Pharmacy IT tips from Accelerate Group

At Peak Strategies one of our main goals of doing these blogs is to educate pharmacy owners and provide some content that they can take away to help them run better businesses. However, there are some areas of pharmacy that we are not full bottle on. So, to cover such topics we have called upon some of our good friends who understand other areas of pharmacy.

Introducing the guest blog series where we invite other industry advisers to share some tips and tricks in relation to pharmacy.  

So, let’s begin!

A pharmacy owner would understand how important IT is when it comes to running the business.  It impacts so many facets from your pharmacy’s eftpos through to its email. Furthermore, not only does it affect a business’ day to day operations, but it changes so rapidly.  

That’s why this week we asked Don from the Accelerate Group to share some tips in relation to pharmacies and IT. Below he shares some commonly asked questions he receives from pharmacy clients.

 Donato La Rosa Managing Director of Accelerate Group

Donato La Rosa Managing Director of Accelerate Group

1. One server, two servers, three servers, four?
The reality is that every pharmacy has a server (in fact, they often have multiple). A server is a computer that distributes a service. For example, most stores will have a location for their packing database (such as Webster) - this computer is your Webster server. This logic is repeatable (DD Books, EFTPOS etc). The purpose of a large physical server is to centralise and build redundancies around the failings of smaller cheaper PCs. So, when your EFTPOS “Server” is off, you have no EFTPOS everywhere; less than ideal.

Speak to your provider to centralise these functions on a server, so that simple redundancies and disaster planning (including backup) can be considered and planned. You may already have everything you need physically, but some logical planning and review can make for a more robust store. Your provider will help you here.

2. Free Wi-Fi! Wi-For?
During our site audits we are increasingly seeing stores that have guest WIFI enabled. We suspect this is a hangover from the days when it was a must to provide customers free WIFI. Often, we see that these Public WIFI networks are being used by guests maliciously to download movies and content from illegal file sharing sites. This hogs precious bandwidth and poses a security risk. We suggest that you review the need for such technology, or at least have the tools from your provider to measure its use and effectiveness. If it is essential that you provide free WIFI for your customers, you should have the proper hardware to prevent any malicious activity.

3. How much equipment is too much?
We all want to reduce cost in pharmacy, however, over the past six years alone we have seen the average number of computers and terminals increase by around 30% per store. Most equipment is kept in store because it is still functioning. Keeping an old PC in store in case you need it is still costing you (power, anti-virus, maintenance). Keeping in mind peak times and redundancy for failures, you should question the need for, or use of, your various computers and reduce and remove unnecessary equipment where possible.

4. Swipe, Tap, Insert, Scan?!

The payment space is changing rapidly. In recent years we have seen the emergence of device payment hardware (smart phone and smart watch) further changing the way the customer expects to interact with the store. When reviewing your merchant facilities, the next trend to consider is integration with providers that offer the customer the ability to pay in instalments (AfterPay and zipPay). This is a great way to increase the basket size during the peak seasons. Depending on your store location, you may also consider foreign payment platforms such as WeChat and AliPay, which are recognisable logos to some tourists, which is important when you are competing for their dollar.

5. Keep the cogs of your business turning
There is a raft of corporate collaboration tools available. These tools help in reducing email clutter and chains. They are a great way to increase professional and social interaction between members of your team and can help in delegating tasks for ad-hoc projects (like hosting your next pharmacy event).  In addition, there are some great self-service booking systems available which can assist in resource allocations for treatment rooms, or even sales rep appointments.

Too many moving parts?

If all of this has added to the perceived complexity, it is time for a professional, pragmatic partner to create a robust and efficient network for your store. As a value add to your relationship with Peak Strategies, Accelerate are offering a complimentary audit and report up until 31st October 2018. This can be organised by calling or emailing the office – support@accgroup.com.au – 1300 537 771