Q&A: QS/1’s Crystal Ratliff on how tech enables pharmacists to do their best work
Given the frequency with which pharmacists are required to act as an intermediary between patients and physicians, a recent focus of pharmacy technology companies — among them QS/1 — have been making it easier for pharmacists to integrate into a patient’s care team. At the same time, they are enabling pharmacists to better monitor patient adherence and needs. Drug Store News spoke with QS/1 interface market analyst Crystal Ratliff about how pharmacists can leverage the company's offerings to better provide care to their patients.
DSN: As pharmacists work to achieve provider status and continue to play a greater role in healthcare delivery, how is your company enabling community pharmacists to practice at the top of their license?
Crystal Ratliff: Not only is it pharmacists’ passion to provide the best patient care, community pharmacies must be prepared to keep patients compliant and adherent because their Five-Star Ratings depend on it…
Since 1977, QS/1 has been at the forefront of pharmacy technology, providing pharmacy management solutions that enable pharmacists to deliver enhanced patient care while keeping pace with the evolving healthcare industry.
As the pharmacy’s role in the patient care team expands, technology is becoming a greater factor in removing barriers between the pharmacy and the patient’s other healthcare providers. This expanded team provides a more collaborative, efficient process to improve patient outcomes.
Pharmacists’ ability to substantiate their value in improving patient outcomes is crucial to them receiving recognition as healthcare providers. Pharmacists are already providing services beyond filling prescriptions, but this work must be documented and shared with the healthcare community for pharmacists’ value to be realized.
QS/1’s role is to provide pharmacies with the tools necessary to adapt to a rapidly changing market and to give them a substantial competitive advantage. We provide the technology to speed workflow and track compliance and reimbursement, thereby increasing the time available for important patient counseling opportunities…
Technology, integration and interfaces are the way of the future. For 40 years, QS/1 has delivered top-notch pharmacy management solutions that enable pharmacists and their staff to provide advanced patient care. We will continue to develop tools and partner with vendors to give pharmacists the technology they need as their roles evolve in the healthcare continuum.
DSN: Medication adherence remains one of the most cost-effective ways to lower total healthcare costs and deliver improved outcomes. How is your company helping community pharmacy solve for this big opportunity to improve health care?
CR: We’re helping create positive outcomes with prescription synchronization tools to increase both adherence and the level of service to patients. In addition, QS/1 provides tools for home delivery, immunizations, medication therapy management (MTM), comprehensive medication reviews and mobile refills. These options allow pharmacies to provide more services to patients while keeping them engaged in their healthcare.
QS/1 DeliveryRx is a free iPad app that gives pharmacies a simple process to provide prescription delivery, making it easier to deliver medications to patients in remote areas without Wi-Fi or dependable cellular service. And with our mobileRx smartphone app, patients can view their prescription profiles, order refills easily and set up medication reminder alerts.
Our latest innovation, the SharpRx Pharmacy Management System, contains adherence tools such as prescription synchronization, refill reminders and our Interactive Voice Response (IVR) interface. QS/1’s IVR not only provides patients the ability to order refills whenever it’s convenient, but can make outbound reminder and compliance calls. SharpRx also includes e-Prescribing, price and clinical updates, images and imprints, prior authorization, patient monographs and Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) reporting. Labels and forms can be easily customized for patients, including enlarging the font for patients with impaired vision.
DSN: As pharmacy continues to focus more broadly on outcomes and implementing more clinical services, how is your company helping pharmacy retailers better manage the vast amounts of data they need to deal with on a daily basis that comes as a part of that?
CR: Data share and technology make it easier than ever for pharmacists and community pharmacies to provide better care to their patients. Collecting patient information and discussing health concerns was historically done via face-to-face conversations. Now, patients can discuss health-related issues and concerns with their physicians and pharmacists through other avenues, such as secure portals and direct messaging.
Pharmacists and community pharmacies are under more pressure than ever to help patients achieve better health outcomes, but getting paid to provide these services can still be a challenge. Features like interfaces with MTM programs and automatic reporting of immunizations to state registries can free up pharmacists’ valuable time to spend with their patients; time they would otherwise be spending on paperwork and other administrative tasks.
There are several examples where technology has improved community pharmacies’ ability to improve patient health. Key are simple things like having an IVR system or website handle all the refills for the pharmacy, or even synching patients’ medications and dispensing them in compliance strip packs to make it easier for patients to take medications at the right time. Pharmacists and community pharmacies must be prepared to keep patients compliant and adherent.
Another way technology has been used to improve patient health is by using Electronic Prescriptions for Controlled Substances (EPCS) to combat the opioid epidemic in the US. States like New York have adopted legislation that requires prescribers’ Electronic Health Record/Electronic Medical Record system be certified to send digitally signed electronic prescriptions for controlled substances, and their pharmacy software be certified to receive EPCS prescriptions.
Another tool pharmacies can use to combat substance use disorder is NarxCare. NarxCare provides pharmacists with insight into a patient’s controlled substance prescription history, even at other pharmacies. The NarxCare tool analyzes real-time data from the states' Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) and makes this data available to participating prescribers and dispensers.