This post has been rewritten since the initial publication.
You may think you’re saving money by keeping your old computers, telephones, software and security systems in place, but the risks associated with outdated technology outweigh the potential savings. Modern technology changes leaps and bounds in a relatively short amount of time. And while it may be tempting to postpone the necessary updates in your pharmacy, what you’re saving in initial costs will probably not be worth it in the long run. Here are three reasons why holding on to old technology is putting your pharmacy at risk.
1) Credit Card Security
Chances are that most of your customers don’t pay in cash, especially for expensive prescriptions. While you wouldn’t knowingly put your credit card users at risk for identity theft, running their cards through your aging system may be doing just that. If credit card breaches can happen to huge retailers like Target and Neiman Marcus, they can certainly happen to you.
Prior to October 1, 2015, if an in-store transaction is conducted using a counterfeit card, the cardholder’s losses from that transaction fall back on the retailer, but after October 1, the liability can shift to the card processor if the retailer has implemented EMV card acceptance.
Many falsely believe that this deadline of October 1, 2015 is mandatory for EMV chip card acceptance. Other rumors state that if a retailer implements EMV that they are protected from data breaches. Both statements are incorrect. While it is true there will be a shift in the liability for fraud after this date to whichever party is the least EMV-compliant in a fraudulent transaction, the term fraudulent transaction can mean several things. Fraudulent transactions can consist of counterfeit cards or even stolen credit cards. According to Stephanie Ericksen, Visa’s vice president of risk products, only about 2/3 of credit card fraud is due to counterfeit cards.
Regarding data breaches, retailers need to consider implementing a fairly new security technology called Point-to-Point Encryption, which encrypts the credit card number from the moment it’s swiped, and sends that encrypted card number directly to the processor. The retailer’s computers never see the card number and therefore, have no card data to provide a data thief.
Mike Gross, with Retail Management Solutions, one of our top vendors advises, “Independent pharmacies should look at their credit card fraud history, specifically credit card charge backs, and determine what that cost has been. Because pharmacies typically have so many details about their customer, such as name, address, health plan, and doctor, they may not see as many fraudulent transactions as say a big box store.”
Gross says, “In the end, the decision to purchase new hardware should be based on a store-by-store basis. I recommend pharmacies visit our dedicated EMV page to get the latest information regarding these credit card security issues.”
2) Lower Productivity and Efficiency
How often does your computer system go offline? Do your employees spend time waiting for screens to load? How long does it take your staff to place an order in the computer while customers wait?
Time is money and slow technology will impact the satisfaction levels of both your customers and your staff. In fact, there is a noticeable correlation between user-friendly technology in the workplace and employee retention, especially among younger employees who have up-to-date technology for personal use. If you want to keep your staff and patients happy, upgrade to a system that is quick and easy to use.
3) Legal/ HIPAA Issues
The HIPAA Privacy Rule provides federal protections for your customers’ health information and gives patients an array of rights with respect to that information. The Security Rule specifies a series of administrative, physical, and technical safeguards for you to use to assure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information. If you aren’t following these guidelines, or can’t because of an old computer system, you may be exposing yourself to a very costly fine or lawsuit.
Postponing technology upgrades may be putting both your customers and business at an unnecessarily high risk. Aging systems could cause you to lose money, employees and customers. Investing in the latest and greatest technology may seem daunting, but will be worth it in the long run. After all, investing in your success is one of the best ways to stay relevant in today’s competitive landscape.
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