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10 Main Features of a Pharmacy Inventory Management System

Paul Kovalenko Paul Kovalenko | June 21, 2023 | 8 min

A pharmacy inventory management system or pharmacy management software automates the prescription medication process from stocking, coding, and billing to verifying and dispensing drugs to patients. Big-box pharmacies have long figured that automating repetitive tasks and adding a personal touch to their patient-first business approach is the magic bullet. The top features of a pharmacy inventory management system enable pharmacies to control medicine stock, prescribe over-the-counter medicines, automate drug delivery, reduce errors, and ensure patient satisfaction. 

This article is for those who want to build a custom pharma inventory management software or already have one but want to add more functionality to it. Here, we’ll explain the essential pharmacy inventory management system features and how each one can help you breach your pharma management loopholes. 

What is a Pharmacy Inventory Management System?

A pharmacy inventory management system is a software system that automatically tracks medicine stocks, expired items, drug deliveries, and e-prescriptions, thereby enhancing operational productivity and multi-location support, as well as reducing the risk of overstocking and missed opportunities. It monitors drug availability at every point of your supply chain — from purchasing to dispensing to restocking, and the cycle continues. 

Traditional inventory processes in pharmacies, which involve manually checking medicine stocks, only work for small drug stores. As your pharmacy grows, it quickly becomes time-consuming, inefficient, and prone to errors. 

Benefits of Pharmacy Inventory Management Software

Key benefits of automated pharmacy inventory management software include:

1. Manage Stocks Effectively

Inventory management in pharmacy gives you a real-time view of your stock levels. Synchronizing your PMR system with an EPOS system or other inventory software automatically updates inventory levels as medications leave your shelves. This helps you analyze sale rates and adjust your stock levels so that popular items are always available.

2. Identify and Reduce Expired Items

Expired items, otherwise known as dead stock, are generated to a large extent by uncollected repeat prescriptions. Using a pharmacy drug inventory management system helps to return items to your system before they expire.

3. Streamline Lot Tracking of Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medicines

Keeping track of the inventory’s production and expiry date is a must for pharmacies that want to profit while benefiting their customers and comply with all the regulations. Essential components of a pharmacy inventory management system are identifying, locating, and even removing batches of medications.

4. Identify Sale Trends and Patterns

Similar to other businesses, pharmacies worth their onion can predict future sales projections based on past trends. This is possible thanks to the various tracking and analytical functions of an efficient pharmacy inventory management system. For instance, it’s wise to stock up before the seasonal demand spikes for cold, flu, and respiratory infection medications in winter and autumn.

5. Easily Spot Shrinkage

Gone are the days of spotting shrinkage only after a thorough manual stocktake. Modern pharmacy information systems automate the audit process by comparing inventory reports and sold/prescribed items with physical stock.

6. Identify and Flag Up High-Risk Medicine

Identifying high-risk medicines is one of the key functions of a pharmacy inventory system. It’s not recommended to keep large stocks of such drugs that are in low demand, costly, and/or have a short storage life. Instead, you can monitor them and order refills without stocking them in large quantities. 

10 Essential Features of a Pharmacy Inventory Management System

1. Electronic Prescription

Prescription errors are one of the top 5 healthcare errors, with the FDA reporting more than 100,000 cases yearly. The e-prescription pharmacy inventory management system functionality can eliminate this problem by providing a user-friendly option for patients and healthcare providers. Based on Electronic Health Records (EHRs), this feature eliminates confusing paperwork and facilitates rapid dispensing of the right drug. Plus, it allows pharma stores to manage medications, improve productivity, and ensure patients’ satisfaction.

2. Automated SMS Messages and Alerts

The automated inventory system pharmacy operates in a way that allows pharmacies to schedule reminders and send alerts to patients before their prescribed medications run out. This feature helps pharmacists to get feedback from patients and fosters a personalized engagement between them.

3. Expiry Control

As a leading inventory problem pharmacies face, expiry control is one of the key features of automated pharmacy inventory control systems. Pharmacies no longer have to shoulder huge losses from expired medicines and medical products. With the expiry control feature, they can keep track of expiry dates and only sell items based on a first-in, first-out strategy.

4. Stock Re-Order Management

Striking a balance between re-order and supply is critical to keeping important medications in stock. This is where the stock re-order management feature of pharmacy inventory management software comes into play. It provides a clear picture of how products are selling, which are in low demand, and which will be out of stock soon. Knowing this helps pharmacies to set a minimum stock level, indicating when it’s time to place an order for new supplies.

5. Centralized Database and Backup

Organizing patient data in a central database makes retrieval as easy as pie. The backup and restore feature of pharmacy inventory management schedules automate data backup to prevent sudden data loss. 

