When people think of retail pharmacists, what usually comes to mind is a person standing behind a counter dispensing prescriptions, sometimes discussing side-effects, or answering the occasional question from a customer. Pharmacists, however, can do much more than that, and the COVID-19 pandemic created the perfect opportunity for pharmacists to take on a more proactive role in front-line patient care.
Pharmacists, for example, are trained to interpret lab results, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), by way of the PREP Act, granted pharmacists the authority to order and administer COVID-19 tests and vaccines, as well as childhood vaccines.1 Legislators understand that retail pharmacies can play an important role in filling continuity of health care gaps, and this expanded role of retail pharmacists cements their role as crucial players on the front line of health care. While many primary care physicians were trying to keep patients out of their offices to keep them safe from contracting COVID-19, pharmacists became one of the few healthcare experts to remain readily available to the public.
These changes positively impact both clinical outcomes and revenue for community pharmacies. It also deepens relationships between patients and their local pharmacists. Large supermarket and pharmacy companies are investing in technology to enable pharmacists to have access to patient data that will better inform patient care. Companies like Kroger and Publix, for example, are also investing in technology to streamline processes giving pharmacists more time to interact with patients.2
The healthcare industry is experiencing an important transformation in care access. As pharmacies expand their scope, more care opportunities are opening up for patients, as well as valuable partnership opportunities for diagnostic laboratories…. Our strong market presence in existing and new segments will ultimately bring together complementary clinical and financial information for our customers, helping them efficiently care for patients and manage their business.
Lâle White, Chief Executive Officer, XIFIN
The added time with patients enables pharmacists to build relationships with patients and aids in better managing chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure; effectively, pharmacists become more integrated members of the care team. Collaborating with primary care physicians and forging new partnerships with payors is a goal of many successful supermarket pharmacies, helping to close gaps in care and solidify their position as healthcare destinations.
A New "Front Door" to Healthcare
XIFIN, Inc. has closely followed the changing role of pharmacies and pharmacists. In December 2021, XIFIN announced its acquisition of OmniSYS, a leading provider of technology solutions for the retail pharmacy industry. This acquisition is designed to leverage synergies between laboratories, diagnostic providers, and pharmacies. Americans have access to more than 62,000 community pharmacy locations for medication therapy management, immunizations, and walk-in patient consultations.3 OmniSYS, together with XIFIN, can take advantage of the retail pharmacy trend to become the new front door to healthcare for consumers. As XIFIN CEO Lâle White explains, “The healthcare industry is experiencing an important transformation in care access. As pharmacies expand their scope, more care opportunities are opening up for patients, as well as valuable partnership opportunities for diagnostic laboratories…. Our strong market presence in existing and new segments will ultimately bring together complementary clinical and financial information for our customers, helping them efficiently care for patients and manage their business.”
Claims data from the OmniSYS network shows a seismic shift towards pharmacy as a preferred care setting for immunizations, and over the last year, OmniSYS processed a record fifty million immunization claims across thirty thousand retail pharmacies in the U.S. and helped pharmacies provide and get reimbursed for select primary and preventative care services. XIFIN and OmniSYS together can drive closer relationships between pharmacies and diagnostic providers and bring together complementary clinical and financial information.
Learn more about this retail pharmacy trend and how XIFIN has expanded its scope to address evolving consumer demands.View Press Release
1 National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations, “COVID-19: Federal PREP Act Actions,” March 15, 2021.
2 Drug Store News, “Care and convenience: Supermarket pharmacies cement themselves as health destinations,” June 11, 2021
3 American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, “The Future of Community Pharmacy: Direct Patient Care,” Athena Ponushis and Nidhi Gandhi, Pharm.D., accessed 23 Jan. 2022