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ThoughtSpot 2016 showcases the latest in technology


New to ThoughtSpot this year was an Innovation & Technology Showcase, an exciting extension of the trade show floor. The showcase was dedicated to prototypes, products and services that were both innovative and technology-based, including a preview of ABC Order that took center stage within the showcase. Accompanying the showcase were Solution Spotlight Presentations, education sessions in which many vendors showcased the benefits of services like medication therapy management and medication synchronization. Altogether, the showcase and presentations firmly place AmerisourceBergen’s independent pharmacy operators at the cutting-edge of pharmacy practice.

“I was there when [the Innovation & Technology Showcase] opened because I was getting a preview of all the different offerings we had,” Steve Collis, AmerisourceBergen Chairman, President and CEO, told analysts during a conference call in August. “We had this virtual-reality-experience-type encounter where we showed the history, but also what the future of pharmacy could be like. There were just lines to see that,” he said. “We’re getting into a more digitally enabled Good Neighbor Pharmacy-type environment.”

These kind of best-in-class technological advancements will help AmerisourceBergen’s independent partners continue to focus on the patient service elements of pharmacy that earned Good Neighbor Pharmacy the J.D. Power distinction, “Highest in Customer Satisfaction.” “We're really proud of where we’re moving the technology for our customers,” Collis added.

Center stage at the new Innovation & Technology Showcase was ABC Order, a new ordering platform developed by pharmacists for pharmacists. Officially making its debut in 2017, the platform has been engineered to fit within the pharmacy workflow to enable effortless ordering, smarter inventory control, quicker access to data and simple issue resolution. For example, in developing ABC Order, AmerisourceBergen found that many pharmacy operators were leaving hand-written notes on shelves reminding them to check on the shelf below for additional inventory. So, the developers of ABC Order incorporated both a note feature and a calendar feature that allow pharmacists to enter those notes digitally and recall those reminders whenever that particular medicine is re-ordered.

And the platform build isn’t static like many systems in the past — it can be updated on an ongoing basis much like apps for a smartphone. “We’ve used an agile methodology for this build, so we tweak as we go,” Kathie Manning, Group Vice President of Customer Solutions and Support at AmerisourceBergen, told Drug Store News in an exclusive interview. She noted that there were already some changes to be incorporated into ABC Order before going live in 2017 based on some initial feedback on the show floor.

Nearby, ThoughtSpot attendees were able to learn more about virtual reality and Amazon Echo. Using inexpensive smart glasses combined with a smartphone, AmerisourceBergen was able to take participants on a virtual reality tour of the three finalists for Good Neighbor Pharmacy’s Pharmacy of the Year award. In the future, AmerisourceBergen and Good Neighbor Pharmacy anticipate using those glasses to allow store owners to preview new store configurations and remodeling scenarios. In addition, they could be used for patient education and product demonstrations.

And the Innovation & Technology Showcase also featured a prototype Amazon Echo that today can connect patients to their nearest Good Neighbor Pharmacy and get store hours. In the near future, Good Neighbor Pharmacy expects to be one of the first pharmacy operations to enable patients who own an Echo to submit prescription refills on the platform. For pharmacy operators, an in-store Echo may enable them to order product.

Other innovations surrounding the ABC Order hub included the debut of the Good Neighbor Pharmacy mobile app for Apple Watch, where users can refill prescriptions, receive medication reminders and check medication adherence.

The education sessions featured as part of the Solution Spotlight Presentations included best practices for medication therapy management and medication synchronization programs to manage adherence and patient communications, and work with Medicare.

“Ultimately medication synchronization is a new system of controlling a process for practical purposes,” Jason Turner, owner of Moundsville Pharmacy in Moundsville, W.V., told Solution Spotlight attendees. “I’m here to help you develop a vision for your pharmacy, for your future, as far as how medication synchronization impacts [your workflow], and how you can develop your workflow around medication synchronization.” Turner suggested the goal for pharmacies incorporating a med-sync program would be to reach 50% of their prescription volume on the program to best realize workflow synergies and optimize inventory management.

In addition, partners of AmerisourceBergen’s pharmacy services administrative organization, Elevate Provider Network, implemented technology solutions to support reimbursement discussions with payers, and improve medication therapy management, adherence and reimbursement. The sessions were oftentimes standing-room only as AmerisourceBergen’s independent partners soaked up the latest in patient service technology.

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