Tiffany Capps, CPhT, pharmacy operations manager at Galloway-Sands Pharmacy in North Carolina and marketing communications manager at CPESN, discusses how pharmacies can utilize med sync programs and what they can expect when implementing one.
Tiffany Capps, CPhT, pharmacy operations manager at Galloway-Sands Pharmacy in North Carolina and marketing communications manager at CPESN, sat down with Drug Topics during the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) 2023 Annual Convention and Expo to discuss the benefits of medication synchronization programs and what pharmacies can expect when implementing one.
Drug Topics: How can pharmacists utilize med sync programs to address the upcoming DIR fee changes in 2024?
Tiffany Capps, CPhT: That’s a great question because we're coming up on the end of 2023. If you haven't already optimized and grew your med sync program, you're kind of behind the 8 ball on this, which is why we're looking at it from an inventory perspective, as well. If you have got a lot of brand name medications on your shelf, start with those patients. Get those brand names off your shelf, don't order them in a replenishment model, order them in a predictive model, so you're able to look ahead to what you need, you're not replacing and then it's sitting there for 30 more days versus 4 days.
Drug Topics: Can you provide 1 or 2 practical tips that have produced noticeable results for pharmacies looking to enhance their med sync programs?
Capps: First and foremost, would be if you don't have an opt out model for your med sync, I would start there. It's not a service that you provide, and the patient has to buy into it, this is the way that you run your business. Every patient, and it's at your control, so you don't auto enroll everybody at once and then have a workflow that's chaotic for you, it's more of all of your new patients, anyone who's transferring in, but also transitioning existing patients to realize that this is our business model now and how we better serve you, but we also are a sustainable business.
Drug Topics: Can you talk about the relationship between shelf inventory and cashflow? What are some performance indicators that pharmacists need to keep in mind when considering inventory management?
Capps: Along with those growth KPIs that we talked about earlier, we also want to think about the KPI on your inventory turnover rate. That being said, you want to have a healthy balance. You want to have on your shelf the things that patients are going to need immediately, those antibiotics, those acute medications. And then enough to have better care for your patients but you want to keep it as lean as possible. And again, that goes back to let your wholesaler stock your medications, not you, keep that money in your business, either in cash flow towards other investments or services you can offer. Turnover rate for those of us, I know as a technician starting out, this was a brand new thing for me and it's really helped. That's the cost of goods sold over a certain amount of time and then you divide that by the average of your inventory cost over the same time period. That'll give you an inventory turnover. rate. The higher that number is the better. For Max My Sync, we shoot for a goal of 20 and that's a really good starting point as a goal. We've seen pharmacies who have upwards of 40 but every pharmacy is different. Do not get discouraged by your number, just as long as your numbers constantly growing and your inventory costs and holding costs are going down. You'll really see that cash flow start.
Drug Topics: How can pharmacists be proactive, rather than reactive, when managing pharmacy inventory? How does med sync factor into that strategy?
Capps: First, it doesn't have to fall all on the pharmacist, again you have a team of technicians and other pharmacists behind you. Everybody needs to be a part of the process. But having a good med sync program, whether you're looking ahead 7 days or 4 days or whatever, that may be for your pharmacy, you're able to predict what you need in your inventory and you know because you already talked to that patient, that this is what they need and they are coming in your pharmacy on a specific day to pick it up, that medication is not going to sit there and tie up an excessive amount of money that could be used elsewhere for your pharmacy.