May 6, 2021

Written by George Lazenby

With mounting challenges stacked on top of pharmacists who are already under water, how do we bring the profession back from the precipice? Technology to manage, monitor and master prescription drug inventory.

Pharmacists are in a state of crisis. They were vocal about being burnt out before COVID-19, and their pleas for help have grown louder. Add increased competition, narrowing profit margins, a national staffing shortage and vaccinations to the mix, and it’s evident why the burden pharmacists have been shouldering has become unbearably heavy. Something has to give, but it’s difficult to give solutions mindshare when you can’t see beyond an infinite to-do list.

Pharmacists are suffering, and as a result, so are consumers. Their growing workload and the manic pace at which pharmacists are forced to operate means consumers aren’t getting the face time they need. At best, the lack of counsel leads to dissatisfaction. At worst, it leads to deadly medication errors.

Examining the factors at play and most pressing pain points can help us key in on a solution.

Bad To Worse

Two-thirds of pharmacists said their workload had increased in the year prior in a 2019 study of the profession. Of that group, 91% of respondents employed by retail chains said their workloads were “excessively high” or “high.” These statistics are more alarming when we’re reminded that the study was conducted pre-pandemic and doesn’t account for new pressures put on pharmacists over the past 13 months. Proving the significance of their role in one of the largest public health efforts in history, more than 90% of Americans have COVID-19 vaccine access through a local community pharmacy.

Despite working 12-hour shifts, missing meals and bathroom breaks, pharmacists are told their focus should be “counseling customers for positive health outcomes.” This is important. The health of consumers should be the top priority of all clinicians. And at the end of the day, pharmacies are for-profit businesses, and holding pharmacists to the same standards as traditional providers translates to a positive impact on the bottom line.

Pharmacists have come to be acknowledged as an integral part of the care continuum, helping improve clinical outcomes and keeping costs low. Their ability to prevent medication mix ups and identify generic or lower-cost drugs leads to billions in estimated savings on annual healthcare expenses. Their intervention prevents hospital admissions, cuts down the length of inpatient stays and decreases the amount payers spend covering prescriptions.

With mounting challenges stacked on top of pharmacists who are already under water, how do we bring the profession back from the precipice?

New Market Pressures

The expectation and demand for immediacy when it comes to care that spurred – and was fostered by -the meteoric rise in telehealth has put many pharmacists in an undesirable position.

Close to $7 billion was raised by digital health startups in the first three months of 2021, with digital pharmacy Ro emerging as the fundraising frontrunner. The newcomer secured an impressive $500 million in its Series D round. Established companies not in the vertical are finding ways to dip their toes in pharmacy too. Amazon Pharmacy, which debuted in late 2020, lures customers in with its hallmark speed, convenience and free shipping.

And then there are companies like Ginger and Maven that have also thrown their hats into the ringGinger, which provides on-demand mental health services, recently partnered with pharmacy startup Capsule for home delivery, while digital women’s clinic Maven created its own drug delivery program, MavenRx.

As competition heats up, brick and mortar pharmacies are strategizing about how to maintain loyalty, avoid leakage and drive sales. Unfortunately, despite it being a differentiator because it’s an offering online pharmacies can’t provide, vaccinations don’t generate meaningful revenue for traditional pharmacies. Traditional pharmacies are also at a disadvantage with regard to inventory and filling physical shelves. Forecasting, ordering product and shipping it between stores while making sure the shelves aren’t overstocked is a continuous and time-intensive task.

With mounting challenges stacked on top of pharmacists who are already under water, how do we bring the profession back from the precipice?

The White Whale

I believe that OrderInsite is the solution to free pharmacists from administrative burden and give them back time to do what’s most meaningful to them – interact with patients. In turn, the business – and healthcare as a whole – will benefit from healthier, happier customers. We eliminate time spent on manually ordering by auto generating the right order, systematically selecting the appropriate preferred items (based on your supplier contracts) and updating your pharmacy system when quantities are received. An hour spent on ordering is easily reduced to a few minutes.

OrderInsite, which offers technology to manage, monitor and master prescription drug inventory, is:

  • Easy to implement – User-friendly 
  • Trusted – Our team is tenured and we’re proud to partner with two of the country’s largest retail pharmacies as well as small and mid-size pharmacies across the country

I’d love to speak with you about our business-minded pharmacy technology. Message me or reach out using the contact form.

About The Author

George Lazenby
George Lazenby is the CEO and co-founder of OrderInsite. He is an experienced CEO and Board Member with a demonstrated history of working in the health care industry and skilled in healthcare information technology (HIT), management, sales, executive management, and strategic planning. He was previously CEO of Emdeon (now Change Healthcare).

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