Amber: Hi welcome to BusinessMakers USA, brought to you by Insperity, inspiring business performance. Today we’re coming to you from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Welcome to the show Lauren Warkentine of ComputerRX.
Lauren: Thank you for having me, absolutely.
Amber: So Lauren, what is ComputerRX?
Lauren: ComputerRX is a pharmacy management system. We provide technology to serve independent pharmacies all across the nation and we basically manage their business from dispensing through inventory to patient management.
Amber: So it’s not just point of sale, it’s everything.
Lauren: It’s everything. We do have a point of sale, but it’s the full suite.
Amber: Tell me more about independent pharmacies.
Lauren: We do not serve Walgreens, CVS, Walmart; we serve your local community pharmacies. You’re grocery store pharmacies possibly, but we’re serving the people that are local in your community that are entrepreneurs, are really focusing on the community in more of a healthcare big picture, not just big chain.
Amber: What does that mean exactly, more healthcare?
Lauren: Typically these people are pharmacists, like most pharmacists, that want to really impact their community and obviously a lot of that is focused on health because that’s their area of expertise. So they’re going to get into chronic care patients, they’ll service anyone for basic pharmacy needs, but they’re going to really focus on trying to impact what in the industry they call the very sick patients or the chronically ill patients that other pharmacies or doctors can’t seem to get health. And they’ll really focus on the whole patient, whether it’s supplements, diet and prescriptions. They’re very holistic; pharmacists aren’t necessarily just about pills, they’re about health.
Amber: So you were also talking about a lot of these independent pharmacies are in rural markets; how does that affect your product?
Lauren: There’ll be independent pharmacies all over in big cities, but they do especially well in smaller cities and rural markets. It really affects our product in that we have the ability to give them access. They have the ability to have access to patients that the big boxes don’t necessarily have access to or that need healthcare more so than even in the big cities. But they’re all over big metropolitan areas, they’re just less prominent than they are in a smaller, rural area. They’re typically much more embedded in the community in a smaller town.
Amber: What does that mean for ComputerRX? I mean as far as your identity and how you approach your clients.
Lauren: We are passionate at Computer RX about providing those pharmacies a partnership and so we can give them the technology and the tools they need to help their patients. So our mission is to partner with community pharmacies to improve their patients’ health. That’s everything we strive to do. As the market has shifted in healthcare – we’ll say rural America, but everywhere – the focus is more on clinical and actual health outcomes, not necessarily just efficiency of prescriptions, which is what it was previously.
And so for us it shifted our innovation towards clinical and towards figuring out how to maximize the pharmacy’s time so they have time to run the efficiency of a business because that still matters so they can be profitable, but be able to offer these other services and give these patients extra care. So it really drives everything we do from our innovation to even how we educate them and train them as that partner that they lean on.
Amber: And it makes me think too these local pharmacies, or independent pharmacies, sound like they’re a much larger extension of the healthcare system than one that you just drive through and you pick it up and you’re done.
Lauren: Absolutely, they very much are an extension. There’s even a big push within our industry, in pharmacy, for them to be recognized that way. In most of the healthcare world they’re not recognized as that extension.
Amber: Not at all, at least the public perception.
Lauren: And even within the healthcare industry they’re not looked at tot eh true provider level that they are. In a lot of places pharmacies are providing healthcare to patients and they’re not being paid for it; so they’re doing it just because they care about the patients and they want them to get help. It’s a huge factor; the walls are starting to be broken down, pharmacists are starting to be brought into the circle. Obviously it’s up for people like us to try to help heard them towards a common goal so they don’t lose that opportunity, but they have more access to patients than even a doctor.
Amber: They’re probably finding out more information than doctors.
Lauren: Absolutely because they’re more of a trusted resource. You see a doctor 3 times a year maybe where you see a pharmacist 30 times a year; statistically those numbers are on average. So they are a much more available, trusted resource that a lot of times isn’t recognized for the value they bring to the healthcare system.
Amber: Wow, that’s fascinating. Moving to a different area, more about the business itself, Lauren you are second generation President of the company; how did that come about?
Lauren: I am second generation. My father was an independent pharmacist and he founded ComputerRX in the early 80s. This was a time when technology was very new in pharmacy obviously; it was typewriters and a very manual process. He really just enjoyed computers and ended up creating his own software and ran his pharmacy and the software company for about 6 years and then sold his pharmacy and went fulltime in CompuerRX. And then about a year ago he retired and here I am.
Amber: That’s wonderful. And you mentioned that a lot of your family works there.
Lauren: All of us grew up with ComputerRX obviously. I grew up more on the software side, but we all now work there. My siblings work there, their spouses did work there and have had a stint at the company and obviously my parents both worked there but they’ve retired now. We have some extended family and then a lot of friends, in any small business you hire people you know typically.
Amber: So what are some of the challenges to working with family?
Lauren: Working with family is its own dynamic; it can be really, really rewarding but it can also be really challenging. I would say it just adds a different dimension of relationship management maybe is the best way to say it.
Amber: I like your diplomacy.
Lauren: We’ll call it that, that’s what we’ll go with.
Amber: Okay, I like that. Other than relationship management there are some good things about working with family I imagine, I would love to hear more about those.
Lauren: I think it’s very rewarding working with family and kind of – I’ll say going to battle – but solving problems and attending events and doing that all with your family, it’s a level of – just as much as there’s relationship management there’s a level of closeness that comes out of it. You understand what the other is going through and so it was the center of our family for a lot of years.
Amber: And it’s shared victories too, that’s always fun.
Lauren: Shared victories, absolutely.
Amber: What is one of your biggest victories of late for ComputerRX?
Lauren: ComputerRX has grown through the years I’d say – we’ll do longer term victories – we’ve grown tremendously so I think as a family member seeing what my parents built from 5 or 6 close friends and employees to 150 employees is having a big impact on a market that we care so much about. It’s probably the biggest victory. Short term obviously trying to handle that transition as my dad retired to me being now the leader I think the big victory it’s been a year under my belt of continuing the company in a progression forward and really trying to create that next generation impact in the industry.
Amber: What’s next?
Lauren: What’s next? Obviously continuing to try to grow; at our company we’re making huge investments in our technology, which is obviously the bread and butter of our business. Trying to build new technology platforms to take us another 30 years, so that’ really what’s next for us. Doing that, focusing on giving our self – the reason behind it is as I said earlier, we feel like pharmacy should be the hub of healthcare and we are big components of that and big advocates for pharmacy, and so this technology that we’re investing in we feel like is going to give us the ability to make that a reality so that we can continue to press pharmacy forward. That’s what’s next for us, continue to innovate so we can press pharmacy forward to help people and be highlighted where they should in the healthcare system ultimately.
Amber: Well thanks for joining us Lauren.
Lauren: Absolutely, thanks for having me.
Amber: Absolutely, our pleasure. Once again, this BusinessMakers USA coming to you from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I’m Amber Ambrose and this is Lauren Warkentine.
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