Waving goodbye to paper forever
Pharmacy Invoice Document Management (Part 2)
Optimised document management
So you may consider how you are going to optimise that process. We can utilise tools such as electronic document management tools, not those that can just store them but that can also dynamically extract information as well. There are document management tools available where once you have received these documents, you can either scan them in at your pharmacy or send them away in specially generated envelopes to be scanned on your behalf, and have the data extracted and placed in a secure online portal which is compliant with all Australian Tax Office (ATO) regulations and storage and privacy requirements for an indefinite amount of time. Thus that document becomes a collaborative document that can be accessed by not only you but your team, your bookkeeper and your accountant for as long as necessary – but it doesn’t stop there. That can also interface with a cloud-based accounting system.
For those who aren’t using cloud-based accounting systems yet, this is where the real efficiency comes in. In the past, accounting systems usually only existed on premises, and this meant that there was only one database. So, if someone else needed to work on it who wasn’t in your business, you would have to create a duplicate or a backup and physically hand it to them. Then you couldn’t use that database until they were done with it and you were able to merge the data back into your program. Very inefficient. A cloud-based accounting system enables everyone to work from the same database. The supplier will backup your data in multiple locations and have a data redundancy strategy in place to ensure that there is no loss. They also offer mobility access via smartphone or tablet, so that you can feel confident you have access to your finances anywhere, any time you choose. It’s incredibly powerful. The time that is then taken from invoice acceptance in your pharmacy to the end of the administration process is ultimately one or two days (when your workflow is highly efficient) – instead of seven years!
Why only a few days? Well, once the document is stored electronically in an ATO compliant repository, you no longer have to keep that physical document – the document management provider can shred it for you on your behalf. Thus, in seven years’ time when that document no longer has relevance to your business because it no longer needs to be retained, it can either be deleted from the database or it can be retained as cloud-based storage has an infinite storage capability, which is incredibly powerful. Now, we no longer need to use up our valuable pharmacy space to retain archives, or spend additional money on additional storage space, and spend additional money on secure document destruction for these documents. There’s a huge amount of time and money that we can save from this process, not to mention the confidence of knowing that this has been automated for a fixed monthly price which is potentially many, many multiples less than what we are currently paying.
This is a very good example of how technology can streamline, organise and optimise what is a very complex administrative procedure.
This is excerpted from Transpharmation: How to embrace technology to build a smarter, more successful 21st Century Pharmacy before it’s too late.., by Robert Sztar, 2014. You can buy the book here