Rely on Prescription Refill Automation for Improved Efficiency and Pharmacy Productivity

A late-2021 analysis by Deloitte about “the future of the pharmacy” includes what may seem to be an obvious observation, but one that still warrants repeating: “Most people don’t realize that pharmacists can perform a range of complex clinical functions around therapy optimization, not just dispense pills.”

The analysis reaches the conclusion that, while the COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity for pharmacists to increase their role in providing hands-on patient care, there was no proportionate reduction in the time required to dispense medications. In fact, the article notes, dispensing demands have only increased, as reduced reimbursement and dispensing fees, along with increased direct and indirect renumeration (DIR) fees have caused many pharmacies to actively look to increase prescription volume.

The net result has been a pharmacy workforce that, the analysis concludes, is at a crossroads, with too many responsibilities and not enough hours in the day.

Multiple media reports have focused on the impact of the pandemic on pharmacists’ workloads. An August 2022 article in The New York Times, for example, described the daily pharmacist experience as “a sleep-deprived, lunch skipping frenzy.”

The 2019 Pharmacy Workforce Survey conducted by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), conducted prior to the pandemic, found that nearly half of the typical pharmacist’s day is spent on “patient care services associated with medication dispensing.” Among independent pharmacists, the number jumps to almost 65%, and among chain pharmacists, roughly 75%.

That leaves little time for the many other tasks and services that compete for pharmacists’ time, priorities including immunizations, patient counseling, wellness services, medication therapy management, inventory management, professional development, records management, and the list goes on.

The significant amount of time spent on dispensing services also comes at a cost. According to the 2021 NCPA Digest, the typical community pharmacy dispensed 185 prescriptions per day during 2020, with a dispensing cost of $10.80 per prescription, or just under $2,000 per day.

The many priorities competing for pharmacists’ time led one pharmacy director to tell Deloitte researchers: “Pharmacists cannot survive in the current model. There is a multitude of tasks; it used to be just filling prescriptions, but now it’s also adherence, testing, and vaccination.”

Clearly, today’s pharmacists need a better way. And just in time, technology has responded. Advancements in pharmacy management solutions now make it possible to automate refill and dispensing workflows to the extent that most of the process is seamlessly managed. Processes that used to require several minutes of focused staff attention can now be accomplished in seconds, often with minimal human involvement.

The PrimeRx™ solution from Micro Merchant Systems is a good example of a comprehensive refill system. PrimeRx™ is a leading pharmacy management system that is widely regarded for its extensive capabilities and flexible, customizable features. And because of Micro Merchant Systems’ commitment to continuous improvement, PrimeRx™ is regularly updated, with new functionality added to reflect technological advancements and changing pharmacy needs.

The following discussion will highlight specific features of the PrimeRx™ system’s refill capabilities. Also included is an overview of the many benefits a pharmacy can expect from automating this critical, but time-consuming process.

Improved patient outcomes with PrimeRx™ and its portfolio of patient engagement pharmacy software tools facilitate core processes so that pharmacists’ have more time for clinical services and one-on-one patient engagement. Learn more at

Micro Merchant Systems

In a constantly evolving pharmacy landscape, Micro Merchant Systems develops software solutions that guide pharmacies with innovative technologies that change patient behaviors and industry trends to build healthier communities.

Pharmacists improve their patients’ lives daily, and we are beside them every step of the way, integrating patients, providers, payers, and caregivers through our PrimeRx platform, building and sustaining healthy communities.

With over 30 years of experience, we understand the pain points of pharmacies and provide solutions that give them the tool to succeed on their terms.