In this episode of Pharmacy View – technology in Pharmacy podcast series, Scott invites Richard Lennon to share some of the technology best practices he has implemented at Davey Street Discount Pharmacy, the independent Pharmacy he co-founded in Hobart, Tasmania. He calls his homegrown strategy “Automagic,” a term he coined to describe a variety of platforms that make his pharmacies’ daily operations smoother and easier across the board — from doctors’ offices, Aged Care facilities, customers and his own staff.
Richard and the rest of the team at Davey Street pharmacies view themselves as integral to their customers’ community fabric, dispensing not only medicine but also value, convenience and advice. Technology plays a key role in accomplishing that core mission. There are a range of “automagic” solutions to streamline operations and free up pharmacy staff both in the back office and out where it counts most, with their customers.
Perhaps the pharmacist’s biggest daily challenge is managing the flow of prescriptions where a large chunk rely on fax technology to transmit prescription requests and many doctors’ offices have gone to email. Either way, it can add up to inbox chaos. Richard recommends deploying a tool to help automatically sort incoming correspondence, which can then be “filed” in Dropbox, Google Drive or some other online storage site. In particular he touches on Zapier and IFTT (If This, Then That), a tool that coordinates among web apps and automate workflow. Incoming prescriptions are quickly generated as pdfs that are time- and date-stamped for easy sorting and indexing. They can be organized by name or status and irrelevant spam can be sifted and diverted. It streamlines the clunky fax process and as a bonus offers an earth-friendly reduction in paper waste.
In this episode, Scott also does a deep dive with Richard to understand where Davey Street Discount Pharmacy has been and hopes to go in the eCommerce space. Initially their presence was static, their website mostly a basic placeholder with a bit of store information and perhaps some helpful resources. He had begun experimenting with Storbie, an eCommerce platform that fully integrates with office operations, but it was a soft launch. Covid19 changed all of that. Suddenly being able to coordinate and execute online orders became a critical service, so Richard and his team accelerated adoption. They use Storbie to manage all facets of the operation – keeping stock on hand and updated minute-to-minute, pricing fully integrated and communication seamlessly synced between their website and the bricks-and-mortar store. Above all, the objective is to ensure that what the customer orders online is ready to go on the other end, at pickup.
Throughout the course of pandemic, offering customers the option to “click and collect” went from being a nice convenience to an essential service. In addition to keeping inventory databases clean and accurate, “automagic” technology has also helped optimize many back-office functions at Davey Street. Richard loves the functionality that Deputy, a scheduling and spreadsheet management app, has to offer. It automates myriad managerial tasks such as rosters and onboarding new staff. Say goodbye to unwieldy spreadsheets!
Scott extended the eCommerce conversation by sharing two pieces of advice with regard to cultivating a healthy online presence: He counsels pharmacists he works with to Google both themselves and their businesses “to see what customers are seeing.” He also recommends designating a staff member to monitor not only things like brand reputation and search optimization but also to ensure that eCommerce operations are running smoothly. With the advent of Covid19, businesses have become ever more responsive to online orders – with many pharmacies now striving to reach a two-hour window for transactions, from placing an online order to pickup at a bricks-and-mortar location.
Scott and Richard wrap up their exchange by looking ahead to some of the new interfaces and tools available to create the optimal experience for doctors, Pharmacies and customers alike. “It’s a big change in workflow for Pharmacies as this all fully rolls out and paper starts to trail off,” says Richard, whose “automagic” innovations have made Davey Street Discount Pharmacy among those blazing the trail ahead.
- Richard shares a bit about his background and Davey Street Discount Pharmacy.
- An introduction to “Automagic Tech” – his way of thinking about processes and how to streamline via tech solutions.
- Zapier, IFTTT (If This, Then That) and other tools for optimizing both business (and even some personal) tasks and workflows.
- Prioritizing apps to support life functions that are most important to you.
- Richard’s insights on eCommerce and the importance of having an online presence.
- The nuts and bolts of how to manage eCommerce logistically.
- The importance of Googling yourself and your pharmacy as well as detailing someone to manage your eCommerce and online presence.
- Replacing spreadsheets with new technology that facilitates rosters, onboarding of new employees, payroll and training.
- “(Automagic tech) is just a great way of organizing and making the whole process more efficient.” (8:43)
- “Obviously you’ve got to be careful with security and that element of things.” (10:45)
- “One of the issues and concerns I always had as a small, independent pharmacy was, ‘How do you manage the stock on-hand across two databases?” (15:30)
- “For us our website was originally about an extension of our brand … but it had no eCommerce element to it. It was really just information-based.” (16:12)
- “eCommerce in general is about complementing the bricks and mortar pharmacy and those personal relationships that are still very critical.” (25:04)
- “If you don’t have that online presence you’re just going to be missed off the radar.” (25:29)
- “It’s a massive change in workflow for pharmacies going from prescription paper in a basket to digital queues.” (34:50)
Social Media Clips:
- (9:30-10:30) The power of using tags to label and sort incoming prescription requests.
- (10:45-11:25) Being mindful of security concerns.
- (15:30 – 18:15 ) Transitioning into an eCommerce model to expand online presence and manage the logistics.
- The importance of keeping clean databases as critical to eCommerce platform’s success (19:49-20:12)
- The power of Googling yourself and your pharmacy to understand the profile your customers are seeing. (20:44-20:38)
- Managing and growing your all-important online eCommerce experience. (23:21-25:38)
- Leveraging the Deputy platform to manage scheduling, payroll and other back-office functions. (27:30-29:15)
- eScript system’s rollout, including convenience as well as challenges. (30:00-32.32)
Zapier website: www.zapier.com
IFTTT website: www.ifttt.com
Storbie website: https://www.storbie.com/au/pharmacy
Contact Richard Lennon:
Pharmacy View Sponsors/Contacts:
Website contact: www.pharmacyview.com.au
Scott Carpenter: www.linkedin.com/in/scottcarpenter-evbc
Shopfront Solutions: https://shopfrontsolutions.com.au
Aerion Technologies: https://aerion.com.au