Ambulatory Pharmacies at Health Systems: Technologies and Strategies to Boost Consumer Engagement


Download complimentary copy of latest CCM research that explores role of pharmacy technology for improving patient experience and outcomes at health systems

The expanding scope of pharmacy retailers and foray of technology companies into the health care space are influencing the strategy of health systems that own ambulatory pharmacies, according to Center for Connected Medicine (CCM) survey research.

More than half of health system pharmacy leaders believe retailers and technology companies are having either a moderate or strong influence on their hospital’s pharmacy strategy, the survey revealed.

To counter these competitors, health systems that own ambulatory pharmacies are investing in new technologies for their pharmacies, which can serve as a vital interface to promote patient engagement, enhance a consumer-friendly experience, and improve outcomes for patients.

The report, “Ambulatory Pharmacies at Health Systems: Technologies and Strategies to Boost Consumer Engagement,” can be downloaded from the link above. The report focuses on ambulatory pharmacies, which are any hospital- or health system-owned retail or walk-in-style patient pharmacy; it does not include inpatient pharmacy services.

Health systems investing in pharmacy technology

Health system pharmacy leaders says their organizations are planning to invest over the next two years in new digital tools, with the top-cited solutions being integration with patient portals, in-app prescription fill and refill requests, adherence reminder outreach systems, and online or in-app payment technology.

“At UPMC we see tremendous value in delivering the highest level of quality, convenience, and technology to our ambulatory pharmacy consumers. It is essential that health systems proactively engage patients in their care, and the pharmacy is one of the best places to have an impact,” said Becky Taylor, PharmD, vice president of the pharmacy service line at UPMC.

UPMC is the founding partner of the CCM.


Challenges to scaling up pharmacies

At a time when traditional health care providers are facing growing competition from established retailers and technology companies, health system pharmacies face challenges in scaling up. Pharmacy leaders mentioned a broad range of challenges, with two rising to the top: recruiting and retaining qualified staff and limitations around the government’s 340B drug discount program.

To collect the data, the CCM partnered with KLAS Research to contact pharmacy leaders at U.S. hospitals and health systems that own and operate ambulatory pharmacies. KLAS interviewed 25 pharmacy executives, directors, and managers by phone in August and September 2023.


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