[00:07] Drug Topics®:I think it’s fair to say that COVID-19 really changed the game in community pharmacy. Could you talk about how has it changed the landscape?
Paige Clark, RPh: Before COVID-19 hit, we as community pharmacists were moving toward expanding our scope of practice in many ways. Most states allowed us to prescribe or provide certain treatments based on protocols, which varied by state. For example, in Oregon, we were empowered to offer tobacco-cessation patient assessment and prescribing, birth control prescribing services, and others. COVID-19 changed everything globally, especially for us here in the United States.
The pandemic required a number of time-sensitive, health-driven initiatives to run nationally but with a coordinated focus at the local level. Luckily, we as community pharmacists are built for such a challenge. Direct patient care by pharmacists is critical, especially during a public health emergency. The US government recognized this and quickly engaged community pharmacies to provide testing and administer vaccines. Without the leveraging of community pharmacies as access points for care in a timely and accessible manner, many Americans would not have been vaccinated or had easy access to COVID testing.
Also in August 2021, the government allowed us to administer monoclonal antibody (mAB) therapies in the treatment of COVID-19. This was game-changing in elevating the community pharmacy to a place for timely and important treatment, as well as a place for testing andimmunization. Pharmacies are no longer just a place to have medications dispensed. Now, we are practicing at the top of our licenses with treatment as an expansion of scope, and Prescryptive has been there throughout the journey to support us.
Prescryptive built ACPE (Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education)-accredited CE to support our assessing of patients and administering mAB. Prescryptive built scheduling, payment, and reporting mechanisms, and the company continues to develop additional services to support pharmacists as we are asked to expand our clinical provisions to patients.
[02:13] Drug Topics®: Community pharmacists would probably agree that COVID-19 has led to challenges. Butdo you see opportunities, as well?
Clark: In this pandemic, we have seen that the biggest challenges with COVID-19 have also brought about tremendous opportunity. With COVID testing and immunizations, we as pharmacists, entered the most complex environment for scheduling and reporting ever seen in modern times. But more people are now seeing how absolutely powerful and necessary a pharmacist practicing at the top of their license is to local and national health. The more we as pharmacists test and treat, the more opportunities will come for additional scope expansion.
[02:56] Drug Topics®: How can technology help capture these opportunities?
Clark: Quite simply, pharmacists need a technology system to succeed. There are two reasons: First, the volume of services now being booked, as well as the requisite scheduling and reporting, are too much to do “by hand,” with a clipboard and paper system. It’s time to let go of that patched-together method!
Second, technology streamlines processes, allowing you to focus on patient care. The right system will make the complicated processes of pharmacy work seamless so that you can see more patients and enable you to focus on what matters: the care of your patients. Being more efficient, gathering patient information, managing payments, and enabling easy and customizable scheduling options are crucial to success.
[03:51] Drug Topics®: Technology can help community pharmacists work at “top of license.” Was that a consideration for your team when you built Prescryptive’s MyRx PRO, a comprehensive pharmacy management platform?
Clark: After years working as pharmacists, our team at Prescryptive has focused on 1 thing: making a comprehensive system that works for pharmacists practicing today. MyRx PRO is an electronic, comprehensive support system that was built for pharmacists by pharmacists.
This platform helps pharmacists launch new clinical services, connect with new patients who discover the pharmacy from Prescryptive’s mobile experience and marketing campaigns, and optimize the pharmacy workflow. MyRx PRO saves you time by streamlining patient information collection, scheduling, workflow optimization, reporting, and billing processes.
You can offer clinical services, including critical COVID-19 care, and Prescryptive provides a simple mobile experience for your patients that allows them to book services at your pharmacy and find prescription savings as well as public health reporting and billing support for you. MyRx is a secure and seamless system built on blockchain technology, and it enables more quality time for testing, treatment, and communication between you and your patients.
[05:19] Drug Topics®: How can your technology affect the issues that pharmacists have seen arise from savings cards, which can cut into profits?
Clark: Another feature on MyRx PRO is SmartPRICE, a pharmacist-first pricing solution. SmartPRICE is a cash card with an intelligent pricing engine. Unlike other cards, SmartPRICE has low, transparent admin fees, which means more profit to pharmacies and competitive pricing for patients – as much as 80% savings on prescription drugs. Pharmacies benefit from robust, AI-driven pricing.
Our data scientists work with pharmacies to analyze claims data and customize pricing based on your store’s business objectives, competition, type of drug, and other factors. This allows you to offer your customers savings in a planned configuration that works for you.
[06:13] Drug Topics®: What about patient engagement? Patients will demand solutions that work for them. How does MyRx PRO incorporate the patient experience?
Clark: MyRx includes MyRx.io, the patient-friendly mobile experience, which connects you and the patient: With a few simple steps, patients can search for a clinical service, find a pharmacy near them that’s offering the service, and schedule an appointment.
Before they arrive for their appointment, patients can fill out a questionnaire to provide the necessary information for the visit and pay for the service. We call MyRx.io the pharmacy on your phone.Patients are empowered to do more at each pharmacy visit, including access clinical services, save on prescriptions, and maintain an updated list of medications.
[07:01] Drug Topics®: Have you seen community pharmacists being successful with the MyRx PRO solution?
Clark: Our work in New York, Florida, Oregon, and other states has been to establish a network of community pharmacies as testing sites, so they can serve their communities in this critical way during the pandemic.
We’re supporting community pharmacists through the process of standing up monoclonal antibody treatments, which is enormously impactful in providing lifesaving patient care and in expanding the profitability of these pharmacies.
Prescryptive also has a continuing education program delivered in an online format, at no charge, to all pharmacy practitioners nationwide, on monoclonal antibody administration to prepare pharmacists for the administration of this treatment.Similarly, we have worked closely with CPESN in Florida and New York on testing and vaccine availability and scheduling. We are also working with Washington state, Georgia, and several others; we are growing our network of pharmacies providing clinical services and testing everywhere!
[08:09] Drug Topics®: What does the future hold for community pharmacists in the short term?
Clark: We can expect COVID-19 to be with us for a while, especially in the form of testing and boosters. We as pharmacists should have a COVID-19 plan that includes PPE and how to keep them ordered and stocked, a plan for complex scheduling and reporting, and a plan for continuing education to assure that their entire staff is prepared to provide care to patients in these new ways.
There also needs to be a continued conversation about how community pharmacists have helped care for patients during the pandemic, and where we can keep growing to extend our services.
[08:53] Drug Topics®: Looking forward, could you share your view on the role of community pharmacy in the future?
Clark: I want to close by underscoring the important bond between community pharmacists and patients. People in the US rank pharmacists as one of their most trusted healthcare providers. For the majority ofus, this trust and our relationship with patients are what make our jobs fulfilling.
Patients trust us with their medications and their care, and we must continue to build on that trust, and think about ways we can help patients, serve communities, and impact public health-driven endeavors, through testing and treatment. COVID-19 blew open the door to scope expansion, and now we all need to walk through it, with technology helping us work at the top of our licenses so we can keep building trust with patients, with public health, with payers, and with partners in our community. Prescryptive is a champion of the community pharmacist and is excited to work together to build a stronger future for pharmacy.