VoicePort looks toward comprehensive offerings with CLARO
VoicePort arrived in Boston for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Total Store Expo this year with a new name for its suite of pharmacy technology offerings. The company rebranded its PharmaPhonetics property as CLARO Pharmacy Solutions — a name change aimed at highlighting the growth the company’s offerings have seen since starting out in 2003, according to VoicePort VP North American business development Alphonse J. Sasso.
(To view the full Special Report, click here.)
“As an organization, we have expanded beyond traditional patient messaging, and we wanted to be sure that our branding reflected that expansion and more accurately expressed who we are,” Sasso told Drug Store News. “Our portfolio has expanded and is very diverse now, and includes turnkey patient interventions that are ready off the shelf or can be customized … to target toward our pharmacy client’s individual strategies … and give them the full suite of activity to make that happen.”
CLARO’s suite of solutions has a foundation in patient outreach, offering both inbound and outbound IVR, as well as patient segmentation and campaign management tools that allow pharmacists to drill down by disease state to help reach the right patients. These can be combined with such offerings as CLARO’s Immunization Intelligence Services. A valuable public health service, which through a partnership with Scientific Technologies Corp., can help pharmacies identify patients who would benefit from immunizations based on accepted clinical standards and their available vaccine administration history.
“The pharmacy can make automated notifications via CLARO to a patient, letting them know that they are in need of a specific vaccine and, if the patient indicates that they want to hear more information, that’s recorded in the portal,” Sasso said. “Then the pharmacy team can contact that patient to discuss and schedule the administration.”
Beyond outreach, CLARO can provide medication synchronization services that leverage an appointment-based model to help improve medication adherence. In addition to aligning a patient’s medications and making a monthly appointment with the pharmacist, the med sync solution opens up other opportunities for the pharmacist to offer information about other clinical services.
“It’s been used very successfully to keep patients on track with their multiple meds, picking them up once a month.” he said, adding that it allows “pharmacy team members to do more than just fill and bill, but to become very consultative and involved in the overall patient’s health by meeting with them once a month to address any needs like patient education, immunizations or MTM services we have available in our portal.”
Because a large component of adherence is understanding how medication should be taken, CLARO includes Meducation materials through VoicePort’s partnership with Polyglot Systems. The partnership allows CLARO partner pharmacies to offer medication instructions for 90% of the most commonly prescribed drugs in 22 different languages, as well as in varying font sizes.
“Right now, one-third of the United States is considered low health literate, meaning that when they get a prescription, they would benefit from simple-to-understand instructions aimed at proper administration and improved adherence,” Sasso said. “The Meducation tool is written at a 5th- and 6th-grade reading level, and makes use of pictograms to further reinforce dosing regimens.”
CLARO positions the pharmacy team to actively identity, manage and measure results for targeted populations based on the pharmacy client’s criteria and clinical objectives. Sasso also notes that though CLARO’s solutions are comprehensive, it’s possible for pharmacy partners to choose individual services and technology from among the suite of offerings.
“The nice thing is you can take a look at the entire portfolio or you can look at the a la carte options,” Sasso said. “We can work right alongside some of our competitors and still very nicely help our clients fulfill their requirements.”
HQ: Rochester, N.Y.
CEO: Chris Mann
Specialty: Technology platforms
RxMedic solutions work to increase will-call efficiency, provide flexible automation
As prescription volume increases, one of the hottest areas of pharmacy technology in recent years has been solutions for the will-call process, and RxMedic is looking to stay on the forefront of will-call solutions with its Automated Retrieval System, or ARS. The company also is working to provide dispensing and storage solutions that can adapt to reduce downtime for calibration and maintenance.
(To view the full Special Report, click here.)
RxMedic’s ARS will-call system is built around improving the patient checkout function for pharmacy team members by identifying the bag or bags containing their current patient’s prescriptions by using a unique combination of identification lights on the ARS’ electronically activated hanging bags. Each has a unique barcode that is associated with the barcode of the prescription that a technician places in the bag. This makes storage easier than with will-call systems that rely on bins sorted by patient last name, according to RxMedic VP David Williams.
“The primary advantage is you don’t have to be concerned about alphabetizing or indexing prescriptions in any particular order,” Williams told Drug Store News. “When the patient comes in, all you do is do a name query on your pharmacy management system. … [You] tell the system that you’re going to checkout the patient’s prescriptions, and the bag with their prescription will light up.”
When a patient’s bag lights up, it displays a light or combination of lights that is unique to the technician retrieving it, a feature aimed at reducing dispensing errors. Even if a patient has multiple prescriptions that are ordered throughout the week, the various bags will light up, and pharmacies can set up the ARS so that a linked family member’s prescriptions also will light up when a patient picks up their own medication.
“It’s a very slick system,” Williams said. “It works very well, and another important feature that pharmacists will tell you about is that it greatly reduces dispensing errors, because with a manual will-call system, the opportunity always exists for a patient to get the wrong prescription. This system significantly reduces that risk.”
