Pharmacies with more than One Location?
A Comprehensive Technology System is Essential for Visibility and Efficiency
In an August 2020 podcast interview, Hari Sabnani, president and chief executive officer of Puerto Rico’s largest independent pharmacy chain spoke about some of the challenges of folding 14 retail pharmacies into a single, functioning operation. “As we worked to get financing,” he explained, “the bankers and external auditors told us we needed a robust system to manage inventory, with complete visibility into what we had, with the ability to track electronically purchasing and dispensing activity.” Insurance providers, he noted, had additional concerns, including strong verification points and a dispensing system that ensured “very low rates of error.”
Sabnani’s pharmacy network is called Alivia Health and included among its 17 facilities are two specialty pharmacies, one that caters to patients in need of IV products, and another that focuses on the needs of oncology patients and other specialty conditions. The network also includes a store that only offers home delivery. It’s a diverse network, with many moving parts, all operating under the Alivia Network umbrella.
Essentially, Sabnani explained, he needed a centralized vision to bring all these parts together. “We needed a way of having metrics and dashboards, with all our data front and center. We needed to see reporting in a centralized way, rather than managing each store as a separate business.”
The concerns expressed by Hari Sabnani are shared by the estimated 32 percent of independent pharmacy owners who operate at least two stores. As with any multi-store retail endeavor, multiple pharmacies means increased staffing and operational expenses, separate inventories, increased customer responsibilities, ensuring top notch customer service, bottom line considerations, and a multitude of other headaches to manage.
The added responsibilities of running multiple pharmacies are so significant that a few years ago the National Community Pharmacists Association started offering a “Multiple Locations” conference, dedicated specifically at the needs of these owners. “If you own multiple pharmacies,” the NCPA notes, “you know that an additional store creates both complexity and opportunity for your pharmacy business.”
Among those opportunities, is the added efficiency and stability that comes from a fully integrated technology system. A technology system designed with multiple pharmacy owners in mind can simplify the management process, and give owners confidence from having 360 degree visibility at both the micro and macro levels.
For many pharmacy owners, this confidence has come from the PrimeRx™ management system, offered by Micro Merchant Systems. PrimeRx™ serves as the pharmacy’s core operating unit, automating and managing key operations including patient records, dispensing, inventory, communications, business operations, and report generation. A series of modules seamlessly integrate with PrimeRx™ for added functionality including point-of-sale, inventory reordering, home delivery, documentation, compliance and app-based automated refills.
One module, PrimeCENTRAL™, addresses issues unique to multiple store owners, with user-friendly capabilities that allow owners to quickly and easily access data and monitor performance.
Alivia Health’s Sabnini relies on PrimeRx™ and PrimeCENTRAL™ to manage his growing pharmacy network, and says the system’s flexibility and customization capabilities have been gamechangers.
The following discussion will highlight several of the management issues unique to multiple pharmacy owners, with discussion about how a comprehensive technology solution can alleviate those concerns. As the discussion will make clear, pharmacy owners have options when it comes to choosing a technology system. But with so much at stake, it’s essential to choose a system designed specifically for today’s busy multi-pharmacy owners.