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04/25/2022

REX Awards 2022: Technology and Automation

Who are the luminaries of the technology and automation industry? DSN is recognizing these companies with its Retail Excellence Awards — Technology and Automation.
Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
Sandra Levy profile picture
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DSN REX Awards Tech & Automation 2022

They are the companies that are continually innovating and enabling pharmacists to practice at the top of their licenses. They are increasing efficiencies so that pharmacists are free to provide a myriad of clinical services, and giving retailers an opportunity to help their customers and patients lead healthier lives. 

This month, Drug Store News recognizes the cream of the crop of the technology and automation industry with its Retail Excellence Awards — Technology and Automation. The winning companies were selected for their excellence in these highly unprecedented and fiercely competitive times. These are companies that are leaders in innovation and go the extra mile for their customers.

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Adheris Health logo

[Read more: REX Awards 2022: OTC and Preventive Health]

Adheris Health

Burlington, Mass.-based Adheris Health, a MedAdvisor company, has been a pioneer and leader in direct-to-patient engagement in the United States for more than 30 years. 

“With an estimated annual cost from non optimized medication therapy of $528.4 billion and over 275,600 lives, we are committed to turning this distressing trend around by focusing on transforming and individualizing patient health-and-wellness engagement by empowering people to live healthier,” said John Ciccio, president and CEO of Adheris Health. “We do this by supporting the patient at every point of care, when and how they need it; with their prescriber, be it in person or virtually; with their pharmacist; at home with direct mail; or anywhere with smart digital solutions.”

Adheris Health provides the content, education, support, resources and information that help address the barriers of care, whether it be overcoming hectic lifestyles, a need for understanding therapy usage or lack of affordability.

“We deliver individualized patient engagement plans to empower patients for a successful treatment journey and improve outcomes for both patients and key stakeholders, such as retailers, brands and payers,” Ciccio said. “We are able to amplify this vision on a large scale by leveraging the nation’s largest comprehensive network for patient and prescriber access, with direct access to 140,000 prescribers, 243 million patients, 2.3 billion prescriptions per year and 25,000 pharmacies.” 

Adheris Health recently launched two new, innovative solutions. 

The first solution is THRiV, an intelligent patient management platform that uses real-time insights to quickly adapt to patient needs and continually adjusts their individualized engagement plan. It delivers powerful patient reach, predictive analytics and intelligent solutions to supercharge adherence. The company also launched a smart digital solution that enables retailers to directly engage patients wherever they are with important reminders, educational content and resources, such as financial assistance.

Adheris Health’s differentiators include:

  • The ability to reach 50% of the U.S. population;
  • 165 million communications sent over the last five years;
  • Six U.S. patents for patient delivery systems;
  • 15.8 million prescription refills with its programs;
  • $3.2 billion in incremental revenue for its clients in the last 10 years; and
  • An average ROI of 7.1:1 with its programs.
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Enliven Health logo

EnlivenHealth

Raleigh, N.C.-based EnlivenHealth is the retail pharmacy technology division of Omnicell, a global leader in medication management solutions and adherence tools for healthcare systems and pharmacies. 

“EnlivenHealth builds the most trusted and proven patient engagement, financial management and population health technology solutions that enable retail pharmacies to measurably improve the health of their patients while ensuring the long-term health of their business,” said Danny Sanchez, senior vice president and general manager of EnlivenHealth.

Sanchez said that with the recent acquisitions of FDS Amplicare and MarkeTouch Media, EnlivenHealth now offers the industry’s most comprehensive suite of SaaS technology solutions that help retail pharmacies transform and thrive in the new era of digital-driven health care. 

He noted that more than 50,000 retail pharmacies nationwide deploy solutions from the combined EnlivenHealth/FDS Amplicare/MarkeTouch Media.  

“EnlivenHealth’s technology solutions help pharmacies to automate repetitive tasks and inefficient workflows, freeing up pharmacists to practice at the top of their license and provide high value clinical services that keep patients healthy and drive revenue growth and profitability,” Sanchez said.

He pointed out that pharmacists are continually challenged by having to move back and forth between multiple technology platforms and disconnected systems to access critical technologies that help manage their clinical and business operations. To solve this problem, EnlivenHealth created Enliven360, a unified, integrated technology platform. Enliven360 gives pharmacy staff one convenient place to access all the solutions, tools and analytics they need to better engage patients, maximize financial results and deliver revenue-generating clinical services.

