Pharmacy PMR Systems
The Patient Medication Record (PMR) world has long awaited revolution. Is the solution (and the revolution) finally here?

 

PMR Systems – A critical analysis

A PMR system determines the Quality of Life of a pharmacy team.  You don’t want something you use so frequently giving you headaches. But it isn’t just your experience that improves with a good PMR. Your patients’ experience is dependent on a system that enables both communication and efficient service. As we discussed in our guide to choosing an online payment provider, with increasing competition on prescriptions, customer experience is paramount to retaining their business.

The whole EPS system works better for patients, but there is a world of potential for PMR’s to grow into to improve customer experience. With big automated giants like Amazon Pharmacy wading into the prescriptions market, you can be damned sure they’ll have the best system in place for prescriptions. The focus on clinical services is pivotal. Your PMR should both freeing up Pharmacists’ time and making patients’ lives easier.

Industry-Leading Pharmacy PMR Systems in the UK

All the providers we’ll look at in this article are “industry-leading”, using their own words. So, it isn’t really clear who the industry leader is. Or what they even mean when they say that. Is industry leading the best? Or is it the first to be released? Hopefully, our guide will provide direction and a bit of clarity with what you can expect from each provider. We’ll update this guide routinely so it’s always a useful source for you when you need it.

Don’t forget, you can bookmark this page into your browser by heading to Settings > Bookmarks > Add this Tab.

Does any PMR System fit a modern pharmacy?

The name Patient Medication Record shows the focus of PMR systems. And this way of thinking, along with a lack of cutting-edge competition, held back PMR development (and pharmacies) for some time. You’re undeniably reliant on prescriptions as a baseline to your business and require a system to manage that. But the historic reality of PMR systems was no matter how good they are at managing medication, they’re focused on – and therefore limited to – managing medication. As a business, when your infrastructure is limited, so is the service you’re able to offer. If you want to grow (or you’re forced into it by ever-decreasing prescription margins) into something more than a dispensing pharmacy, you’ll naturally need more from the system you’re using.

There’s an issue with complaining about PMR’s when thinking about the system that a modern pharmacy needs. The intuitive thing to do is to think of what already exists and try to make it better, but that’s like trying to make a plane and starting with a car. You can slap a pair of wings on a car, but it’s going to take you a lot longer to make it fly than it would if you just started from scratch and designed a plane.

via GIPHY

Think about designing a system from scratch to manage your patients now. How would it function? What is it capable of doing? Understanding that the focus of a modern pharmacy is now multi-dimensional, the chances are you wouldn’t even call it a Patient Medication Record System, but a Patient Management System. (Or a Patient Integrated Care System, if only for the abbreviation PICS)

With all that in mind, what’s the best existing PMR system on the market?

Which PMR System does the best job?

Whilst no system is perfect for every pharmacy (one size rarely fits all), which existing provider comes closest to ticking all the boxes you want?

The five PMR systems we’ll review all offer unique elements to improve your working life. However, there are unique aspects to each system making each more appealing to some pharmacy owners than others. We’ll also include the company’s own video (where available) to give them a chance to speak for themselves.

Please note: As of this publication, we are not affiliated with any PMR System provider and this has been written with no bias whatsoever. It is for information purposes and comprises of what we know when doing our research into them on a top-level, some feedback we’ve naturally been given from our clients and the experience our CEO has had in using some of the systems as a pharmacist himself. We are by no means indicating one is better over the other and it’s up to you to decide which will be right for your particular business. Furthermore, these PMR systems are in no order of priority and numbered randomly. 

1. Invatech – Titan PMR

The Titan PMR from Invatech was created in 2016 by their CEO Tariq Muhammed to remedy some of the headaches he’d faced when running his pharmacy group. You can tell its creator has experience running a business, as it addresses a lot of business headaches. It’s a PMR, but crafted with business management in mind.

An immediately striking element of Titan is it’s clearly created to be used by anyone. One of the biggest issues in any business adopting new technology is “buy-in” from the staff, and the training needed to get them using it effectively.

Titan’s system undoubtedly reflects modern software expectations. Anyone familiar with using a smartphone will find the system intuitive.

The Titan system has individual logins that are completely customisable for the users too. This means that your pharmacy technician and Superintendent Pharmacist can work with information and functions that make sense to their job role, whilst working from the same system

The genius behind Titan’s PMR is that it brings in modern business solutions, such as the ability to monitor individual performances such as completion rates and mistakes. This allows for detailed performance analysis and gives good insights into where training is required.  On the topic of training, the system has an inbuilt guide/tour of how to use its functions – so face-to-face training isn’t required. However, it’s important that staff understand the full functionality of what’s available to them. Quickly skipping through the tutorials will lead to inefficiencies down the line.

