IVR Services in the Pharmacy World

IVR (interactive voice response) systems are a must-have in most pharmacies. However many people think of an IVR as just an auto-attendant when you call the pharmacy to request a refill. There are many other benefits to an ivr for pharmacies including:

  • Provides 24/7 access to the pharmacy
  • Great marketing tool for inbound and outbound communications (ex. send “Flu Shots Now Available” texts automatically to patients)
  • All refills should go directly into the pharmacy software system, if yours prints out on a printer, fax machine or e-mail contact us.
  • Patients can see/hear real-time status of their prescriptions.
  • Cuts down on phone calls to your staff – quieter work environment – Increases pharmacy workflow efficiency.
  • Notify patients when their prescription is ready automatically by phone, text or e-mail.
  • Integrates with your website and your pharmacy mobile app

Lets go over what exactly is an IVR? How does an IVR work in pharmacy?

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems are what you hear when you call into a pharmacy and present the caller with a menu of options. For example press 1 for a refill, press 2 for hours and directions,  press 3 for doctors wanting to leave a voicemail etc… IVR systems usually integrate directly with the pharmacy system and can pull and input data into the pharmacy system automatically. An IVR works in 3 different tiers for a pharmacy lets take a look:

Inbound communication – When a patient or calls the pharmacy the IVR will pick up the call and give the caller a few options — Refill Rx, Hours, Direction, Doctor Voicemail and more.

Outbound communication – This notifies patients via phone/text/e-mail when an Rx is ready for pickup and can also be used for marketing purposes. Example – Texting all customers to let them know your pharmacy now has flu shots available.

Cloud communication – Cloud is referring to online services such as pharmacy mobile app development where patients can requests refills via your pharmacy app in the Google Play and Apple App store. This also provides refills on your website.

Still don’t understand how an IVR works? No problem, take a look at our visual element of an IVR system here.

Why your pharmacy needs an IVR.

Every pharmacy should have an IVR system to provide access to the pharmacy for refills 24/7. Some owners do not like having patients listen to an auto-attendant when they call in and that makes sense – you can disable the IVR during working hours. However your pharmacy is competing against other independents and chains that have this technology and patients as well as prescribers expect this type of service from a pharmacy. Also consider the amount of time saved by your staff from having to manually input refill requests. With an IVR the refill request should go directly into the inbound que and waiting to be filled.

Using the IVR for outbound and inbound marketing.

The IVR system is a great tool for marketing and it is also very cost effective. For example: when your patients have a birthday you can have the IVR automatically send them a “Happy Birthday” text. Perhaps your pharmacy wants to promote your 10 year anniversary – your IVR can send out a text or call blast that targets your customers to tell them about your special event.

Are all IVR providers the same? Are some better than others?

There are many IVR providers to choose from however only a few stand out to us. We have worked with over 10 different IVR services and we only recommend a few IVR vendors to our clients. There are some very poor IVR vendors out there with bad support and terrible stability. We have heard of pharmacies missing calls and wrong numbers dialed by certain IVR services.

Many pharmacy systems are recommending these very poor IVR vendors to their customers. We recommend you do your research on each IVR company and ask around about their service before you sign up. Most of the IVR vendors will offer a demo of their product and that is your chance to ask questions, ask for references, and see the software for yourself. Contact us if you have questions about choosing an IVR for your pharmacy.

Can I use any IVR service in my pharmacy?

Choosing the right IVR system depends on how you plan to use the IVR, your budget and your pharmacy system. Most pharmacy systems only work with certain IVR providers, check with your pharmacy system to see which systems integrate. You will want full integration from an IVR service, if the IVR service can only print or e-mail refill requests instead of going directly into the workflow que you should look for another IVR provider.

IVR systems are not cheap but they are well worth the hefty price tag.

Most IVR systems are very costly investments for pharmacies. You can expect to pay upfront for the license and install of the IVR software while also paying a monthly fee of $45-$200/mo.


Looking for more info on IVR system for pharmacies? Check out Deciding on an IVR system.

ConfigRX specializes in IVR systems and have installed over 50 IVR systems in pharmacies across the country. Our start a pharmacy package as well as our buy a pharmacy audit includes our IVR service. Contact us if you have questions about an IVR service for your pharmacy.