Untether Your Bar Code Scanning Solution
Implementing a customized wireless bar code scanning solution led to an ISV’s best long-term care (LTC) pharmacy sales year ever.
When you think about pharmacies, you might think of CVS, Walgreens, or Rite Aid, but that’s not the only kind of pharmacy out there. QS/1 Data Systems (QS/1) is an ISV (independent software vendor) that develops software for smaller regional chain pharmacies, independent pharmacies, and LTC pharmacies. It’s in the latter category that QS/1 experienced significant growth in 2005. One of the primary reasons is that baby boomers (men and women born between 1946 and 1964), which comprise the largest group of people in the United States, are reaching retirement age. As a result, LTC pharmacies like QS/1’s customer in Lakeland, FL are experiencing unprecedented growth. The Lakeland pharmacy services several nursing homes in the area. “Unlike a typical retail pharmacy, which fills 200 prescriptions a day, LTC pharmacies like the one in Lakeland fill 800-plus prescriptions per day,” says James Hancock, QS/1’s LTC pharmacy sales manager. The ISV sold the pharmacy a customized pharmacy management solution called PrimeCare in 2002. PrimeCare is a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)-compliant LTC pharmacy management application that provides workflow tools, inventory management, bar code scanning, and reporting; plus, it offers multiple interfaces to assist with high-volume prescription requirements.
Bar Code Scanners, Printers Make Perfect Upsell
QS/1 noticed a trend happening with its LTC pharmacy customers that has led to many upsell opportunities. “Our customers are experiencing significant growth in prescription volume,” says Dan Gerst, manager of marketing operations at QS/1 Data Systems. “At the same time, they’re dealing with constant pressure to keep costs down.” One way QS/1 Data Systems was able to help its Lakeland LTC pharmacy customer was by adding bar code scanning and label printing functionality.
The ISV demonstrated wired and wireless bar code scanners, as well as bar code label printers using Metrologic bar code scanners and Zebra bar code label printers. Within a few minutes, QS/1 Data Systems was able to show the LTC pharmacy customer how much more quickly it could capture prescription and NDC (national drug code) information using bar codes compared with manually typing the information into a computer. Shortly after the demonstration, the ISV won the business and sold the customer four Metrologic MK9540 tethered bar code scanners, five Metrologic MK9535 wireless bar code scanners with built-in Bluetooth, and a couple of Zebra direct thermal printers. The overall solution was about $5,000.
According to Hancock, the LTC pharmacy was able to process significantly more prescriptions without adding any staff. Also, the customer is in the process of moving out of its current facility to a new facility, and QS/1 will play a big part in the move. “We’re planning to help with the physical move as well as helping the pharmacy operate more efficiently with automated pill counting and dispensing systems,” says Hancock. “We are also working with the customer to deploy automated medication packaging machines that will further automate its order fulfillment processes.” By being able to offer pharmacies a total solution that includes software, hardware, and maintenance services, QS/1 experienced record LTC pharmacy sales revenue in 2005.