5 Hot Spots and the Questions YOU Should Be Asking Your System Vendors Today (Part II)

By
Harvey Brofman
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When we last left off (5 Hot Spots… – Part I), I mentioned that I had received an email whose theme and questions resonated for pharmacy and other healthcare providers as well.  Here’s more from my discussion with Point of Care Systems Director of Customer Experience to talk about these important questions.

Security, Many Questions

Security is relative.Pharmacy Security Remember when viruses that concerned you were only found in people? Those were the good ol’ days. Today,  digital threats come at you from every angle.  Is my data secure? Is it backed up and safe in the event of system failure or local disaster? Don’t ignore threats, treat them as vulnerabilities and address them. Does your pharmacy have a crisis management team? Does your network company? Do you even have a network company or is it your brother-in-law? Do you get both sets of services from one company?

Today, many pharmacies have different vendors for these services. How well do they interact? Which one is the impediment to more effective security?

For brief info on cyber threats and pharmacy, here’s an old Drug Topics Post Protect your pharmacy against cyber and physical attacks.

For a more in-depth read, see Cybersecurity: How to Protect Your Pharmacy From a Cyberattack. There are some good tips towards the end of that second article. Look for “Quick tips to protect your pharmacy” and “Cybersecurity: A 5-step process” near the end of that article.

What’s downtime look like? What sites are my employees logging on to? Should we even allow internet browsing on our business machines if it has no direct effect on business? These are questions worth considering and posing to your hardware support team and/or network administrator.  We take every precaution in developing and delivering from secure environments, but the threats are ever evolving so you have to stay diligent.

Enough about your business/practice for a second, What about your vendor? What vulnerabilities are inherent to their business and the technology used to build and deploy their systems? How safe and accessible is the underlying program code? How could access and data be misused by forces internal and external to their organization which could affect you?

Future Readiness

Preparedness - Are You Ready?Future Readiness acknowledges that the future is always on the horizon. Will your pharmacy be able to embrace it, or resist? Is the resistance level due to your own choice or forced upon you by your vendor choices? Can your vendor’s system handle the technologies and conditions of the future? We’ve scored pretty well here, some of my earliest design work from 30 years ago is still in use today.

In some regards it seems pharmacy is a very consistent environment, not subject to dramatic change, at least not abruptly. Yet, when you drill down to the details, it is actually a very dynamic industry with many factors effecting change. Technology. State and Federal government policy and regulation, and mechanization as examples. Inter-connectivity of disparate system to deliver services is another.

Even your patients behave differently than they did 5 years ago – more engaged in their healthcare, their health choices, more attentive, demanding of a higher level of service. You’ll want to partner with vendors aware of, or better yet ahead of these changes – providing you the business smarts and tools you need, not just to survive – but to excel in this dynamic industry.

Final Thoughts ….

I have always considered my companies in the healthcare space as healthcare companies, not computer companies. There is an anal-retentive focus on customer experience directly and downstream.  You can’t just do that, you have to be it. I write and post about this all the time. All too-often, we find ourselves conditioned to dismiss a disappointing service experience. I’ve asked many why and often the feeling expressed is that there is nothing they can do about it. In your own business, you can start by asking the right questions. We must be careful, the results can be habit forming.

Click Here for More (Vital Statistics, Development Efficiency) in Part I

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