Technology company OmniSYS is helping retail pharmacists provide convenient, affordable and high-quality care to their communities. John King, the company’s CEO, is focused on achieving the company’s mission of improving the health of health care. Drug Store News spoke with King about how the pandemic has affected the practice of pharmacy and how technology can help the industry keep pace with an ever-changing environment.
Drug Store News: COVID-19 has had a huge impact in the changing role of the pharmacist. How do you see this playing out in the near future?
John King: COVID-19 created a surge in demand for clinical and preventative care, and exposed the need for additional providers and more access points to care. And as with public health crises of the past, the government turned to community pharmacies to solve this challenge during COVID-19 as well.
But this time, in addition to expanding access to immunizations, the government introduced a new and scalable service when it authorized point-of-care testing (POCT). Patients are now visiting their local pharmacies in record numbers, and regularly interacting with pharmacists for services beyond medication dispensing and even immunizations. This represents a major turning point in the evolution towards the pharmacist as a provider of clinical care.
Based on the work we’re doing with pharmacies and payers across the country, we are forecasting significant growth in clinical services as more pharmacies look to expand their business.
DSN: What do the pharmacists and retail executives need to do to stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive?
JK: To remain competitive, it is essential that organizations develop a clear strategy regarding the ‘pharmacist as a provider’ thesis. Within that strategy, there are a few key considerations.
Organizations will need to assess the regulatory landscape and align the scope of approved services with payer coverage. Then of course they will need to address credentialing, training and enrollment for all their pharmacists who will be operating as providers of medical services. For chain pharmacies operating in multiple markets, this can be a very complex and time-consuming process, which will need to be maintained on an ongoing basis.
Finally, it’s important to develop a technology road map and begin making investments in the infrastructure you’ll need to support the clinical services business model. Some key elements to consider include capabilities to support patient engagement beyond just the prescription, a longitudinal health record that enables clinical workflow, and a revenue cycle platform that manages the complexities surrounding medical billing and reimbursement.
DSN: How can OmniSYS help?
JK: OmniSYS can help pharmacies navigate the changing landscape and provide technology solutions that enable their clinical services business. Through our breadth of experience and deep working knowledge of medical benefit plans, we can assist pharmacies in developing their go-to-market strategies and help them implement their technology road map.
DSN: What about the future? What is the pharmacists’ role and what is OmniSYS’ role?JK: COVID-19 accelerated a much-anticipated problem: What happens when there is an imbalance between demand and access to care. And this is a problem that’s not going away any time soon.
In less than a decade, there will be a staggering 27 million new Medicare beneficiaries. One in three will have diabetes or prediabetes. And nearly half will have multiple chronic conditions. Take a minute to let that sink in. The next pervasive need for accessible care is just around the corner. The pharmacist of the future will address these challenges and become the preferred provider for low acuity and preventative care.
OmniSYS is passionate about improving the health of health care by enabling community pharmacists as providers of care. We’re here to help organizations stay ahead of the evolving scope of pharmacy practice by supporting them with the right solutions to positively impact health outcomes for their patients.