Grab a pen, a piece of paper, and prepare yourself to ask all of the hard-hitting questions.
Before you take the plunge and purchase your next pharmacy software system, you should consider a few key questions. From matters of convenience to customer support to the long-awaited learning curve, it’s important that you ask the right questions to get the right answers.
With this information, you can find the right software solution for you.
As you start shopping and scheduling demos with software vendors, keep these 10 questions at the top of your list. Ask carefully, listen closely, and decide on a vendor that can keep your pharmacy running at the top of its game.
1. What features are included in the software?
Every vendor offers different features. Some features come standard, like dispensing, inventory, and compounding capabilities. As expected, you can find them in most software systems on the market. Some systems, though, include more advanced tools for things like DIR management, med sync, and vaccines. Consider the services you offer in your pharmacy and find out which vendor can accommodate them at the most reasonable price.
2. What add-ons do you offer?
On top of the software itself, some vendors offer additional products and services that you can tack on to your system. These add-ons work alongside your software to give you more capabilities, flexibility, and control. Add-ons can include anything from point-of-sale solutions to document management tools to mobile apps.
Add-ons are an extra expense, but they pay their way with increased efficiency. Ask your vendor about available add-ons and find out which ones they recommend for your pharmacy.
3. What hardware do you recommend?
Software and hardware go hand-in-hand: you can’t have one without the other. To ensure that your software runs smoothly, you’ll have to invest in a few pieces of hardware. Hardware can include items like printers and scanners, fax machines, barcode scanners, credit card processors, receipt printers, and more.
Ask your software vendor which hardware items they recommend purchasing, and find out if you can buy those items directly from them. If not, find out if you can get a discounted price from the hardware vendor.
4. How is customer support handled?
Customer support is make-or-break. In fact, a survey from Direct Opinions finds that customer support is one of the top 3 things that makes pharmacists like or dislike their software. With this in mind, it’s important to ask your software vendor how customer support is approached. Will you have to spend long hours on the phone, waiting on hold, or will you be given quick, convenient support from a team that knows you and your pharmacy?
To find out which vendors rank highest in customer satisfaction, visit our Compare Software page.
5. How easy is the software to use?
In addition to customer support, pharmacists cite ease of use as being one of the 3 most important factors in whether or not they like their software system. And it makes sense: you want an innovative, up-to-date software system, but you also want one that you can use without too much trouble. Ask your vendor about the software’s usability, as well as how long it typically takes users to get the hang of it. You can expect a learning curve with any new software, but it shouldn’t be an uphill battle.
To pick up a few tips and tricks, visit our blog, Use Your Software Like a Pro.
6. What resources do you have for new users?
Vendors know that software can take time to learn, but the best ones power you with the resources you need to learn faster. Ask your vendor about the resources they offer to help you get to know the ins and outs of the software.
Do they send out a training team during installation? Do they provide helpful manuals and instruction guides to read after installation? Do they offer any kind of online learning platforms you can take advantage of?
In any case, knowledge is power; and the best vendors empower you to know more.
7. How often are new features added?
The third, and final, most important factor for pharmacists in preferring a software system is the new features that get added. The pharmacy industry is always changing, so your pharmacy software should be changing, too. To accommodate new advancements and innovations, the top software vendors regularly offer new features and updates to existing features. Expect new features every few weeks to every few months and ask your vendor what they’re doing to stay ahead of the curve.
8. Is the software customizable?
The best vendors know that software isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. As such, they give you the capabilities to adjust your software to fit your unique needs. Ask about which features are customizable, from workflow to reports to tasks and to-do lists. Click to learn how to Make Your Software Your Own.
9. How do you stay involved in community pharmacy?
Choose a software vendor that’s not only knowledgeable about technology but that cares about the field of pharmacy as a whole. Ask your vendor how they’re investing in community pharmacies in and out of the office.
Do they partner with local, state, and national pharmacy organizations? Do they take a stance on legal matters? Do they invest in new opportunities?
If they stay involved in the industry, you can assume that they care about pharmacy practice — and that they’ll care about you.
10. What sets you apart from the competition?
It’s an age-old question, but it’s important to ask before making any big purchase: what makes you different? What can you offer that no one else can? Why should I choose you? Give your software vendor an opportunity to make their pitch and prove why they’re the right choice — then compare different answers, consider different options, and decide on the best fit.