Choosing a new pharmacy software system is an important decision. It’s like getting a new phone or a new car - you’ll be using it every day, so you want to make sure you do your research and make the right investment. Whether you’re opening a new pharmacy or looking to convert from your current pharmacy system, you should keep some factors in mind when evaluating your options. Managing your pharmacy business while providing quality patient care to your community is something your software should make easier - not more complicated. With that in mind, here’s your guide on how to choose the right management software for your pharmacy:
Every Pharmacy Is Unique
That’s right. Yours, too. Even though pharmacies have similar types of services they offer, every community holds a different demographic of people and characteristics that make it unique. Especially as an independent pharmacy, you have to first establish the type of community you will be serving. This will influence the kind of services you offer, the branding of your store, the way you market your services, and more. It will also determine the type of pharmacy you have, such as retail, specialty, long term care, and multi-store.
Even if you already have an established pharmacy open, it can still be a good idea to take a step back and reevaluate your store’s business plan. If you are making the choice to switch to a new system, be sure to ask yourself: ‘What am I missing from my current vendor?’ You’ll want to look for a vendor that will address your pain points and offer new solutions.
All of this relates back to choosing the right pharmacy management system. Your software system should have the capabilities to support all the operations of your pharmacy - and more. Make a list of the features and characteristics you are looking for in a new software vendor.
Research, Research, Research
Search the web. Look into all the independent pharmacy software providers and narrow down your options. Search their web presence, their company website, and social media platforms to get an idea of what kind of company they are. You can also research the features and functionality each software offers, such as: inventory management, document management, prescription processing, reporting, and other workflow solutions.
Listen to current users. There’s a reason why 76% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from their family or friends. We inherently trust other people like us and value the recommendations of a real person who has had experience with a certain product or service. That’s why Pharmacy Software Reviews gathers the real, honest opinions of approximately 2,000 independent pharmacy professionals. Read our Comparing Software page to get the answers to all your questions like ‘What software vendor has the highest customer satisfaction?’ and ‘What factors make people choose their pharmacy software?’
Schedule demos. Participating in demos is an important part of searching for a new software system. Most software vendors have a place to sign up for a demo on their website, and you will then be able to get a live presentation of the software and get a chance to ask any specific question you may have.
Don’t Be ‘Just a Number’
When it comes to interacting with your new software vendor, you don’t want to be stuck feeling like just another number on their list of pharmacies. You will inevitably need customer support - especially when you’re first starting out - and waiting around on the phone for help is not where you want to find yourself. Who will be taking care of your patients and running your business if you’re constantly waiting for someone to assist you first?
When doing your research, be sure to look at the type of customer support that vendors have. In our survey data, customer support was the #2 factor that contributed to how pharmacies rated their satisfaction with their current software vendor. It even ranked higher than features and functionality. Having a solid foundation of software support is a key factor in how well you will use your new system to its fullest potential.
Leave Room for Growth
One question that can be easy to forget to ask is “Will my software grow with me?” It’s not something that would be at the top of your mind when initially selecting a new software system. We tend to think of what we need in that moment, in the short term. With a long-term investment like your pharmacy management system, however, you have to think about how it will support you as your pharmacy grows. You probably don’t plan to be switching systems every year - and you shouldn’t be.
So what are the characteristics of a software that will grow with your pharmacy?
- A system that allows you to work smarter, not harder. Your workflow should always be improving thanks to the toolset your software system provides. Your system should be easy to customize depending on your store’s current needs.
- Constant growth and innovation. Three years down the road, your pharmacy software should not be the same as it was when you got it. You want a vendor who will be updating and refreshing their software to meet your adapting needs as the industry evolves.
- Easy to integrate with other technology vendors. This will allow you to seamlessly expand your workflow capabilities as you add new services, and not be limited in your pharmacy’s growth.
Align Your Goals
Your new pharmacy software provider should be your partner. You want someone who aligns their goals with your own and advocates on behalf of independent pharmacies. A vendor who is involved in the industry will have your best interests in mind and always be listening for the latest news in pharmacy. That way, they can adapt their product quickly to ensure that your pharmacy is equipped with the tools it needs to be innovative and successful in a changing environment. Research what vendors go to trade shows and connect with pharmacy groups like the National Community Pharmacists Organization (NCPA) or the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). What industry work are they doing besides just selling software?
Now you’re ready to start your own research! Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be prepared to find the right software system for your pharmacy.