During the last year, vaccines have become more important than ever. Nearly 200 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which amounts to almost 60% of the population.
That number is only expected to rise in the coming months, as patients err on the side of caution and get both their COVID-19 and flu shots this season.
Last year, a record-breaking number of patients also got vaccinated against the flu 一 50 to 55% of the population 一 and those rates aren’t expected to go down.
With more patients looking to get their vaccines this fall and winter, community pharmacists must roll up their sleeves and meet the challenge. Patients look to their local pharmacists, the most accessible healthcare providers, to provide them with quick and convenient care.
This not only applies to seasonal vaccines but also to routine immunizations like Hepatitis A and B, MMR, chickenpox, pneumonia, and more. New patients, though, mean new challenges and new opportunities.
Is your pharmacy ready to take them on?
The Tool to Get You Through
With the right tools on your side, you can safely and effectively vaccinate your community this year (and every year). As you undertake this task, your pharmacy software system is one of your greatest resources.
All pharmacy software systems have vaccination capabilities, but not all capabilities are created equal. When you shop for your next pharmacy software system, consider how it can help you streamline one of your most popular (and profitable) clinical services.
When it comes to vaccines, your software should help you do 3 main things:
1. Schedule Appointments
To begin with, your software system should give you the tools you need to plan and schedule upcoming vaccines.
With more patients making appointments, you need a simple and efficient way to stay organized.
Depending on the vendor you pick, you can do all of your planning and scheduling from right within your software system.
Some vendors have vaccine-specific scheduling tools that you can implement into your workflow. Patients can sign up for an appointment online, which will translate to your software system and get placed directly on your calendar. Using this information, you can block off the appropriate times to administer vaccines and adjust your resources.
2. Administer Vaccines
Second, your software system should enable you to administer vaccines more effectively.
Depending on your vendor, you can use specific inventory solutions to keep an eye on how many doses you have in stock. When you get low, you can prompt your software to automatically order more supplies so that no patient has to miss out. You can also set up automatic ordering to get medications, equipment, and retail items.
After administering each vaccine, you can record and upload vaccine data into your software system.
This allows you to keep a record of each vaccination on file, as well as share it with any third parties (like state associations and the CDC). Some systems even have specific tools to help streamline vaccine uploads, which can cut down data entry and keep all of your reports in all of the right places.
3. Communicate with Patients
Third, and finally, your software system should give you the tools to communicate with patients before and after their vaccine appointments.
If your vendor has the right capabilities, you can send patients automatic appointment reminders and prescribed follow-up messages. Taking the time to send these messages ensures that your patients make it to their appointments when they’re supposed to, and that afterward, they know their business is appreciated.
Rather than sending messages yourself, you can prompt your software system to send them at a certain time. Your messages can be standardized or they can be customized, depending on the approach you want to take.
Some vendors allow for messaging within the system itself and others rely on connected apps to do it.
No matter the approach, though, messaging capabilities open up a line of communication with your patients ー which gives you the chance to prove the value-based care that you’re known for.
In the next several months, vaccines will become a major part of your pharmacy’s practice.
It’s essential, then, that you stay as prepared as possible. The best step you can take in this effort is to partner with a software vendor that can support your services, both now and later. With the right tools, you can schedule more appointments, see more patients, and keep more people safe from vaccine-preventable diseases.
To learn more about each of the top vendors, as well as what they can do for your pharmacy, visit our Compare Software page.
CDC - Vaccine Education & Training
CDC - Guidance for Pharmacies (COVID-19)
NCPA - Immunizations
NCPA - COVID-19 Pharmacy Practice
APhA - Immunization Center