Another major innovation from EnlivenHealth is its new Personalized Communications solution. This digital cloud-based technology allows pharmacists to strengthen patient engagement and enhance business results by creating a truly personalized and differentiated patient experience. Persona-lized Communications integrates all communication channels into one system, including conversational IVR for interactive inbound/outbound phone communications, SMS texting, chatbots and email. 

“Our Personal Communications solution is already helping to mitigate staffing shortages by reducing time-consuming administrative and operational tasks that take pharmacists away from vital patient care,” Sanchez said. “EnlivenHealth has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the past six months to bring together the industry’s leading pharmacy technology providers to provide its partners with the most comprehensive and advanced digital technology solutions.” 

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iA logo

Read more: REX Awards 2022: Natural Products]

iA

With more than 25 years in the pharmacy fulfillment business, Indianapolis-based iA has invented and developed a suite of leading-edge pharmacy automation and software solutions that are being deployed across the United States and around the world. 

“With hundreds of systems installed around the world, iA’s pharmacy fulfillment solutions have been implemented across many aspects of pharmacy, from the retail setting to mail order to military pharmacy,” said Marvin Richardson, CEO of iA. “iA has always been and will continue to be a leader in technology and forward-thinking solutions created specifically for pharmacy.”

NEXiA, the company’s leading-edge suite of intelligent pharmacy fulfillment software, is the foundation of Pharmacy Fulfillment by iA. “It connects many aspects of the prescription fulfillment process — from prescription acceptance at the pharmacy to delivery across many different touchpoints,” Richardson said. “NEXiA works with pharmacy providers to identify their optimal fulfillment strategy while also enabling them to lower inventory storage needs within the pharmacy. This is informed by NEXiA’s analytics that monitor how prescriptions are being filled centrally.”

Last year, iA also introduced SmartPod — iA’s next-generation robot that delivers innovative scale in a central fill pharmacy environment. SmartPod is iA’s breakthrough autofill unit with built-in modularity, allowing pharmacy providers to adjust and scale their centralized fulfillment solutions to meet demand.

SmartPod is a fully contained robot using vial-filling technologies that allow iA customers to configure the SmartPod to add line items and expand pharmacy fulfillment across their pharmacy. “It’s a comprehensive solution, and we are proud to say that SmartPod is only available from iA,” Richardson said. “With pharmacists at the helm of iA, iA understands the unique challenges of the pharmacist and the industry at large. iA’s ability to serve pharmacy providers in a variety of volumes and settings with our solutions help pharmacists to redistribute their time to focus on providing value-added patient-facing care, including revenue-generating services such as immunizations, vaccinations, medication therapy management and consultations.” 

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Inmar Intelligence logo

Inmar Intelligence

Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Inmar Intelligence has been a trusted partner for 40-plus years for pharmacies, health systems and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

“We transform billions of dollars of transactions into valuable insights, which help our partners navigate the complex healthcare ecosystems,” said Rob Zomok, executive vice president and president of Inmar Intelligence’s Supplytech division.

The company recently enhanced its Rx Analytics on Demand (Rx AoD) platform to deliver real-time business insights and metrics for multiple stakeholders across an organization. It can help uncover opportunities to improve contract compliance and oversight, as well as drug utilization trends, price optimization and patient affordability.

Pointing out that Inmar Intelligence processes more than 1.5 billion pharmacy claims each year for over 20,000 pharmacies of all sizes, Zomok said, “We are able to benchmark across all market segments so that pharmacy leaders have the best information to make informed business decisions.”

Rx AoD also allows pharmacies to compare financial performance against the market and identify opportunities for improving profitability, he said. “By using Rx AoD, a customer recently identified over $1 million in incremental revenue over three months through an adjustment in their usual and customary (U&C) claims. Another pharmacy avoided $15 million in losses by identifying the root cause of a payer contracting problem.” 

If that weren’t enough, Inmar Intelligence integrates into the drug lifecycle, extracting insights from a drug’s inception into the supply chain, prescription dispensing and reimbursement, all the way to the drug’s destruction. 

Additionally, the company’s Healthcare Cloud, powered by the DrugSync platform, layers technology over vast data assets to deliver business intelligence that bring greater transparency to the complex healthcare financial system, improve efficiency in pharmaceutical reverse logistics and provide tech-enabled services in the healthcare compliance market.

