In the new year, your independent pharmacy can reach new heights. For many pharmacies, the new year invites an opportunity to consider your current operations, make changes, and create a plan for moving forward for the next 12 months.
As you do so, don’t forget to consider your pharmacy software system.
Your software system is the backbone of your pharmacy, influencing every aspect of your operations. If you find that yours is lacking, it might be time for you to get back on the market.
The decision to upgrade, switch, or invest in pharmacy software is a critical one, and it's not one to take lightly.
If you’re considering buying a new pharmacy software system this year, this guide will provide you with a step-by-step approach to the buying process so you can find the right software for 2024 and beyond.
1. Identify Your Needs, Wants, and Goals
Before you get started shopping, you should have a clear understanding of your pharmacy's unique needs, wants, and goals for your software system.
Your pharmacy’s needs are non-negotiable. Your wants are the features and functionalities that would enhance your efficiency, but they are essential.
Your goals define what you want to achieve in 2024 and beyond. This could be something as simple as increasing patient engagement or as detailed as starting a new community outreach effort. Ether way, your software should help you do it.
After identifying your needs, wants, and goals, consider where your current software system falls short and create a list of what you’d like in your next one.
2. Consider Key Software Features
Next, make a list of all of the features you’d like to have in a new software system. Every pharmacy is different and, depending on your goals for the future, you may need different features to accomplish it.
Common features that you may want to consider, though, are:
- Patient record management
- Medication synchronization tools
- Vaccine scheduling
- Integrated point-of-sale
- Telepharmacy capabilities
- Mobile app access
Make a list of 5-10 features that you want and need. Consult your pharmacy staff, from technicians to clerks, to find out what features they’d like to see, too.
3. Consider Your Budget
Your budget plays an important — if not the most important — role in your buying process. Most pharmacy software systems on the market fall within a price range of $15,000 to $30,000.
However, it's essential to remember that this cost is just the starting point.
Additional add-ons, services, and support may not be included in the initial price tag. To get a precise estimate, reaching out to vendors directly is often necessary.
Before you do that, create a budget to decide how much you’re comfortable spending. Consider not only the initial investment but also the ongoing costs, including support and maintenance fees.
4. Research Your Options
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of pharmacy software systems on the market. Each vendor offers different unique features, functionalities, and support.
However, the top-selling software vendors as of right now are:
- Micro Merchant Systems
- Liberty Software
- McKesson (EnterpriseRx)
- Best Computer Systems (BestRx)
To get detailed information on each of these vendors, including which ones pharmacists prefer, visit our Compare Software page.
5. Read Reviews
As you weigh your options, user reviews from real pharmacists are invaluable. However, not all reviews are created equal. As you start your buying journey, you should seek out unbiased and trustworthy sources of information.
This is where Pharmacy Software Reviews sets itself apart. We collaborate with Direct Opinions, an independent data collection agency, to bring you reliable and unbiased opinions from over 2,000 independent pharmacists all over the country.
This extensive network gives you a range of insights into each software system, ensuring that you know all the strengths and weaknesses of each option.
With this information in mind, you can feel empowered to make the best choice for your pharmacy.
6. Schedule a Demo
After you do your research, read reviews, and weigh your options, schedule demos with your top pharmacy software picks.
Scheduling a demo is your direct pathway to see these systems in action and engage with knowledgeable representatives who can address your questions and concerns.
It also helps you get a feel for the user interface, understand the software's workflow, and gauge how well it aligns with your pharmacy's specific needs.
During the demo process, you can discuss pricing in detail, including the initial costs, ongoing fees, and any potential add-ons or services your pharmacy will be expected to pay for.
Learn more about demos, including what to look for during your demo, here.
7. Negotiate Contracts
While the demo stage provides a firsthand look at the software, the contract stage is where you define the terms, conditions, and expectations of your partnership with the software vendor.
After you’ve narrowed down your options from demos, negotiate contracts with your final one or two software picks.
Carefully review the contract to ensure that it encompasses all your requirements, including any customizations or additional services. Be prepared to discuss pricing, support, and any warranties offered.
Don't hesitate to negotiate terms that work in your pharmacy's favor.
Understand the fine print and ask questions about anything unclear.
A well-negotiated contract protects your interests and ensures a mutually beneficial partnership with your chosen vendor. This stage can be complex, but with the right negotiations, you'll be in the best position to make the best decision for your pharmacy.
8. Make the Final Decision
After thorough research, informative demos, and plenty of negotiations, the moment arrives to make the pivotal decision for your pharmacy: what software will you choose?
When making this decision, rely on the knowledge you've gathered throughout your journey. Reflect on how each software system meets your needs.
Consider the feedback from other users and the experiences shared in unbiased reviews.
Take into account the terms and conditions of the contract and ensure they are favorable and in your pharmacy's best interest. Understand that there's no one-size-fits-all solution.
Your system should be unique to your pharmacy, helping you accomplish your goals.
By taking your time and making a deliberate and well-informed decision, you set your pharmacy on a path to success in 2024 and beyond.
The new year is the best time to reevaluate your pharmacy’s wants, needs, and goals — and ensure your pharmacy software system lines up. If you find that it doesn’t, follow these steps to buy a new pharmacy software in 2024.
Get the right information, carefully consider the pros and cons of each system, and make a decision that you can feel confident about.
Remember that the journey doesn’t end after buying: the path of implementation and ongoing support awaits.
However, the choice you make equips your team with the tools to navigate the world of independent pharmacy — keeping patients happy and healthy in the new year.