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Pharmacists at Schnuck Markets, Inc. locations who are trying to double-check the accuracy of prescriptions will soon have to look in only one spot: the computer screen. "The new system projects an image of the original prescription, an image of the prescription label, as well as a picture of the pills associated with the order," says Curtis Hartin, director of pharmacy for the St. Louis-based chain. "This is a big safety feature. Seeing those three items together at the same time greatly reduces the chance for error. Plus the pharmacist will no longer have to go through the files to find a particular record, so it makes the process more efficient."
three items together at the same time greatly reduces the chance for error. Plus the pharmacist will no longer have to go through the files to find a particular record, so it makes the process more efficient."
Hartin is referring to just one of the benefits Schnucks expects to see from the EnterpriseRx system, from Per-Se Technologies of Alpharetta, Ga., which the retailer has already installed at its Cahokia, Ill. pharmacy, with plans to deploy at all 99 Schnucks pharmacies by year's end.
The EnterpriseRx system is designed to allow pharmacies to centrally manage inventory in real time, centrally fill prescriptions, and immediately access business data on any pharmacy across the enterprise.
"We operate in a competitive and rapidly changing business environment," says Hartin. "The pharmacy business isn't as profitable as it used to be. With Medicare Part D and complex reimbursement processes, we need stronger reporting and administrative tools to excel. Medicare Part D, in fact, has taken more than half of our patients down from a good reimbursement model to one that pays significantly less. EnterpriseRx gives us that competitive edge, as well as the ability to offer more convenience and higher levels of service for our customers."
Schnucks is a longtime user of Per-Se's Intelligent Network for prescription claims processing to third-party payers. The pharmacies continue to leverage network services, such as pre- and post-editing, to improve the claim adjudication process. They also employ RxSafety Advisor to manage medication safety, and average wholesale price resubmission services to automate the resubmission of claims to third-party payers.
The centralized patient database means that patients can go from one Schnucks pharmacy to the next, and still have access to their records. "If one store is out of product, it can check the inventory levels at nearby locations," says Hartin. "This way it can process the patient's prescription at one store and have the patient pick up the prescription at another location that has it in stock. This kind of convenience goes a long way in terms of customer satisfaction."
The centralized database allows a wide variety of reporting tools as well, which will enhance Schnucks pharmacies' reporting capabilities. "We can write reports on any number of data fields within our databases," explains Hartin. "This will give us better demographic information, better sales data, and quicker sales data -- there are a lot of efficiencies there, too."
Plus, like the ScriptPro robotic dispensers that Schnucks uses at some of its locations, the EnterpriseRx system frees up the pharmacist to consult with patients, which strengthens those customers' loyalty to the retailer and enhances the pharmacists' job satisfaction.
After all, they don't go to pharmacy school to learn how to count pills.