There’s one big misconception about modern, digital retail pharmacy POS systems: that they’re going to eradicate the need for real-life pharmacists, and that they’re no more than pill-dispensing robots. This misconception has a lot of people worried, too, especially since pharmacy school graduation rates are at an all-time high, and more people are wondering if the pharmaceutical industry will become too full to accomodate so many young professionals. The last thing we need is for robots to take away the jobs of hard-working pharmacists, they think. If that’s what these new pharmacy POS systems are all about, let’s just stay as far away from them as possible.
Yes, new POS systems designed specifically for pharmacies are able to handle tasks that conventional POS software just can’t compete with. And yes, they are capable of handling a lot of the busy work that would normally take up a pharmacist’s time and energy. Pharmacies everywhere — independent pharmacies especially — could benefit so much from these systems.
But that doesn’t mean that the real-life pharmacist is becoming obsolete. Why?
- Pharmacy POS software is able to track prescription records and sales for each customer, but most pharmacy software programs aren’t able to predict every possible drug interaction or allergic reaction. Or, if these systems can make those predictions, they’re not always accurate. So many other factors come into play: over-the-counter medications, a person’s health and fitness levels, even a diet — and a real person is able to analyze these factors better than a computer can.
- POS systems can monitor product inventory on the front end pretty well, but when prescriptions come into play, there are usually a few different techniques necessary in order to monitor this stuff. Pharmacies are often the targets of robberies (resulting in the theft of prescriptions), and so it usually requires a mix of security features, real people who monitor customer activity, and communication with manufacturers and distributors. Monitoring drug inventory is a bit more complicated than monitoring regular product inventory, and again, it takes more than a simple computer program to manage.
- And finally, no POS system, no matter how advanced, can have face-to-face conversations with customers and provide personalized advice and product recommendations. Healthcare and medical history is a very touchy subject for many people; it wouldn’t be surprising if people felt uncomfortable entering all their health information into a computer, to be stored and kept forever. Medicine may be based on science, but the practice of medicine requires real human interactions.
This isn’t to say that high-tech digital POS systems aren’t worth the investment — they’re great, actually, and the ways in which a pharmacy could benefit from an updated system are virtually endless. But for now, it’s unlikely that pharmacists have anything to worry about (at least when it comes to a robot invasion). Refernce materials.