Integrations

It integrates, unsurprisingly, with Invatech’s Care Home Management system, Atlas PCS. If you already work with Atlas, it makes sense to adopt Titan too in the same way if you have an Apple or Microsoft laptop you’re better off with the same make of phone. The compatibility outweighs so many other pros and cons.

However, Invatech claim Titan PMR should be able to integrate with any healthcare app created using approved structures. This relies on other healthcare apps being built in the right way. So there might not be a raft of apps you can immediately integrate with, but it’s certainly future-proof.

Titan’s USP

Where it gets really exciting with Titan PMR though, is the “building blocks” approach to a tailored system. As much as one size can never fit all, this building blocks feature allows you to create different models of PMR for different models of pharmacy. As such, with a bit of time investment, you can mould your PMR system to your exact business model. Their claim “if you can imagine it, Titan can probably do it.”

A new player in the PMR market, Titan PMR has reimagined what PMRs should be. Whilst it might not be the complete package just yet, that might only be because other healthcare applications need to catch up to the level of integration that Titan can offer.

Titan’s offering is focused on helping Independent Community Pharmacies, mainly as that’s CEO Tariq Muhammed’s vision. “Leaving good pharmacists to do great services,” is the mantra behind his foray into technology in the pharmacy industry. So, provided you’re an Independent Community Pharmacy, Titan could well be the PMR for you.

Cool features
  • Integratable API – Allows for integration with other systems
  • Forward-Thinking/Future-Proof – The reason for Titan’s creation was a frustration with the existing systems. As long as Titan doesn’t become the very thing it set out to beat, it looks like a strong horse to hitch your wagon to. The way it’s designed stands it in good stead for the future.
  • Building Blocks Model allows you to model your system on your pharmacy model, rather than try and fit one to the other.
  • Flexible Support Channels including WhatsApp – Customer service is obviously a huge factor. Whilst we can’t attest to the service provided, the flexibility to speak to people is a good sign.
Considerations
  • Only recently released. With other more established PMR’s, it’s easier to find and read the experiences of people like you with reviews and testimonials online. Whilst there’s no telling if there are user issues, you’d be an early adopter at this stage, and therefore open to potential teething issues and bugs. It’s also unclear what the customer service is like. However, their eMAR product Atlas has positive Trustpilot reviews.

Find out more about the Titan PMR system on their website

 

2. Cegedim Rx

Cegedim Rx is already a big player in the PMR world when it comes to Medication Management. But the big advantage – the name. Pharmacy Manager. Not just the name, obviously. (Though it does sound like a fun computer game.) The benefit is more in how Cegedim Rx views Pharmacy Manager. Which is to say, they also view it as something that should reflect the whole of Pharmacy, including the incorporation of delivering services.

Switching PMR systems can be an administrative pain, so if you’re looking to switch to a new provider, it’s worth thinking about the future as well as the present. What’s the company’s vision for their PMR offering? Does their vision match up to your strategy as a pharmacy?

User Feedback

Cegedim Rx appears keen to listen to feedback from their users, and understand the direction Pharmacy as an industry is headed to develop their product into one that works for its users.

This is taken from the Cegedim Rx website:

We have embedded our commitment into a product experience goal that commits to delivering products and solutions that precisely match our customer’s needs, enhance the UK healthcare systems, and facilitate improvements in patient care and outcomes.

It’s promising to see both pharmacies and patients involved in product development.

Interface

Aesthetically, the Cegedim Rx is great to look at, having undergone a facelift in a recent update.

The dashboard design is useful, with a useful colour-coding alert system to prioritise tasks. It has good links to NHS services, including the prescription tracker and NHS mail within Pharmacy Manager, meaning find out what stage prescriptions are at without having to leave your PMR.

We know that Cegedim have big plans to advance Pharmacy Manager even further so in terms of innovation, they are helping community pharmacy evolve in its operations. This is a strong feature of the PMR and the company as a whole.

Integrations

As mentioned, Pharmacy Manager is integrated with the NHS Prescription Tracker, which makes handling customer calls a breeze, as you’ll always know exactly where a prescription is up to.

If getting and giving great customer service is your main priority, Cegedim might be your best option.

Cool features
  • User Interface – With a focus on making sure you never forget anything ever again by making the important things visible.
  • Reliability – Cegedim Rx support is widely praised for their communications and the system held up even during the Pandemic.
  • Updates – Cegedim Rx are constantly listening to customer feedback and improving the system with updates which improves the issues that people want fixed.
Considerations
  • Consider the functionality of this PMR and compare it to other PMRs. Does it have the required variety of spec to do what you want to do in the pharmacy?

