Pharmacy management software has markedly improved over the last few years.
Inventory software has come a long way in recent years and is one of the most helpful tools for running a pharmacy. Advanced features on most of the major software solutions include easy ways to keep track of inventory on hand, reordering, updating prices and suggestions for seasonal changes.
Pharmacy management software also stores important information about medications and patients to ensure that the right prescriptions are given out at the right dosage. Drug inventory management software tracks orders, monitors supply and usage of stored medication.
A pharmacy’s software should also be able to easily identify drug usage for specific time. Ideally it would also have the capability to calculate inventory turns.
Matthew Murray, PharmD, a compounding pharmacist and director of operations for Customedica Pharmacy in Boise, Idaho, said that the COVID-19 pandemic put a great deal of pressure on an already fragile supply chain in the retail pharmaceutical space, and having savvy inventory software is an important part of the solution.
“The [pharmacy] supply chain has not seemed to recover as well as many other industries—and seems to have continually worsened over the past year,” Murray said. “The injunctive relief agreed upon between the wholesalers and the DEA has seemed to put a near stop to the controlled substance supply chain. Multiple manufacturers have filed for bankruptcy, abandoned products, and issued recalls for both controlled and legend substances causing even more disruptions.”
That’s why using digital solutions, such as OrderInsite, to help keep track of inventory is necessary.
“Backorders cause physicians to change prescribing habits, causing changes in purchasing patterns, which causes pharmacies to reach controlled substance thresholds and not receive products,” Murray said. “It’s been our experience that having thresholds investigated and potentially changed takes 2 to 4 weeks. It has become a full-time job to deal with newly imposed controlled substance thresholds and manufacturer back-orders to ensure we have the ability to provide our patients with medications they need.”
OrderInsite validates on-hand quantities, which is key for accurate and reliable inventory reporting and has all the features Murray said an inventory software solution should have: inventory management, compliance, intelligent procurement, and reporting.
Weston Humphreys, operation manager and pharmacy technician at Tyson Drugs, the parent store of 4 local pharmacies throughout Mississippi, noted that most software companies offer what is known as perpetual inventory, a continuous accounting practice that records inventory changes in real-time, without the need for physical inventory, allowing pharmacists to have a virtual inventory.
“We can dispense an item that we don’t have on the shelf, and our inventory would drop down to negative, and our reorder would pick that up and get us back above zero the next day,” Humphreys said.
Another feature he finds helpful is the Reorder Form Wizard, which is used within Pioneer Rx, and looks at the pharmacy’s dispensing trends and sets a good number of product to keep on the shelves.
“You can run it back 3 to 6 months so you get an idea of what you should have so you don’t run out, but you also don’t have too much on the shelves,” Humphreys said. “The Wizard will set the points and pharmacies can adjust as needed.”
Another newer feature that he recommends are alerts and SMS, with the software notifying pharmacists if any medicine is about to expire or if their patients require the drug soon. Patients also receive messages in advance when their next dose of medication is due, enhancing patients’ safety and satisfaction.
One thing that boggles his mind is the fact that many pharmacies are still using the same software from 10, 20, or even 30 years ago. The new software does so much more and makes life easier for the pharmacist and allows them more time for patient care.