A Pre-Conversion Checklist for Pharmacies
Posted on Jun 29, 2023
Things to Consider Before Switching Software Providers
Switching pharmacy management systems takes time, regardless of the provider you choose. However, with a little bit of planning, it doesn’t have to be a headache for your pharmacy. To ensure a smooth transition, it’s important to spend some time thinking about what you’re hoping to get from a new system. Be sure to consider both your current operations and your future needs as well. This way, you can identify the functionality you want ahead of time. Otherwise, you may wind up letting a vendor tell you what you “need”. To help get you started, we’ve put together a pre-conversion checklist with things to consider before switching pharmacy software providers.
Assess Your Store.
Before you demo any software, it’s important to have a clear picture of the current state of your pharmacy. To do this, review your store’s performance metrics, including your:
- Average prescription volume.
- Total sales, including OTC items.
- Services, including vaccines, deliveries, and remote payment options.
- Operational needs, from inventory management and reporting to the vendors you use.
- Patient mix, including any long-term care facilities you support and any languages that are prevalent in your community that may require translation services.
Once you’ve assessed your pharmacy’s current needs, be sure to think about what services you may add or areas you plan to expand in the future as well. This way, you can ensure your new software will be able to meet your needs for years to come.
Identify what you like about your existing software – and what you don’t.
Then, spend some time weighing the pros and cons of your current system. What parts of your existing software do you like and hope to carry over to a new system? Alternatively, are there areas that bog you down, or frustrate you about your current system? You should also think through what data you want to transfer to the new provider, including any images you have stored.
Thinking this through ahead of time helps you to narrow down your options faster, because you will already have “must have” and “red flag” lists as a guide. That way, you won’t wind up with a new system, but the same old headaches.
Make a functionality “wish list”.
Next, it’s time to think outside of the constraints of your current software. Are there vital features it’s lacking or workflow functionality you wish you had now? Don’t forget to look to the future too and consider what functionality you may need to support any new services you plan to offer.
Keep in mind, this is more of a “wish” list, so not everything on it will necessarily be a must-have feature. However, it may be helpful to rank items on your wish list in order of importance. This will help you weigh your options and select the system that most closely aligns with your pharmacy’s needs.
Set a budget.
After you’ve reviewed your pharmacy’s operational reports and identified your software needs, it’s time to think about how much you want to spend on a new system. It’s important to be realistic, both about what you can afford and what you expect in terms of functionality. It takes a lot of hard work, time, and money for providers to develop a robust system packed with advanced features. That means the cheapest option probably isn’t going to live up to your expectations or that it’s reasonable to expect everything to be included or given away.
Don’t forget to factor in hardware too. This includes updating workstations (especially if you’re using an older operating system) and any printers, signature pads or credit card processing devices that may be needed. Investing in hardware that is not only compatible, but up-to-date as well, helps ensure HIPAA compliance and enables your new system to operate to its fullest capacity.
As we mentioned earlier, converting to a new pharmacy software system takes time. This is because there are multiple steps in the conversion process, including:
- Transferring your data and verifying its accuracy.
- Enabling integrations including any payment processors, pill counters, IVR, electronic faxing and shipping providers you plan to use.
- Ordering and connecting hardware.
- Setting up your account with the new software vendor.
Allowing adequate time for a conversion (typically between 4-8 weeks) will ensure a smooth transition and prevent any disruption to your pharmacy operations. Planning ahead is especially important if your current software is being discontinued.
Finally, once you start narrowing down your search, don’t forget to do your homework on each company you’re considering, too. Reading customer reviews is a great way to gain insight into how the software and company function, as well as how accessible and helpful their customer support team is. Following these pre-conversion steps will not only ensure you get the features you need but that the transition is as smooth as possible for your store as well.