Check out Pharmacy Manager on Cegedim Rx’s website

 

3. Rx Web

Rx Web divides people more than pineapple on pizzas. Whichever way you slice it, (#PizzaPunIntended) Rx Web is a forward-thinking solution. But can they deliver? (end of pizza puns)

Cloud-based

A cloud-based platform enabling access from any PC or terminal instantly is a smart solution for pharmacies with more than one branch, or even just a large pharmacy with lots of terminals.

Cloud-based is so much better for so many reasons – there’s a reason Microsoft & Apple use it.

Imagine your pharmacy was broken into and your IT equipment was stolen. On the cloud, your data is still safe and accessible. Storing your data on your hardware isn’t secure.

Multiple pharmacies under the same umbrella? Working from the cloud makes it as though you’re working as one. Instead of your teams working in isolated branches, the cloud is a tree to connect them all. This means if you have a branch that’s busier than another, the one that isn’t as busy can be taking the prescription workload off the busy branch. Not only that, but the prescriptions will appear to be coming from the pharmacy they were ordered from. From the consumer’s perspective, it’s seamless.

Features

Rx Web gets a lot of praise for its range of features, even from its critics. It even includes some Clinical Service support, though the list of supported services is limited to basic services like MURs, Flu Jabs, and Health Checks.

It also integrates with Care Home systems and its features around Care Homes specifically are quite extensive.

Whilst it’s great that they offer patient communications, and even give you 200 free texts per month, but it feels like 200 free texts won’t get you very far. Meaning there’s almost certainly additional costs in there if you wanted to truly use this system. They also, bafflingly, offer fax functionality with this. I don’t know how many of your customers have a fax machine sat at home. But perhaps you’re a pharmacy set in the ’80s. If you are, look no further. Rx Web has fax support.

Price

Trying to get exact prices from PMR companies is a tricky task, especially as they often range based on individual needs. However, Rx Web has a reputation as the cheapest on the market, so if reducing your outgoings is your main priority, Rx Web might be your first port of call. We believe they only charge per pharmacy, so even if you have 10 terminals in your pharmacy, you pay once.

Reliability

Where Rx Web seems to fall down is on its system’s integrity. Whilst some users report no issues, there are a lot of negative comments around Rx Web’s ability to run properly at busy times, suggesting their server isn’t big enough to cope. The technical support also receives mixed reviews. Their contract claims to be simple, but there are reviews that claim there is also no cooling off period. So simple it might be, but make sure you check what you’re signing up to. All things considered, it looks like a bit of a lottery when you sign up with Rx Web. You might be a big winner, but you might be a big loser.

Depends if you like pineapple on your pizza, I guess.

Cool features
  • Low Fees – Users often remark on Rx Web being the cheapest on the market
  • Features – Especially considering the price point, Rx Web provides a lot of bang for your buck.
Considerations
  • Server unreliability is concerning – though apparently, the servers are better now than they were.
  • Ranging reviews on Customer Service implies it depends who you get through to on the day.

Check out Rx Web’s website for more details on its features

 

ProScript Connect

ProScript’s reputation is that they’re the best PMR system, but also the most expensive. Logically, that makes sense. If something frees up more of your time, it’s more valuable. But how exactly does ProScript Connect do this? And does it stand up to the new kid on the block?

This video isn’t a promotional video, and it’s four years old. But it’s the only thing available and might give you some idea of what to expect with ProScript Connect.

Works even when your broadband goes down

With even the best internet prone to disconnect for no discernable reason, the idea that your PMR system (and effectively with it,  your ability to do prescriptions) is tied to such whims is less than ideal, to say the least. ProScript’s “Constant Connect” automatically connects you to your NHS network via a 3G/4G connection in the event of a broadband failure. Pretty useful, if things like working are important in your pharmacy.

Clinical Services Provisions

Helpfully, there aren’t specifications for exactly which PGDs are covered, but that suggests you could feasibly assume that all PGD’s are included. The fact that there’s a Service Hub included does make ProScript Connect a really useful engine if you’re big on clinical services.

Wide Range of Features

Many of the benefits of ProScript come through the many modules they’ve developed as a part of the software, as above. Without going through them all one by one, it’s safe to say that each one is useful and thought through.

Communications wise it’s the same as many other providers, where you are able to send email or text notifications to patients…but again, what we’d really love is the option to text message back. Whilst it’s not imperative for prescriptions, communicating whether a patient needs to cancel or rearrange an appointment is valuable automation that just isn’t catered for at present.

Multi-tasking

It seems simple, but the ability to open tabs and work with different windows is useful. It makes so much sense in fact, that it makes any system where you can’t do that, look a bit silly.

