The Evolving Pharmacy Payments LandscapeMarch 06, 2023
The payments industry is a complex ecosystem. Alone, the ecosystem is comprised of five critical stakeholders, each being a million dollars in their own right. Take the payments industry and couple it with the pharmacy ecosystem and you have an intricate and convoluted web of key players and their connected relationships.
In this web, every stakeholder has their own individual goal, but as a whole, the goal of a pharmacy in relation to the payments industry is to provide a simple, modern payment solution that ensures a high standard of patient care.
If you work in a pharmacy, you know firsthand that collecting payment for prescriptions can be both complicated and sometimes archaic in nature - but it doesn’t have to be.
Based on our 20+ years of experience working with pharmacies from major outpatient pharmacies to small independent operations, we have honed in on the most common pain points our customers face as it pertains to payments:
Pain Point 1: Our pharmacy is the last stop a patient must make before they can leave the hospital. We want their experience in our pharmacy to be painless, but we often experience large patient volumes causing long wait times and unsatisfactory experiences.
In a pharmacy, time is of the essence. An excellent customer experience starts with prompt and flexible patient care. When a patient steps foot in the pharmacy to pick up their prescriptions, the differentiator between long and short wait times and positive and negative experiences can come down to the prescription payment process that takes place at the point of sale. Opportunities to provide better patient care and drastically improve wait times fall within an optimized POS to PMS integration and flexibility in the payments process and counseling workflows.
Patient needs will vary drastically across pharmacies. A variety of payment methods and retrieval methods will be requested. A flexible POS with options for custom configuration is crucial in fulfilling patients’ payment needs in the pharmacy. Similar to payments, every pharmacy looks different, creating the need for counseling workflows to be flexible as well. A POS that supports asynchronous counseling workflows, bedside delivery applications, line-busting functionality, and extensive payment options are just a few of the advantageous offerings that reduce patient wait times and improve the overall customer experience with flexible offerings.
In addition, patient payments and counseling are heavily reliant on a pharmacy management system. The integration between the POS and the PMS should be an enabler in the pharmacy, not a weak point. The integration must ensure that patient data is not only accessible between systems but safe and secure in a manner that maximizes patient care and reduces wait times.
Pain Point 2: Our patients are reliant on a pharmacist or a brick-and-mortar pharmacy in order to pay for their prescriptions. Our pharmacy is therefore reliant on hardware: a physical point of sale and a credit card device in order to accept payment for a prescription but devices are unreliable and complicated to manage. We are unable to provide more modern payment services that our customers experience with other retailers they know and love.
Due to the complexity of the industry and compliance regulations, pharmacies have not been given the resources they need to modernize their checkout experience. If we hear one common thread across all of our customers, it is the need for a digital payment offering. When patients are reliant on a pharmacist to complete their transactions, we see pharmacies being pulled into numerous operations that are difficult to manage: fulfilling mail orders across disjointed systems, operating a meds-to-beds program, and having dedicated call centers just to collect payment for specialty pharmacy customers.
In 2023, Emporos is excited to bring a digital payment offering to the market that allows patients to pay for their medication from a browser on a mobile device or laptop without the direct assistance of a pharmacist or brick-and-mortar pharmacy. These solutions reduce the need for managing and operating revenue-detracting expenses such as credit card readers all while allowing for greater prescription revenue capture through increased payment flexibility. Our aim is to modernize the pharmacy payments space in a way that helps pharmacies refocus their efforts on what matters most: providing excellent patient care.
Pain Point 3: As we continue to grow the pharmacy, payment security is critical. We want to ensure we are doing everything we can for our business and ensure our patients that their payments are secure.
Pharmacies are quickly evolving to stay up to date with the current payment security standards. We are seeing heightened attention to ensuring that devices are P2PE encrypted and that secure tokens are being utilized to replace sensitive payment data. Additionally, there is the desire to partner with providers that simplify PCI DSS certifications, with reduced costs and lead times.
At Emporos we realize just how important secure payment data is and we have dedicated teams to stay ahead of the changing payments landscape. This year, we are focusing substantial attention on securing our software to protect our customers and their patients from fraudulent activity and data breaches. We will be following the latest security standards in the payments industry and working to achieve a Level 1 Service Provider PCI DSS Certification on the newest 4.0 version. Reducing PCI scope for our customers in pursuit of making our payments experience safe and simple for all parties involved is our aim in 2023.