With declining dispensing revenues, service provision has become an increasingly important part of the community pharmacy business model in recent years. Yet many pharmacies are still missing out on this critical revenue source, often because they find the current limited technology options simply too unwieldy and complicated to use.
So, what are the technology constraints that are preventing Community Pharmacy from making the most of the NHS services agenda and how are we, at Cegedim helping?
The shift in funding from dispensing to services is well underway. In 2018, dispensing represented 90% of Community Pharmacy funding – by 2024, that will be cut to 80%. With the NHS funding cap of £2.6 billion until 2024 – a figure close to the value of dispensing back in 2010 – pharmacists recognise the need to expand service provision.
In addition to the £28 per patient for the New Medicines Service (NMS), pharmacists can also earn £14 per patient for the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS). Currently this service includes referrals for urgent medicines and minor illnesses. Over the next three years, new services will include CPCS Discharge, Urgent Care and A&E. By 2024, £249 million in funding will have moved to CPCS. Our research confirms that pharmacies are missing out on these opportunities despite the fact the money is there.
Low CPCS Uptake
Many pharmacists are trying hard to make the most of the financial opportunities presented but are encountering substantial hurdles, often there are issues just receiving referrals promptly, with this essential notification easily missed in a busy pharmacy. Even worse, managing multiple systems, complicated workflows and separate claiming processes can mean a service is administered but then no claim is made for payment.
This is a huge shame – because the CPCS is a great idea that not only delivers additional revenue but also taps into the incredible patient care that community pharmacy can provide. When NHS 111 and GP practices refer non urgent patients or those who need immediate supply of medicine to community pharmacy, pressure is reduced on existing primary and secondary care services and pharmacists have a chance to use their extensive and underutilised health care skills and expertise.
Our intention to support next generation CPCS
The good news is that the CPCS is changing. From 1st October 2021, pharmacists providing CPCS will need to procure their own CPCS IT system and – most importantly – they will not be restricted to the current service providers. Pharmacists can now look for a solution that positions services and dispensing side by side and provides the information they need to maximise their services revenue.
At Cegedim we are committed to making essential pharmacy workflows truly digital and therefore helping Community Pharmacy become more efficient and profitable. For busy pharmacists, CPCS must be part of the day to day running of the business – and that means the PMR must include immediate visibility of any referrals and support a simple, automated claim to ensure none of this vital revenue is missed.
With the forthcoming Pharmacy Manager CPCS module, we are making the entire process super easy. Pharmacists will be notified of the referrals within key PMR workflows, meaning they can take the appropriate action and be ready and prepared to complete the consultation on the device of their choice, including a notification to the patient’s GP surgery and the claim for the completed service.
On the rare occasion a pharmacy is unable to provide the service, they can quickly search for an alternative pharmacy and redirect the referral. Our goal is to make the entire process as seamless and intuitive as it can be.
Technology should never be a barrier – it should be an enabler. For stretched pharmacists managing a changing business model, we know that you need smart technology that can help with the transition to a business that successfully blends dispensing with services. You need technology that finally allows you to spend more time caring for patients.
This is why Cegedim is committed to delivering an exceptional, integrated and seamless clinical services solution.