6. Data Reporting and Analytics

The pharmaceutical inventory management software functionality is incomplete without its data reporting and analytics feature that subserves the following:

  • Generates data-driven reports about the standard prerequisite of drugs and their wholesale performance.
  • Automatically manages drug inventory with details about ROI, sales, and other business metrics.
  • Takes full stock of products and calculates re-order points based on product and category.
  • Customizes reports to identify marketing insights, budgeting roadmaps, and suspicious patterns.

7. Real-Time Multi-Store and Multi-Location Synchronization 

Pharmacies with more than one storefront or location can take advantage of the synchronization feature of pharmacy retail software to manage data and stocks across all sales points. This works by prompting electronic transmission and data exchange on returns, sales, supplies, and revenue. Pharmacy dispense software that flaunts this feature usually provides comprehensive reports in a central database.  

8. Data Integration with Third-Party Software at Scale

Integrating the pharmacy inventory management software with third-party software is especially important for mid-to-enterprise pharmacies operating at scale. It’s possible to integrate the software with an EHR/EMR system, prescription drug monitoring programs, point of sale software, interactive voice response, DHL, and even medical insurance verification software.

9. Compliance and Regulatory Feature

Unless you are running a pill mill, your pharmacy should be operated in accordance with both federal and state laws. Some specific regulations pharmacies should consider are: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Inventory, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regulations, and others. Inventory management helps pharmacies play by the books, with the latest security measures and compliance in place, while ensuring the smooth handling of business activities. 

10. Customer Support System 

The primary goal of every pharmacy should be patient satisfaction. Integrating a customer support system (CMS) is one of the core requirements of pharmacy inventory management software. This user-friendly feature records and manages patient data, responses, and feedback. It also automatically updates patients’ lists and is ideal for controlling patient treatment.

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Reasons to Create a Custom Pharmacy Inventory Management Software vs. Ready-Made Solutions 

Pharmacy inventory management software can be purchased right off the box, but it works best when tweaked and customized for each pharmacy. In fact, custom pharmacy inventory management software is a wise choice for pharmacies that have specific requirements, are planning to upscale, or never used pharmacy inventory software before. 

Here are reasons to create a custom pharmacy inventory management:

✅ Tailor Your Pharmacy Software Solution to Your Needs

Instead of settling for existing products that don’t tick all your boxes, it’s best to get a custom solution with integrations and UX tailored to your pharmacy. This promotes scalability and reduces technical errors. 

✅ Set Your Pharmacy Apart From Competitors

Pharmacies can use inventory data and built-in reporting features of custom pharmacy inventory management software to forecast future trends and identify potential opportunities. 

✅ Seamless Integrations with Existing Software

If you already have third-party software, integrating its data with already-made inventory software can be chaotic, especially for pharmacists with no IT background. You’ll require the expertise of a pharma software developer who will help you transmit your existing data.

✅ Get a Custom-Made Tech Solution to Cater for Different Pharmacies 

Tech startups that implement inventory management software for different pharmacies require a custom solution. Using their knowledge of the ins and outs of the pharma industry, they can develop a standard, valuable solution that can suit many clients. 

Consider Langate as Your Trusted Partner 

At Langate, we’ve been building complex software solutions for different companies, including Pharma and healthcare brands, since the early 2000s. We will run an audit and determine what your pharmacy needs to cater for present-day patients. We also stand by the “do no harm” mantra of the Hippocratic oath, so customer satisfaction is at the heart of our software development strategy. Contact us now to learn more about our services.

Conclusion

Pharmacy inventory management software is an essential part of running a pharmacy anywhere in the world. Expiry control, stock management, and other key features help you keep track of your pharmaceutical inventory and stay ahead of the curve. However, getting suitable software for your pharmacy will require research and technical know-how. The good news is that we at Langate have the necessary knowledge and expertise on how to create such solutions, and we will gladly share it with you. Let’s build your custom pharmacy software together.

Frequently Asked Questions

What modules should an inventory management system for pharmacies include?

Depending on individual needs, a pharmacy inventory management system should include e-prescriptions, expiry management, re-order management, and many more.

What pro-features should be created in a hospital pharmacy inventory management system for higher effectiveness?

Some additional features that should be in a hospital or pharmacy inventory management system include automated messaging and notification, data analysis, multi-store synchronization, and customer support.

When do you need a pharmacy inventory management system?

Tell-tale signs that you need a drug inventory management system are: 

  • you can’t keep track of stocks; 
  • you are constantly dealing with expired drugs; 
  • your customers are always complaining about the lack of drugs; 
  • you can’t predict medicine demands accurately.

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