharmacy POS system because it can support medication refill data and patient identification. Healthcare systems that connect with independent pharmacies help customers gain access to over-the-counter (OTC) medication right away. POS systems can generate real-time prescription refill requests. 
  • Online pharmacies - 100% online pharmacies that manage prescriptions for patients need a POS system to provide an overall pharmacy management platform to track medication requests and shipping information. Point of sale software for this pharmacy type ensures data protection, provision of all information needed in purchase orders, and successful workflows for pharmacies utilizing ecommerce. 
  • Mail-order pharmacies - pharmacies that receive, process, and mail prescriptions to customers can operate like retail pharmacies with increased functionality to bring medication directly to the homes of customers. POS systems for mail-order pharmacies can store critical information, like credit card data and barcodes. They also allow for multi-store integration to support customer medication needs and requests in multiple locations. 
  • Large chain pharmacies - grocery stores like Walmart or Aldi may operate on a POS system that is connected to the grocer. However, through integration with a pharmacy POS, these retailers will be able to support customers in real-time and integrate data from other healthcare or medically based vendors. 
  • Pet pharmacies - pharmacies that specialize in animal prescriptions use POS systems to manage customer loyalty programs, prescriptions, and care recommendations for all types of pets. A retail POS system at pet pharmacies makes refills easy, captures signatures, and offers overall pharmacy management capabilities.

How does a pharmacy benefit from a POS system? 

POS systems benefit pharmacies in five major ways:

  • Improves day-to-day operations: Pharmacy POS systems offer extensive features to support day-to-day operations including bill reconciliation, customized drug ordering, updated prices for prescriptions, and the maintenance of patient profiles. 
  • Reduces potential for HIPAA and controlled-substance violations: Automating and tracking customer history enables pharmacy managers to monitor customer orders, prescriptions, and medication history. With data tracked on an advanced system, managers can better gauge potential substance violations that could occur with customer orders and pick-up. 
  • Automates inventory processing: Pharmacies can benefit from automatic inventory processing so that stock remains available and up-to-date based on recent orders. Pharmacy managers can focus their time on other aspects of management without worrying that their stock is inaccurate or low. 
  • Manages copays, coupons, and over-the-counter inventory: Pharmacy POS systems are capable of calculating copays so customers know exactly what they will need to pay for their medication. The ability to check with insurance providers supports the pharmacy to provide the best service possible. Additionally, the pharmacy POS system can accept coupons that will better support customer loyalty programs and overall customer loyalty to the pharmacy. 
  • Helps track and monitor employee time, schedule, and pay: Employees can utilize the POS system to clock in, clock out, and track breaks. In addition to functioning as a payment processor, the POS system can track employee hours and overall employee productivity. Through managing and tracking this data, pharmacies can determine the number of employees needed during shifts and make employee-related decisions in order to boost sales and promote a desirable company culture. 

What features should you look for in a pharmacy POS?

Secure transaction management 

The primary feature to look for in a pharmacy POS system is secure transaction management functions. Security is of the highest importance when operating a pharmacy, and so any POS system needs to be able to protect customer data and offer several layers of authentication. Customers will be able to provide electronic signatures for their orders, and the POS keeps this signature on file for security purposes. 

Flexible payment options

Additionally, pharmacy POS systems need to have flexible payment options. Payment options that pharmacy POS systems can offer include debit card payments, pharmacy gift cards, HSA/FSA cards, as well as innovative payment solutions with contactless payments. The option for payment with mobile devices will attract customers who desire contactless, secure, and quick payment methods for their medication. 

Inventory management

Automated ordering with POS systems ensures that you can maintain the supply needed for customer demand and prescription refills. POS systems can track wholesaler supply and availability and automate regular ordering for products in high demand. From a budgetary perspective, inventory management also considers bulk pricing so your pharmacy can save money over time. 

Automatic refills

Pharmacy management POS systems allow businesses to input refills for medication that they know will be needed in the coming weeks. Setting up automatic refills can improve customer satisfaction, as customers know they can access the medication they need from your pharmacy. 

Vendor integrations

Many types of pharmacy POS systems can interface with popular dispensing systems. As a result, your pharmacy will be able to increase efficiency so that pharmacy managers can have real-time information about what purchase orders are pending with vendors or special product offerings that vendors may have. 

Compliance policies and warnings

POS software designed with pharmacies in mind helps businesses comply with state healthcare regulations and HIPAA guidelines. An investment in POS software for pharmacies is an investment in business compliance, which is one of the most critical aspects of pharmacy management. Thus, pharmacy managers can rest assured that their pharmacy business is compliant while implementing efficient and secure workflows.

Are you ready to get the right POS system in place at your pharmacy? 

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