FRANKLIN PARK, Ill. — Supervalu Pharmacies here has designed its own unified computer system to manage the pharmacy systems in over 900 stores.
The new ARx technology is expected to be in every Supervalu pharmacy by the end of this month, Cassie Richardson, pharmacy spokeswoman for the retailer, told SN. It replaces four separate pharmacy management systems the chain was using as a result of previous mergers and acquisitions. All of the existing systems were built with “dated technology,” she said.
The system will streamline pharmacy workflow and operations across all of Supervalu's pharmacies. “But more importantly, new technologies and processes are introduced,” she said, “such as imaging [on-screen product images used for clarity during processing] and electronic prescribing, which provides a safer, more efficient method for prescription delivery.”
On the patient-service level, the ARx system is designed to provide a common platform for insurance claims reporting, business management operations, pharmacy workflow management and customer satisfaction. “ARx was developed using new technologies which allow us to respond quickly to changing compliance and regulatory needs,” Richardson added.
The implementation comes as Supervalu is working to make pharmacy a priority, Kevin Tripp, Supervalu's president of Retail Midwest, said at an investor meeting late last month. Supervalu is based in Eden Prairie, Minn.
“The megatrend in pharmacy is the aging of America,” he said. “From 2010 to 2040 the population of people over 65 will double. Not only will it have a huge impact on pharmacy, but also across retail,” he said.
Since the implementation of Medicare Part D, over 90% of Supervalu's prescriptions are paid for, in part or in full, by a third-party insurer, Tripp said. The number of seniors who can now afford medications presents a huge opportunity and underscores the importance of the retailer being able to connect instantly with insurance companies through an online system.
“It gives us the ability to keep all of our stores in a network with insurers. We can't serve customers unless we are part of an insurance network,” Tripp said.
The system itself was designed, tested and implemented by pharmacists, Richardson said.
“It applies innovative pharmacy technology to maximize workflow and medication dispensing,” he said.