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InStep Health

InStep Health

For over 20 years, InStep Health, based in the greater Chicago area has offered platforms to connect pharmaceutical, OTC and CPG brands with patients and providers at every point in the health continuum. 

“We are recognized for services, including our media displays and digital billboards, HCP and point-of-care education kits, and industry data analysis services,” said Michael Byrnes, chief sales officer at InStep Health.

InStep Health recently launched Navigator Ads, combining the reach and frequency of digital display advertising with the utility of an HCP provider directory. Based on the patient’s location and likely health condition, these ads dynamically generate provider listings, which offer click-to-call or other real-time appointment booking options directly from the ad unit. Alternate versions of Navigator Ads can focus on local education. These ads make healthcare brand messaging actionable and can be deployed with minimal setup time.

“InStep Health offers the only fully integrated healthcare marketing platform that combines the power of tactile and digital activation programs with a proprietary network of over 250,000 HCPs, 177,000 offices and over 26,000 pharmacies nationwide. Our solutions emphasize sparking conversations between patients, pharmacists, physicians and other healthcare providers,” Byrnes said.

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Knapp logo

KNAPP

Kennesaw, Ga.-based KNAPP is an internationally operating company that specializes in warehouse and pharmacy logistics and automation, with over 5,000 employees worldwide. As a solutions provider, KNAPP offers one-stop, custom-designed intralogistics solutions in health care, retail, apparel, food, manufacturing and e-commerce sectors.

Founded in 1952 in Graz Austria, Healthcare Solutions is the company’s oldest vertical market and includes customers in pharma manufacturing, wholesale, mail, central fill, long-term care, specialty and retail pharmacy. 

KNAPP’s earliest centralized pharmacies were installed in the United States in 2003 and are running over 60,000 prescriptions a day. 

“We provide automation solutions for each healthcare market segment, but are known for more intelligent solutions with smart software, providing insight and predictive guidance for our customers,” said Brian Sullivan, senior systems sales manager of healthcare solutions for USA and Canada. “Our high-speed pill counters are very accurate and include the ability to detect broken pills, double counts and invalids while also handling translucent and dusty medications that challenge other technologies. Our mid-velocity KMeD dispensers are a technology of choice, applied in applications that address an expanded cluster of pharmacies’ formulary than other technologies, and our solutions typically provide an extremely low cost per script for our customers.” 

KNAPP is currently providing new micro central fill solutions that drive same-day deliveries to retail stores, but with the economies of a traditional central fill. “While the economics of lower cost per script and inventory optimization are often the first areas discussed, our customers are equally excited about the ability to use staff in more meaningful activities in the pharmacy, where pharmacists are then able to perform at the top of their license and technicians can work on broader clinical activities, all while delivering an incremental increase in revenue, as well as added revenue streams,” Sullivan said.

He went on to say that a KNAPP pharmacy is more automated than other central pharmacy solutions. “Often, over 90% of patient orders can be dispensed, packed and sorted without human intervention. The KiSoft One Pharmacy Execution Suite provides predictive guidance through a sophisticated suite of applications, including KiSoft Analytics, KiSoft SCADA and redPILOT modules, resulting in more flexible and transparent pharmacy operations, proactive capabilities, and the ability to ensure that SLAs are met at the store and patient level. For the pharmacy personnel, this means less steps, faster problem resolution, less downtime and happier customers,” Sullivan said.

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Lexis Nexis logo

LexisNexis Risk Solutions 

The healthcare business of Alpharetta, Ga.- based LexisNexis Risk Solutions harnesses the power of data and advanced analytics to help healthcare organizations operate more efficiently and create healthier communities. 

“We leverage our one of kind repository of prescriber, identity, claims and social determinants of health data to deliver in-workflow solutions that help reduce risk, meet compliance requirements, increase patient engagement and improve health outcomes,” said Craig Ford, vice president of sales for pharmacy and enterprise strategic markets, health care business at LexisNexis Risk Solutions.

Ford shared that the company’s pharmacy team has the privilege of working with all the top 10 retail pharmacies in America. “We take immense pride in serving them as a trusted advisor. These partnerships have enabled the ongoing development of risk mitigation and compliance-based solutions that support approximately 80% of every prescription dispensed. We empower pharmacists to make more efficient and confident choices by integrating the market’s largest, most accurate source of prescriber data into their workflow,” he said.  

