When Wayne Drug — a retail pharmacy based in Syracuse, NY — decided to expand into the long-term care (LTC) arena, technology was an important issue.
At first, the new company — Harbor Pharmacy — tried a wholesaler’s product provided to them free of charge.
However, Harbor Pharmacy’s owner James Branshaw quickly saw the software was inadequate and turned to QS/1®’s PrimeCare® Pharmacy Management System for LTC pharmacies.
Branshaw’s father, who owns and operates Wayne Drug, had used QS/1’s retail software and services for years. “So we brought QS/1 in and started operations in 2004,” Branshaw said.
The company started with one facility — a 159-bed assisted-living facility — and today services 25 facilities with close to 3,000 beds.
In addition to using QS/1’s PrimeCare, Harbor Pharmacy also uses a number of QS/1 products to manage its operations, including WebConnect®, a web-based tool that provides facility customers secure and easy access to patient medication information.
Using a tablet, smartphone or workstation with internet access, WebConnect provides LTC facilities with convenient access to order refills and enables staff to review patient information, check drug interactions and print reports and MARS — whether from the nurses’ station or at the patient’s bedside.
Harbor Pharmacy’s facility customers use WebConnect to perform a range of tasks, including ordering refills, processing credits or returning medication. They also use it to process and complete such forms as Active Medication, Medication Discharge, Leave of Absence or Medication Reconciliation Sheets, Branshaw said.
Having this technology has helped Harbor Pharmacy market itself, Branshaw said. “It’s proof that we have the technology that the larger chains have (and) can compete with them,” he said.
Branshaw said the reporting abilities that QS/1’s technology provides has been one of its strongest advantages.
When not managing the day-to-day business of a closed-door LTC pharmacy, Branshaw said he tries to stay on top of such concerns as reimbursements, regulatory affairs, keeping customers happy and staying relevant. And with QS/1 in his corner, Harbor Pharmacy is able to juggle it all. “From the reimbursement aspect, QS/1’s reporting is fantastic,” he said.
The system provides full access to all of the data, Branshaw said, and what’s more, he is able to retrieve exactly the data he needs. “Reporting has definitely been the strong point," he said. "With some other vendors, it was canned reports only. With QS/1, I can really get into the detail and pick out just the pieces I need. That’s been extremely helpful.”
When it comes to regulatory affairs and keeping up with state requirements, QS/1’s technology provides pharmacists with a level of confidence sorely needed in today’s increasingly complicated marketplace.
Electronic prescribing — required of all prescriptions in the state of New York — is an area where QS/1 has made all the difference, Branshaw said, as pharmacies everywhere have been transitioning from the old ways of processing scripts — using paper, fax and telephone — to a totally electronic method.
“It’s comforting knowing that I’m not the only one they’re addressing in the state of New York. They’ve got other pharmacies as well,” Branshaw said. “And they’ve got the power behind the company to really make some change happen in the software.”
“In the beginning, as with any transition, it was difficult,” Branshaw said. “However, the QS/1 product made it pretty easy to transition.”
When it comes to recommending QS/1, Branshaw said he would first tell another LTC pharmacy owner about PrimeCare’s Workflow.
“The Workflow is fantastic,” he said. “The reporting is amazing. You’re able to control the system how you want to, instead of the system being run one particular way. It allows you to get very granular.”
QS/1’s range of interfaces has meant Harbor Pharmacy can go after contracts in the LTC arena with a high degree of confidence knowing they are able to satisfy any requirements the facility may have or be able to integrate seamlessly with their operations.
“The interfaces with the different vendors have been critical. Every facility we have has their own idea of what software works best for them. And they’ll pick a different electronic medical record. QS/1 having this robust Interfaces department allows us to say, ‘Yes, we can take you on as a customer and we’ll support that.’
“Being able to not be handcuffed into a certain number of interfaces or having to wait for these interfaces to be built and developed — it’s been fantastic,” Branshaw said, adding that they have to be ready to respond when a new facility comes calling within a matter of months.
“We don’t have years to wait,” he said. “We cultivate them. These contracts are three to five years long, but when they say it’s time and they’ve decided on us, we’ve got to be able to satisfy their requirements and be able to fully integrate with that facility.”
“It’s not a paper-based system anymore,” Branshaw said. “It’s electronic-based now, so we’ve got to be able to do that, and I think the Interfaces department at QS/1 does a tremendous job (with that).”
Branshaw said he’d also give PrimeCare’s support team high marks.
“The PrimeCare support staff is fantastic, hands down,” he said. “I love the support that they can give me, and they’re really quick on the resolution component.”
In fact, Branshaw credits QS/1 with helping Harbor Pharmacy achieve success. “I know that we wouldn’t have experienced the growth that we’ve experienced over the past 10 years without QS/1 right there beside us,” he said, adding that many times QS/1 staff worked alongside his staff to engage and secure the LTC facility’s business.
“My colleagues at QS/1 (would) be on the phone with me working with the other software companies and the facility, our potential or existing client, and they were right there to guide us along the way,” he said. “They would even help out the other companies that might be having difficulty integrating all four components together — the client, the software, QS/1 and then my pharmacy. They’ve been fantastic.”