Kroll Online appointment booking lets you enhance your patient experience by offering the convenience of booking and managing appointments online, while reducing incoming call volumes and administrative tasks.
By choosing an appointment service that integrates into the central calendar in your pharmacy management system, you can consolidate in-person, phone and email appointment requests and configure multiple work queues. “We really like how simple it is for our patients, plus the integration with our Kroll system lets us manage specialized queues, such as for vaccinations or methadone patients,” Winn explains.
Appointment systems that allow for online booking and offer text and email reminders are a great way to stay in touch with your patients and their caregivers and to help reduce both no-shows and the staff time required to book appointments and follow up with patients. They also improve patient flow and inventory management by creating a clear picture of coming demand in the store.
Appointment booking also works for virtual consultations too. Many pharmacists are now connecting with patients via video, audio or live chat to discuss medications and general health, in an encrypted, private platform. Patients and caregivers particularly appreciate the discreet face-to-face conversations, and pharmacists like the flexibility of scheduling around busy times and supporting safe distancing protocols. In fact, the pandemic has increased the use of technology to deliver care virtually, with some providers seeing increased use of more than 750 percent versus pre-pandemic times.
The pandemic also drove massive growth in e-commerce, with consumers looking for new ways to connect with brands and service providers. Look for integrated applications, such as TELUS PharmaConnect that let patients and caregivers order medications and refills remotely. Many of these applications also support medication compliance by sending reminders and information to patients via text, email or in-app notifications.
By offering a seamless blend of bricks and mortar and virtual experiences, you can stand out from competitors and offer caregivers and patients a flexible way to access healthcare services. Using virtual care, online appointment booking and tools to integrate with other care providers, the modern pharmacy is an important part of every community’s pandemic response, recovery and ongoing healthcare services.
Increasing efficiencies vs. building productivity
All businesses look for ways to increase efficiency and manage costs, but one expert recommends looking instead at productivity. Speaking at PharmacyU in March of 2021, Max Beairsto of EVCOR defines the difference this way: “Efficiency is filling the same number of prescriptions at a lower cost; productivity is filling more prescriptions at the same cost.”
He recommends an approach called appointment-based management (ABM) to build productivity in the lab. Three-quarters of pharmacists look to improve workflow to free up time for professional services. Using the integrated appointment calendar as a way to organize work keeps the team busy and productive but not rushed. This means more time with patients and caregivers so you can help improve safety, medication compliance and outcomes.
By improving productivity and making sure the right team members are focusing on the right tasks, pharmacy management systems with integrated calendars, can help deliver a great patient experience from drop off to pick up.
Employees’ experience is also crucial in planning how you modernize your pharmacy. Look for applications that are easy to learn, easy to use and intuitive. Many modern systems include configurable views that let technicians and pharmacists see all touch points in the Rx process and quickly access drug and patient records. You can also set up your system to prompt employees to take specific actions at different points in the process, for example to offer an additional service at drop off, such as a medication assessment.
Eliminating manual processes and rework is key for managing costs and reducing risk. Look for a system that can support patient, prescriber and payer integration. Look for ways to eliminate fax machines and other risky paper-based processes and use a digital signature tool to support compliance. Modern pharmacies will focus on integrating as much functionality as possible, including patient- and caregiver-facing systems for appointment booking, remote orders, reminders, and virtual consultations.
Modernizing your pharmacy and retail operations can feel overwhelming and complex. Winn recommends taking a step back and assessing the problems you want to solve in your business. “Look for as much integration as possible,” she counsels. “The more that can happen inside your software the better you can deal with information overload. For example, we really like PrescribeIT because it helps us communicate efficiently with physicians so we and they can stay focused on patient outcomes.”
Some pharmacists worry that automation will take the human factor out of their business, but Beairsto says that most pharmacies that modernize keep their staff and deploy them in higher value areas, such as patient and caregiver consultations6.
The future is here
The end-to-end solutions that power modern pharmacies are available now. Over 5,000 Canadian pharmacists trust the Kroll pharmacy management system to integrate their operations, including value-added offerings, such as online appointments, and to give them a single source of truth about their business, while delivering a consistent patient experience in person and online.
Join more than 117,000 healthcare professionals across Canada who are connected via the TELUS Health eco-system.
Scott Belfer R. Ph. BSc. Phm., Senior product manager, TELUS Health
Diane Ayad, R. Ph. PharmD., Senior product manager, TELUS Health