For years the independent pharmacy industry has been plagued by the growing trend of the big-box retailer. One after another community pharmacies closed their doors, no longer able to compete with the buying power these large chains command. Struggling to survive, pharmacies started branching out, offering specialized services and products not found in the average big-chain pharmacy.
Today, community pharmacy continues to push the envelope, coming up with new and inventive ways to utilize their frequent patient access to improve health while expanding their reach into the healthcare market. This is how community pharmacies innovate.
With each new function performed, pharmacies require a new tool – a way to report, a method of organization, a way to work their new function into their existing workflow. As your pharmacy software partner, it’s important that we innovate to provide you with the tools you need to perform these functions.
But what really makes a pharmacy software partner innovative?
I took this question to the CRx Development Team and here’s what they had to say:
CRx Developers Tell What Makes a Software Company Innovative
Luke, CRx Software Development Project Manager
“It starts with the ability to adapt. Software has to consistently change as the needs of the business change. Yet, significant and/or frequent change can be burdensome to end users, so the trick is consistently keeping software up to date while keeping the user experience similar to what they’re used to in their everyday lives.”
The pharmacy market is constantly changing. New regulations are imposed and frequently altered. New pressures fall to the pharmacy from payers and other healthcare professionals. To help your pharmacy succeed your pharmacy software partner must embrace these changes and adapt quickly to provide you with the tools to overcome these obstacles.
Stephen, CRx Software Developer
"Finding those unmet needs and implementing software to fill those needs. I personally develop software to better the lives of everyday people with technology. But what I honestly believe makes ANY software company innovative is the courage to change.
"Change is a very scary thing. Learning to use new technology can sometimes be frustrating and demotivating, but we can’t let that stop us from moving forward. Every feature, release, or hotfix will not be gold, but listening to our customers and learning together is the best way to innovate software."
Stephen says it well when he says that change is a scary thing. Even change for the better can be met with opposition when first proposed. Most people associate change with risk and risk with the possibility of failure. However, without change and risk your pharmacy cannot adapt. So, pharmacies and pharmacy software vendors must find the courage to embrace change and the risk that comes with it to truly experience innovation.
Elliott, CRx Software Engineer III
"Constantly paying attention to the industry and the direction it is taking. This is achieved by gathering feedback from customers and being aware of upcoming changes in the industry. By doing this a company can release exciting and beneficial features ahead of the game."
To innovate you must be aware of the struggles that your customers face, including the current struggles they experience with your system, and you must be aware of the market. Without this awareness, you could have a great looking, modern product that is a complete and total disaster because it fails to fulfill the needs and ease the struggles your customers face.
Ryan, Project Manager
“Innovation requires the introduction of new ideas. In the pharmacy industry most of those ideas are closely tied to patient management. What can the pharmacy software company do to make it easier for pharmacies to manage the relationship they have with their patients? If that question is being asked, innovation will have a chance of coming to fruition."
Ideas are the product of awareness. Once you’re aware of the struggles your customers face, you can take questions like the one Ryan posed above to your team and brainstorm ideas to help them overcome these obstacles.
Marshall, Product Manager
"Innovation is a balance of making small tweaks to technology to improve workflow and re-thinking entire approaches to the industry needs."
The real art of innovation is balance. It’s the different between knowing when a few small tweaks to a current process is a better path to take than rethinking and redesigning a tool and vice versa. The other four things that create innovation lend heavily to this final principle. Your awareness is going to determine whether your ideas lead to tweak or overhaul. When circumstances warrant an overhaul it obviously takes a lot more courage to push out an update of that size rather than small fix. However, you must overcome that to adapt to your customers’ needs. So, somewhere in all of this you have to find a balance that will work for you, your team, and your customers.
These are just a handful of the attributes that make a pharmacy software partner innovative. Can you think of any other characteristics you would look for in an innovative software company? Please share your responses in the comments!
Also, check out this video to learn more about Computer-Rx and the path leading us to innovation from our President, Lauren Warkentine.