Manual will-call systems also bring with them the need to sort by hand and return to stock the medications that haven’t been picked up. Williams said that with the ARS, a technician can set up a parameter in their pharmacy management system for the ARS to identify all bags that have been there beyond a specific date, assigning that function a unique color.
“Think about 600 or 700 bags sitting there on a regular basis,” Williams said. “Somebody has to go through and physically handle each and every bag to decide whether or not it needs to be returned to stock, so consider the labor and time saved by using this particular feature.”
In addition to the ARS, RxMedic ‘s latest offering in pharmacy automation, the RM200, is a fully automated system filling up to two prescriptions a minute. With industry-leading auto calibrating cell technology, RM200 brings speed and accuracy, while automating up to 65% of pharmacies most common oral solids. The RM200 also is able to switch between different types of vials in a way that’s faster and less expensive than other systems, Williams said. As it is not built around a specific vial like many other automation systems, changing vial manufacturers or types is relatively simple, as well as inexpensive. In most cases, for less than $2,000 a pharmacy can switch the RM200’s vial compatibility by changing out a part.
RxMedic also offers remote video support for all of its accounts using a robot, allowing for quick response to issues that, in some instances, can take robots offline for an inconvenient amount of time.
“It cuts tremendous time off the wait time to get the robot back up running and operational,” Williams said. “If you spent over $100,000 for the robot, the last thing you want is for it to be down any longer than is absolutely necessary.”
HQ: Wake Forest, N.C.
CEO: William R. Cobb
ScriptPro streamlines will-call, documentation pain points
As pharmacies fill more prescriptions, while also needing to provide specialty clinical services, pharmacy technology company ScriptPro is positioning itself as a provider of solutions that will ease common pain points that come with increased script volume and the influx of paperwork from clinical services. ScriptPro’s CEO Mike Coughlin shared two forthcoming innovations from the company with Drug Store News, one of which addresses pharmacy documentation needs, and the other of which will help with pain points in the will-call process.
(To view the full Special Report, click here.)
“With central fill and IVR and medication synchronization, there’s a lot of pushing of patients to phone in early and get their prescription filled in advance, but with that comes more prescriptions waiting for pickup,” Coughlin said. “All these automated technologies are extremely important, and they solve problems that are fundamental to getting the work done, but they also push other things downstream that can cause problems.”
Two problems Coughlin identified that plague the will-call process are the potential for errors that are the result of staff picking up the wrong prescription from a bin and the possibility for diversion that will-call prescriptions represent.
To solve these issues and other pharmacy workflow difficulties, ScriptPro is developing its Storage and Retrieval System, which Coughlin said will begin alpha and beta testing in the fall, with a launch expected at the beginning of 2017.
“Our approach is to design an automated will-call system that allows the bags to be stored routinely as they’re filled, and then they can be dispensed to the service line staff that are serving the patients, or to a kiosk for a patient who wants to pick them up without waiting in line … or even at a drive-up window,” Coughlin said. “Instead of having an approach where you have to decide where to put the bags to be picked up, our system will robotically hold those bags and make them available wherever they’re needed.”
The SRS reduces the footprint of a typical will-call area and, because of the robotic management of filled prescriptions, it reduces the possibility for errors. Coughlin said it also can be used to keep track of high-cost medications outside the will-call process. The SRS can help identify prescriptions that haven’t been picked up in order to streamline the return-to-stock process, or even allow the pharmacist to use those medications to fill more immediate prescription needs.
The SRS will be able to integrate with third-party software platforms and solutions, as well as with ScriptPro’s platforms, which Coughlin said can play a big role in combating diversion.
“It’s important to integrate these systems because anytime there’s a gap between two systems, there’s an opportunity for people to game these situations, confuse the interfaces and set up diversion schemes,” Coughlin said.
In addition to the SRS, ScriptPro is developing the Advanced Pharmacy Clinical Services tool, or APCS. This Web-based solution is currently in alpha testing at a major health system pharmacy, and it’s aimed at helping pharmacies manage documentation in various forms, pulling together patient health records from multiple sources.
Coughlin said APCS is designed to do high-level documenting for specialty pharmacy. Treatment plans are complex and must be organized and visible to be successful. He noted, “Our system will enable specialty pharmacies to build programs that combine pharmacy patient, dispensing data and clinical program documentation.” Other uses for APCS include medication therapy management and pharmacist prescribing.
“The basic tool can be used in a number of different ways that can be totally structured by the pharmacy to meet their needs,” Coughlin said. “These are things that, frankly, they’re either going to have to do on paper or … use an electronic tool — and the tighter the electronic tool is integrated with their pharmacy management system, the better results they’re going to have and the more efficient they’ll be.”
HQ: Mission, Kan.
President and CEO: Mike Coughlin
Specialty: Software platforms, automation, telepharmacy