Interoperability

Does ProScript Connect play well with others? Integrations are a big feature of what ProScript is aiming to do, with a big focus on linking with NHS systems like GP Connect & SystmOne. It uses SNOMED CT, which is required now by all NHS systems and enables information to be shared accurately without duplicitous re-entry by hand.

They also have an open API, so any third-party apps can build their apps to work with ProScript. (whether or not they do that will be down to the third-parties). But it’s certainly a plus point from ProScript. Integrations are so important for saving time on tedious admin tasks.

Cool features
  • Integrations – With a focus on working well with NHS systems, there’s no doubt that ProScript plays well with other applications you might have or want.
  • 3G/4G connection to cover internet failure is a big win.
  • Tabs! I get they aren’t the tidiest, but tabs are so useful to work with.
Considerations
  • Cost – ProScript is high-end, which means paying high-end prices. But you get what you pay for in life.

See more details of Proscript Connect’s modules on the EMIS website

 

Positive Solutions

Positive Solutions isn’t just a PMR provider. Although their PMR system is a solid standalone offering, what probably makes them the right option for you is if you’re interested in their Integrated Pharmacy Solution. It’s a fairly comprehensive solution including an ePoS system that completely integrates with your PMR. They offer other products like Analyst Head Office, which gives analysis on things like retail sales, profits, dispensing volumes across pharmacies, etc. Or Analyst Handout, demonstrated in the video below, which takes the power of your PMR into mobile terminals.

 

 

 

Switching PMR systems can be an administrative pain, so if you’re looking to switch to a new provider, it’s worth thinking about the future as well as the present. What’s the company’s vision for their PMR offering? Does their vision match up to your strategy as a pharmacy?

No Dispensing Downtime

Just like ProScript, Positive Solutions understand the frustrations with system downtime on a PMR, and provide 3G coverage if and when your broadband fails.

Incorporates Delivery Mates into your PMR

Your driver simply scans all the prescription bag label barcodes with the eDelivery app and the app does everything else.

Maps the best route with all traffic information for the driver and this includes keeping your patient informed of estimated delivery times. A dashboard in the pharmacy gives you all the information you need. It’s especially useful managing volunteers, proving you have a robust system to protect against fraud.

Extensive training

Most PMR suppliers tend to opt for either face-to-face training or online training. Positive Solutions have both. Face-to-face training upon installation, and an eLearning platform for training whenever it’s needed.

Integrates with your Robots

If you’ve got a robot or an automated collection point, Analyst PMR can be synced up with them so there’s no gap in your workflow.

Cool features
  • Services Functionality – With a focus on making sure you never forget anything ever again by making the important things visible.
  • Good All-Rounder – Positive Solutions provides almost all the benefits and features other providers offer. Sometimes not as good, but at least the functionality is there.
  • Reliable Customer Service – With instant responses during working hours, so if something goes wrong it can get looked at straightaway.
  • Reports – Included in the price, unlike with some PMRs.
Considerations
  • Some of the extra products in their ecosystem appear to come as standard in other PMR packages.

Check out Analyst PMR on Positive Solutions’ website

So which is the best PMR for your pharmacy?

That’s the golden question. Which one is right for your pharmacy business? 

It depends on how your business operates but we think the following are major reasons to influence your decision:

  • Customer service – Stuff goes wrong. It’s inevitable. The PMR record will not load or the system my go down. And making sure that the PMR company are responsive and accessible is key. If providers have limited access or don’t get back to you, simply avoid them.
  • User reviews – Does the company have social proofing? What do your colleagues say about them? Word of mouth goes a long way but if they are actively generating reviews online, this is a very good indication to go with them.
  • Integration – Does the software integrate with other third-party providers? Or is the software totally inflexible? If providers aren’t collaborating with other companies or their software/hardware does not integrate with other solutions, you’re limiting yourself.
  • Innovation – If when having a demo of the PMR provider, the user interface still looks like that from Windows 95,  it may be a sign that the company lacks forward vision. Is the PMR provider using cloud-based or hybrid solutions, modern interfaces and state of the art software and hardware? If yes, then this is a green light.
  • Time-saving – The ultimate limiting factor for a pharmacist today is time. Will the provider will save you time in your operations and streamline workflow? This is an extremely important factor. More time = less admin = more room to develop and grow your business.

Have you been using a particular PMR system for your pharmacy? Finding a solution useful or poor? We’d love to hear from you.

If you’re looking for help in selecting the PMR for your pharmacy, please get in touch with us. Our Director, Saam, is a pharmacist of 15+ years, accompanied by the fact that we speak to literally 100’s of pharmacists every week using a variety of different PMR solutions, we’re in the know.


Want to stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest ways of growing your pharmacy business? Subscribe to our newsletter for regular updates, including articles like this one. Be sure to check your email for confirmation and always check our Privacy Policy before signing up.