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pharmacy ivr systems

Choosing the best IVR system for your pharmacy.

What is an IVR?

IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response. Usually when you request a refill over the phone you are interacting with an IVR. However an IVR is much more than just an auto-attendant when it comes to pharmacy.

IVR Vendors

There are different options when it comes to IVR services. Each vendor offers different packages and pricing. Choosing the right IVR vendor is key because they are expensive investments in your business.

IVR Systems Explained

Everyone at one point in their lives has interacted with an IVR system. For example: When you call your cable company because your internet is out. The IVR prompts you to press 1 for billing, press 2 for tech support etc.. that is an IVR system. Pharmacies use those as well for a number of good reasons.

Simply, an IVR is an automated system that interacts with callers to gather information and then route or forward the call to the correct destination. For example: When a patient is handed a compounded prescription to be filled they usually have to go to a new pharmacy, if their a chain customer. This customer has never heard of your pharmacy so when the patient calls the pharmacy for store hours and directions they are prompted to press 3. The IVR is programmed when user presses 3 to state the pharmacy address and store hours and talk to a staff member press 0.

IVR and VOIP (Voice over IP)

Traditional phone systems have been around a long time and they have their place in the pharmacy world. But the state of IVR systems and phone systems are quickly changing thanks to VOIP and cloud technologies. More and more IVR systems/companies are heading towards a bundled service where they offer VOIP (Voice over IP) phone service with the IVR. These IVR companies are trying to increase their revenue by also being your phone company.  This is good and bad for the pharmacy owner. Usually with bundled services you get a discount with the IVR service. However these services are tied together for example: If the IVR service is having an issue the phone service will likely be effected.

Still have questions about IVR? Learn more about IVR’s in our Learning Center or contact us. We would be glad to help answer any questions you have about choosing an IVR system for your pharmacy.

Why do you need an IVR?

IVR systems offer a wide range of benefits including refills and transfers. Instead of having to talk to a staff member the patient or doctor can request the refill or transfer from following the prompts when they call into the pharmacy. That refill or transfer request then goes directly into the pharmacy system’s inbound que and waiting to be filled.  This allows the patient to request refills or transfers 24/7 during or after hours.

Below are some additional benefits to an IVR system:

Outbound patient messaging – Automatically inform patients via text their prescription is ready for pickup, time to refill or that flu shots are now in with a marketing blast done via the IVR!

Uninterrupted workflow – Let the IVR handle the calls and requests. Allow your staff to continue their workflow and minimize the manual refill requests. 

Mobile app and website refills – Some IVR companies will create a custom mobile app to your pharmacy that patients can download on the app store to request refills, set medication reminders and more.

Advanced level reporting – Get an idea of your call volume, refill requests, call duration, call hangups and more.

Check RX status – Patients can check their RX status by interacting with the IVR to see which step of workflow their prescription is currently in.

Survey patients – IVR can contact patients to ensure their contact info and preferred method of contact is up to date.

Refills 24/7

Patients and prescribers can request refills after or during phamracy hours that go directly into the pharmacy system.

Patient Messaging

Automatically notify patients when to pick up prescriptions. Wish them happy birthday or let them know flu shots are now available via text!

Doctor Line

Dedicated line for doctors to reach the pharmacist directly or leave a voicemail on the doctor only voicemail.

Mobile App

Get a CUSTOM pharmacy app with your pharmacy name and your pharmacy colors. Allow patients to set medication reminders and more!

IVR Vendors

There are different IVR system vendors and some are better than others. Pharmacy IVR systems are usually expensive so be ready for a hefty price tag either up front or per month. Most IVR vendors will charge you an upfront license or install fee as well.

Remember to make sure your phone system and pharmacy system is compatible with whatever IVR system you go with. Some IVR companies integrate much better with certain pharmacy systems. For example AIS IVR  and VOW IVR integrate very well with PioneerRx.  Check out which of the major pharmacy systems integrate with which IVR system here.

 

Need more pharmacy IT help? Check out our Tech Learning Center

Pharmacy Systems

Each pharmacy system has their own chosen IVR vendors that they choose to work with. The IVR systems picks an interface provided by the pharmacy system and that is how the two systems communicate back and forth.

Again some IVR systems work much better than others. The integration features are usually where the vendors differ. For example: Some IVR systems allow direct chat messages inside the pharmacy system. The staff member never has to leave the pharmacy system application and can chat while still in workflow. 

We recommend checking with your pharmacy system to see which IVR system they recommend. However be careful because the pharmacy system might have an incentive to sign you up with their preferred vendor. Do your research and ask around before you make a choice on your IVR investment. 

 

List of Retail Pharmacy Systems and their IVR partners

Best RXlink to compatible ivr systems

ComputerRX link to compatible ivr systems

EnterpriseRX / Pharmaservlink to compatible ivr systems

HBSlink to compatible ivr systems

QS1link to compatible ivr systems

PioneerRX – link to compatible ivr systems

PrimeRX link to compatible ivr systems

RX30 link to compatible ivr systems

 

 

 

Need help choosing an IVR system for your pharmacy? Let us help.

IVR systems with AI (Artificial Intelligence)

IVR systems are slowing changing thanks to AI in 2019. AI is helping proactively reach patients based on interaction and data gathered. For example: When it is time for a patient refill, the IVR interacts with the pharmacy system data to send an automatic text notification to the patient to remind them about their refill. This helps with patient adherence and maximizing the refill opportunity for the pharmacy.

New technology is allowing AI to work with speech recognition software that can actually understand what the caller is saying while also detecting their level of stress. If a patient or doctor is detected at a high volume of stress the IVR can automatically transfer the call to a staff member.

The future with AI

The future of AI isn’t with voice recognition but instead with visual. In the near future IVR companies will be able to prompt patients with a visual menu when the pharmacy number is dialed and displayed on their phone. A menu with a number of options including: take a photo of their pill bottle to request the refill. Send the pharmacy address to their navigation app on their phone. See photos of the pharmacy and pharmacist. All of this can be accomplished with a AI and visual IVRs.

Self-service is the future of IVR and IVR companies are looking to give patients a better fit for their personal needs.  To learn more about AI and how it works with IVR you can read more at GENESYS they are leading the way with the future of IVR development. However, currently no pharmacy IVR company offers “Visual IVR” services, but it’s just a matter of time before the pharmacy ivr companies adapt these new technologies. 

What to ask the IVR company

We recommend asking for demos from at least 2 or 3 IVR companies that integrate with your pharmacy system. This way you can see exactly what your buying. You will see the product first hand and ask questions you may have regarding the IVR system being offered.

Some questions to ask IVR system:

  • What are your support hours and what if I have an issue on the weekend?
  • Do you offer mobile development?
  • What phone system does your IVR system integrate with?
  • How is your relationship with my pharmacy system? Do you have a lot of customers on my pharmacy system using your IVR solution?
  • My patients like to hear familair voices, can I do custom greetings and messages?
  • Will you help me if I need to create an outbound marketing campaign using the IVR?

The final decision

As we mentioned earlier an IVR is a costly investment into your pharmacy business. However it also is a must-have investment in any pharmacy. Your patients and prescribers expect a pharmacy to have IVR technology for 24/7 access to the pharmacy. Your staff will appreciate the reduction of phone calls coming into the pharmacy and this frees them up to focus on their workflow.

The automation features of an IVR alone makes the investment worth it in the long run. No longer does a staff member have to call the patient to notify them their prescription is ready. Leverage the power of an IVR for your pharmacy today!

Need more IVR info? Check out our other IVR page here or contact us!