One of LexisNexis Risk Solutions’ most recent innovations is its ability to combine disparate data sources, including social determinants of health data. By creating a unique identifier for patients and layering in more than 440 clinically validated social determinants of health, “we can give pharmacists a more accurate and complete picture of a patient’s health,” Ford said. “Whether its prescription validation using any of our identity verification solutions or looking at medication adherence based on our social determinants of health data, we provide pharmacists with the insights they need to make the best decisions possible.” 

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Crocus Medical

Crocus Medical 

Manrex, based in Winnipeg in Manitoba,Canada, has been in business since 1973. Its sister company, Crocus Medical, based in Minneapolis, has been providing pharmacists involved in retail and long-term care with products to help them reduce medication errors while improving the efficiency of their dispensing.

One of the earliest promoters of pharmacy automation in North America, Manrex and Crocus Medical have been on the forefront of introducing market-leading technologies to increase dispensing efficiency while improving safety.  

“All the products we promote are dedicated to helping pharmacists free up more time for patient care and counseling,” said John Webster, vice president of innovation and product development at Manrex. 

“We work with and represent companies from around the world in an effort to bring best-of-breed solutions to our clients. From pill counters, to multidose pouch packagers, to multidose blister packagers, to RFID Will Call cabinets, to Rx patient self-retrieval cabinets and advanced software to help manage a pharmacy’s drug  inventories, we can help our pharmacist customers in a variety of areas within their businesses,” Webster said.

Lastly, he pointed out that although the company is “not nearly as big as some of the larger technology providers, our focus on matching the pharmacy automation to the size, strategy and capabilities of the individual pharmacy itself ensures the solution not only improves their business but helps them maximize their customer relationships.”  

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OmniSYS logo

OmniSYS

OmniSYS is a Dallas-based technology company with 25-plus years of experience working with pharmacies, payers, providers and pharmaceutical manufacturers. “We leverage this unique market insight along with our pharmacy workflow expertise to deliver valuable solutions that help pharmacies thrive in the changing healthcare landscape,” said John King, president of OmniSYS. 

King said the company is best known for its expertise in the management and reimbursement of goods and services covered under the medical benefit within retail pharmacy. 

With a focus on clinical services enablement, OmniSYS offers a full suite of complementary technology solutions that help pharmacies serve as health hubs for their communities, including a patient-centric communications platform, an electronic billing-enabled health record, medical claims processing, a comprehensive immunization reporting and opportunity engine, and an automated solution to optimize U&C drug pricing.

OmniSYS’s Strand-Rx is the pharmacy industry’s first electronic cloud-based, billing-enabled health record, bringing together key clinical, medical and health information into a longitudinal patient record, King said. Built on a highly secure, scalable and interoperable technology platform, Strand-Rx enables pharmacists to operate at the top of their license and pharmacies to profitably grow their clinical services business.  

“With over 30,000 pharmacies leveraging OmniSYS to support their operations, our expertise in data and workflow sets us apart in the industry,” King said. 

For example, OmniSYS recently helped several retail chains deploy a completely automated point-of-care testing solution by integrating data and workflow across numerous systems, including scheduling, clinical documentation, lab results, claims processing and patient communications. 

“OmniSYS helps pharmacies grow clinical revenue and positively impact health outcomes,” King said. 

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PioneerRx logo

PioneerRx

Irving, Texas-based PioneerRx is on a “mission to save and revitalize independent pharmacy,” said Marsha Bivins, marketing director at PioneerRx. Since its inception in 2008, the company has quickly grown from a family-owned operation to a powerhouse in the independent pharmacy software space. 

PioneerRx serves more than 5,000 pharmacies nationwide with the most innovative pharmacy management solutions on the market.

“Features like Native Med Sync, eCare Plan Integrations and Vaccine Reporting give independent pharmacies the chance to do more and be more,” Bivins said. 

Most recently, PioneerRx launched Med Sync Prep Messaging. This new feature allows pharmacies to communicate with med sync patients, using a series of streamlined questions from within PioneerRx. 

“Med Sync Prep Messaging not only increases convenience for pharmacies but it also improves engagement for patients, leading to better adherence and better outcomes,” Bivins said.

PioneerRx offers weekly updates and improvements designed to increase speed, simplicity and consistency. 

“Updates are based on input from PioneerRx users or industry leaders and implemented to improve the lives of pharmacists everywhere. That’s because, for PioneerRx, it isn’t just about software. It’s about creating the best solutions in the industry and empowering pharmacy professionals everywhere,” Bivins said. 

