Leveraging the Power of Big Data in Community Pharmacies

September 16, 2016
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Big Data has been helping all sorts of companies to gain efficiencies, save money, and provide better service to their customers.  This leveraging of large data sets allows a company to reveal patterns and trends that were previously either hidden or expensive to identify.  In the past several years, Big Data has found its way into the healthcare industry, and now both your local pharmacy and its customers are reaping the benefits.  Here are several ways that community pharmacies are leveraging the power of Big Data.

Big Data has been helping all sorts of companies to gain efficiencies, save money, and provide better service to their customers.  This leveraging of large data sets allows a company to reveal patterns and trends that were previously either hidden or expensive to identify.  In the past several years, Big Data has found its way into the healthcare industry, and now both your local pharmacy and its customers are reaping the benefits.  Here are several ways that community pharmacies are leveraging the power of Big Data.

pharmacy smartphone and big data

Improved Patient Care

The primary goal of most reputable healthcare organizations is to deliver the best patient care possible, and your community pharmacy is no different.  Now, Big Data not only provides information about customer trends as an entire class, but it can also deliver detailed information that helps improve levels of patient intimacy. 

Pharmacists are trusted by patients as an integral part of the healthcare process, and Big Data provides the tools for pharmacists to forge even closer and more personal relationships with each patient. For example, pharmacies can use data to help patients find additional savings and better integrate coverage plans.  Data can also be used to make suggestions on supplements, diet, drug education, and even drug adherence.

Targeted Marketing to Customers

One of the areas that Big Data excels at is in helping companies to better market to their customers.  In the community pharmacy, stores have access to data that provides not only vital health and wellness information but also purchasing preferences.  This data can be used to deliver coupons and special offers to customers.  Where does most of this data originate?  Today, many pharmacies are leveraging their point-of-sale systems to bring them this valuable customer information.

POS Processing Systems

POS systems handle millions of transactions each year, and the data points that are captured in these systems are a marketer’s dream.  These systems are created to be the most convenient for the customer, while still providing a wealth of information to the business.  The data itself that can be leveraged for such things as better customer service, which will inherently lead to a significant boost in revenue.

The processing power and capabilities of POS systems is impressive. During a recent trial at a Microsoft facility in Silicon Valley, one leading pharmacy POS system processed “147,000 transactions per hour when tested on a medium-size enterprise-class server.”  This kind of versatile system allows the management of several stores, promotional maintenance, customer loyalty tracking, custom reporting, and real-time inventory tracking.

Improved Inventory Control

Inventory control is important in any business but, when a patient’s health or life depends on obtaining their medication on time, it becomes crucial in a community pharmacy.  Big Data and POS processing systems allow businesses to more accurately track and manage inventory so that disruptions don’t occur. 

Big Data allows stores to place amalgamated orders to effectively feature bulk buys and special pricing offers.  Big Data allows patterns and trends to be identified quickly that may have an impact on your store’s inventory levels.  For example, a flu epidemic or a rash of allergy flare-ups are going to deplete certain medications quickly, and a well-designed system can identify these emerging trends before they become a crisis.

Taking care of customers is the goal of most any business, but the healthcare industry literally manages the well-being of its clientele.  Big Data is making it possible for the community pharmacy to deliver a higher standard of care by leveraging a wealth of actionable information.