Keeping up with the Joneses, or how pharmacies choose technology

Recently a colleague sent me a link to the FierceHealthIT article below. Much of what the article had to say rang true for me.

Hospitals covet neighboring facilities’ technology: “Facilities were more likely to acquire a new surgical robot if neighboring hospitals had done so, according to a study from a group of private and government researchers published in this month’s Healthcare journal… The authors found that a hospital whose neighbor had acquired a surgical robot was more likely to also get one….According to the authors, the results suggest that tech adoption may be driven “in part by competition among neighboring hospitals rather than solely by the mission to provide optimal patient care.”

This is consistent with what I’ve witnessed in pharmacy technology over the past several years. In my experience pharmacies rarely choose the technology that’s right for them. It’s much more likely that pharmacies will make decisions based on usage patterns of other local hospitals, i.e. word of mouth. That’s why it’s so important for companies in the pharmacy technology sector to get people using their products. It’s not like the consumer market where new technology can often unseat an incumbent with a whiz-bang feature or some clever marketing. No, in pharmacy it’s likely that once a decision is made that decision will stick for many years.

It’s also important for pharmacies to ensure that they’re making a wise decision when it comes to implementing new technology. They should ask themselves two questions: 1) what do I need it to do, and 2) will it fit my workflow. Answer those two questions and you’ll know if it’s right for you.

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