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April 12, 2019

Using Technology to Drive Personalized Service for Happier Patients and Staff

When James Dean, director of Information Technology for Hi-School Pharmacy, a chain of pharmacies in the Pacific Northwest, wanted to get rid of archaic fax systems and evolve the communications solutions within the 20-location group, he looked no further than Updox. He couldn’t pass up the opportunity to eliminate fax and associated costs for paper, toner, shredding and phone lines. With Updox, he also saw that he could add engagement solutions like SMS Text or a patient portal.

For background, Hi-School Pharmacy got their name from the first location being located across the street from a high school in Vancouver, WA, in 1925. Pharmacy stores are also known for having hardware stores located within the pharmacy. To date, Hi-School Pharmacy has 20 locations in Oregon and Washington, as well as approximately 200 affiliate pharmacies across five northwestern states.

 “I was initially looking for a way to get rid of fax machines in our pharmacies. They are antiquated, expensive and a way of the past,” says James. “When we saw what Updox offered, we were intrigued and the platform also came with many other services we could use, including a portal, SMS text and other ways to encourage engagement and drive business for our pharmacies.”

 Choosing Updox was easy but James wondered how involved it would be to 20 locations to the collaboration platform. Turns out that was pretty streamlined as well.

“Getting started with Updox was great. We had one Updox associate with us from start to finish and having that single point of contact was vital to successful implementation,” says James. After getting the main office online, Updox worked to get a few locations each week up to speed until it was in place across the chain. Updox was onsite to provide training and onboarding for the first two stores and the rest of the stores used internal IT staff and Updox-led online training sessions.

Change is always hard and it can be challenging to trade in older, well-known processes to trust something new but James said that once pharmacists and staff saw Updox in action and how much time it could save them, they were hooked on how fast they could receive, process and act upon communications. Not only were the pharmacies able to get rid of their fax machines, they also were able to save their costs for paper and toner. Each location is saving at minimum $40 per month and some save significantly more based on how many fax lines were converted.

The move to Updox also offered up additional communications channels for Hi-School Pharmacy locations.

 Tricia Dean, a pharmacy technician for Woodland Hi-School Pharmacy in Woodland, Wash., uses SMS Text from Updox within the pharmacy. Staff primarily use it to send texts that prescriptions are ready for pick up and Tricia says staff and customers embraced the idea of texting.

“Patients love it. They send a thumbs up emoji or OK reply. It’s a fun tool but also valuable communication and helps us build a good rapport with our patients,” she says. Patients also have the ability to reply with a question about pharmacy hours or special instructions.

“As a small, community pharmacy, we rely on offering personalized service to our customers,” says Tricia. “They might be shopping in the grocery outlet or hardware store attached to the pharmacy and like getting that text that their prescription is ready. They welcome the convenience and that makes us happy.”

 Saving money while benefitting from happier customers and staff? That’s a definite thumbs up!

Topics: Updox Insights, Success Stories, Pharmacy, Pharmacists, communication, productivity, health-systems, engagement, pharmacies