Pharmacies are complex businesses. Even a minor pharmacy in a small town has a substantial amount of responsibility and moving parts. In fact, big pharmacies and mom-and-pop pharmacies a like wouldn’t be possible today without the advent of pharmacy management systems.
The pharmacy management systems are a type of computer system, often called a pharmacy computer system. These systems are not a single piece of software but rather a unified collection of components that can be added to and removed from the system on a plug-and-play basis. An essential component of any such framework is the point-of-sale (POS) system, which is similar to the POS found in a grocery or hardware store.
A pharmacy, however, has important responsibilities that a hardware store or grocery generally does not. A pharmacy, for instance, is charged with ensuring that customers get their prescriptions precisely how they are prescribed by their doctor. Mistakes can result in loss of life. For this reasons, pharmacies seek to limit the opportunity for human error. One of the primary ways they do so is by integrating a prescription dispensing system into pharmacy management systems. A prescription dispensing system is robotic and computerized, and it ensures that the prescription is filled precisely how the doctor ordered it.
The vast majority of money that enters a pharmacy’s coffers comes from insurance companies or Medicare and Medicaid rather than directly from the customer. In this way, a pharmacy is a lot like a health organization, and pharmacy computer systems must integrate that aspect as well. After a prescription is filled, modern systems automatically process and track the insurance claim.
A pharmacy must also comply with all local, state and federal regulations. The pharmacy cannot rely on the medical professionals for compliance because there can be extenuating circumstances in play, such as two separate doctors unknowingly providing a prescription to the same client. A modern pharmacy system will automatically check any request before it is processed, and if that request is in violation of a law or regulation, it will deny it.