A happy pharmacist uses a touchpad and desktop PC while working in a pharmacy.
Best practices

Online Checkout vs. In-Store Transactions: A Comparison

March 21, 2024

For independent pharmacy owners, we often hear that the favorite, and most impactful, part of their days is when they get to truly interact with and advise patients. 

And what about the things that pharmacists and techs really don’t like doing, like manual data entry, playing phone tag, and entering payment information during checkout? Recent polling has found that they’re all contributing to a growing sense of burnout — 75% of pharmacists disagreed with the statement, “Sufficient time is allocated for me to safely perform patient care/clinical duties.”

Luckily, there’s new technology and automated solutions that can enable pharmacists to focus more on 1:1 patient care. Let’s examine just how different your day could be when leveraging online checkout at your pharmacy.

How Online Checkout Impacts Wait Times

A bustling, well-loved community pharmacy is bound to have a ton of customers coming and going to get their prescriptions and pick up new health and wellness products over the counter. Having a high volume of patients is fantastic, but if you’re not giving them multiple options for checkout, you might deal with overcrowding, long wait times, and overwhelmed staff. This can be especially hard on patients pressed for time or those who can’t stand for long periods.

Alternatively, with online checkout a large portion of patients can be served most of the way digitally! They would’ve ordered their refill, paid for it, signed, and were notified once the prescription was ready for pickup. Then all that’s left to do is a short wait in the pickup line and time well spent consulting with the pharmacist on staff about adherence, reactions, and other important information.

How Online Checkout Impacts Your Admin Workload

When checking out patients in person it's true that you get to spend that time face-to-face… it just might not be in the way your staff wants. After waiting in line, you’ll then need to enter in information manually, take payment, and go through the steps needed to capture their signature — which all amounts to more time spent doing tedious administrative tasks and less truly giving care.

With online checkout, your staff won’t be tied up completing these same tasks over and over. That might mean you can allocate more of your staff off the register and have them do important tasks around your pharmacy — like filling prescriptions, walking the floor to answer questions about OTCS, and conducting consultations.

How Online Checkout Impacts the Patient Care Experience 

Almost every part of the patient care experience can be improved through using online checkout as a tool for your pharmacy. Patients are able to request refills as needed, pay on their own time, and even browse and add OTCs to their orders long after your business hours. This flexibility is fantastic for busy patients who can’t spend long picking up.

What’s most exciting about online checkout for independent pharmacies is the time it frees up and the space it leaves for you to get more creative with how you’re delivering care for patients. Less stressed workers with long lines to serve means they can have the mental capacity and time to answer patients’ questions, provide advice, and maybe even just catch up! And rather than having staff tied up on registers they can spend their days coming up with new community care initiatives, conducting consultations, pursuing continued education, and thinking up new exciting ideas for your practice.

The bottom line is that online checkout isn’t here to take away the in-person experience that only your pharmacy can provide — it’s here to enhance it. If you’re curious about how you can bring online checkout to your pharmacy, speak with one of our experts, today.

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