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ScriptPro logo

ScriptPro

As the pioneer in the use of robotics in community pharmacies starting in 1994, Mission, Kan.-based ScriptPro is a leading pharmacy technology provider in the United States and around the world. The company develops, installs and supports a comprehensive portfolio of over 200 pharmacy automation and management system products. 

“ScriptPro has brought to the retail market emerging technologies in vial filling, medication pouch packaging and fully automated will call,” said Mike Coughlin, CEO, president and founder of ScriptPro. “As a result, retail practice settings have been able to dramatically improve safety and the patient experience while creating sustainable growth and profitability.”

Coughlin pointed out that community pharmacies are playing an even more critical and influential element in the healthcare landscape today. “ScriptPro understands this requires maximum help from automation and software technologies. Pharmacists need a dedicated electronic clinical care record-keeping system to manage and document prescribing processes and outcomes,” he said.

To that end, ScriptPro developed Advanced Pharmacy Clinical Services, a web-based, patient-centric application structured as an extension of ScriptPro’s pharmacy management platform.

APCS helps pharmacists document their decisions and actions to drive positive health outcomes. It integrates with ScriptPro’s workflow automation to provide immediate accessibility to practice guidelines and reporting of documented events.

“Outstanding patient care is at the heart of ScriptPro’s end-to-end solutions for pharmacists. ScriptPro products enable them to step up and excel in ways that are needed to offer the highest level of patient care,” Coughlin said.

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STL Health logo

STChealth

Phoenix-based STChealth has been providing vaccine intelligence to partners in the healthcare ecosystem for more than 33 years.  

“STChealth works with clients throughout the United States and internationally to pursue a shared mission of eradicating vaccine-preventable disease through innovative software and service solutions,” said Billy Chow, chief pharmacy officer at STChealth.

More than 60,000 immunization providers located throughout all 50 states leverage STChealth Clinical Services technology to validate patient immunization status, as well as capture and report patient immunization and laboratory test data to state and federal entities. Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 1 billion patient records have been reported through STChealth’s national provider network. This massive exchange of data was made possible through partnerships with the White House, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state public health departments and community pharmacies across the nation.  

“Throughout its entire history, STChealth has worked alongside public health as a provider of Immunization Information System technology,” Chow said. “These public sector relationships allow STChealth to bridge the gap with private sector healthcare providers, including pharmacy, to create long-standing, meaningful partnerships between providers and public health organizations.”

Chow also said, “While many in the healthcare ecosystem recognize the risk that vaccine hesitancy poses to public health, few are taking action like STChealth. Leveraging the billions of data points that run through STChealth systems, ongoing research and analysis is being done to help immunization providers make better decisions about enabling access in addition to when and how to communicate with vaccine-hesitant patients.” 

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Surescripts logo

Surescripts 

“Pharmacy is an integral part of Arlington, Va.-based Surescripts’ past, present and future,” said Ken Whittemore  Jr., vice president of pharmacy and regulatory affairs at Surescripts. 

The company’s history began in 2001 when two national pharmacy associations came together to form SureScript Systems, enabling e-prescribing as a replacement for traditional paper, telephone and fax prescriptions. That same year, three of the largest pharmacy benefit managers formed RxHub to connect payers and providers. These competing organizations merged in 2008 to form the alliance known as Surescripts.

Today, the Surescripts Network Alliance connects nearly all pharmacies, prescribers, electronic health record vendors and pharmacy benefit managers, plus health plans, long-term and post-acute care organizations, hubs, and specialty pharmacy organizations to simplify the way health intelligence is shared. 

“We work to deliver the right information for the right purpose at the right time, all while maintaining the highest standards for network access, security and performance,” Whittemore said. “The trusted insights we deliver to pharmacies empower pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, in turn transforming care for patients.”

Surescripts solutions, such as Clinical Direct Messaging, Real-Time Prescription Benefit, RxChange — which allows pharmacists to recommend changes in prescriptions to prescribers — Specialty Medications Gateway and Specialty Patient Enrollment help make therapy management more accurate and efficient with direct connections between pharmacists, prescribers and payers. 

Reflecting on the fact that the last two years have been a period of virtually unprecedented challenges, during which pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have risen to the occasion, Whittemore said: “With a solid foundation of 20 years uniting the healthcare infrastructure, Surescripts remains committed to providing up-to-date, interoperable solutions that facilitate better experiences for pharmacy personnel and patients alike.”

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