Case Studies

A Vast Specialty Pharmacy Chain Discovers a Treatment for its Business License Headache

In 1975, Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (Diplomat) opened its first set of doors to the public. At the time it was just a modest neighborhood pharmacy with a single location in Michigan. More than forty years later, that same company dispenses over 900,000 prescriptions and provides pharmaceutical services to patients and physicians in all 50 states. Commensurate with the size and complexity of their business license operations, they now employ the most advanced compliance software on the market today, The Business License Management System.

Spreadsheets are not a “functional approach” to business license management

Jessica Backmeier is Diplomat’s Licensing Coordinator. She tracks thousands of licenses for the company and ensures their governmental compliance everywhere. She knows better than anybody that her department will never administer a massive business license portfolio with mere spreadsheets. Static tools may still have their place in the day-to-day operations of a company, but they are not adequate for an enterprise-level compliance workflow.

“We used to have issues with tracking and maintaining licensing spreadsheets,” she offers when asked about the evolution of their workflow. “With multiple individuals trying to work on one spreadsheet at a time, we needed a more functional approach to managing licenses and easing our tracking burden.”

Their management challenges are made all the more onerous by the nature of their business model which calls for them to dispense treatments for different types of complex chronic diseases, such as oncology, immunology, and hepatitis. A professional license is mandatory for anybody who treats these illnesses and some specialty pharmacists are required to have more than one license, especially if they dispense out-of-state medication. These pharmacists may be employed by the corporation, but only they can renew their own licenses, a task which may slip their mind or get lost among other priorities in their busy lives.

Consequently, Diplomat’s licensing department takes upon themselves the imperative of overseeing not just compliance with the standard mix of rules and regulations familiar to companies that operate in less regulated industries, but also the professional licensing needs of their pharmacy staff. It was this necessary burden that compelled them to seek business license solutions from Business Licenses, LLC and ultimately adopt their flagship SaaS product, BLMS®.

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"Our pharmacists are scattered between 18 locations within the United States. Therefore, there’s potential for communication to be lost from time to time. The software from Business Licenses LLC has helped with that communication."

BLMS® keeps both Diplomat Pharmacy’s licensing department and their pharmaceutical staff up-to-date

The Business License Management System is equipped with a powerful calendar function that alerts its users to licenses that are due to expire. The email alerts can be customized to meet the demands of the customer (with default settings that have emails show up in the user’s inbox 30, 60, or 90 days in advance of a renewal date), but Diplomat has atypical needs, even by the standards of healthcare providers.

"They need email alerts to go directly to their pharmacists," reports Geoff Glasser, Solutions Consultant at Business Licenses, LLC. "The idea is to make the software responsible for tracking the needs of the individual pharmacists and correspond directly with them. In other words, whereas most companies have 1-10 users who administer the entire company’s business license portfolio, Diplomat essentially has hundreds of users, each one responsible for their own mini-portfolio."

Responsible though they may be for their own governmental compliance, does it really make sense for hundreds of pharmacists (needless to say, none of whom are licensing experts) to share access to a single software platform? "We often talk about the value of centralization, but I think this is extreme," admits Geoff Glasser. "If I may put it in pharmacy terms, it’s the right medicine. However, the dosage may be a bit too high."

When they first reviewed their software options, the licensing professionals at Diplomat concurred. As excited as they were by the capabilities of The Business License Management System, they were reluctant to share their company-wide calendar, editing privileges, and confidential departmental info with hundreds of part-time users. It would defeat the entire purpose of a centralized licensing platform! Fortunately for them, BLMS® was designed from the bottom up by licensing professionals to be responsive to idiosyncratic licensing situations, even when they are sui generis.

The engineers behind BLMS® tackled the problem directly. They imported Diplomat’s business license portfolio, set up their conventional email alerts, and configured additional emails to be sent to the pharmacy staff. But as a special twist, they added “secure URLs” to the workflow, precluding the need for the pharmacists to log into the platform. With this new configuration to the software, the company’s business license workflow now works as follows:

  1. Every day, BLMS® identifies upcoming renewal dates for every pharmacist on Diplomat’s payroll.
  2. The platform auto-generates private URLs for every individual pharmacist.
  3. The software sends email alerts that focus the attention of the pharmacists on their approaching deadlines.
  4. The emails direct the pharmacists to their private URLs where they can review and update their confidential records.
  5. Finally, BLMS® allows Diplomat’s core band of licensing professionals to supervise the entire process from their dashboard and catch delinquencies long before they threaten the reputation of the company.
Diplomat Pharmacy’s staff is dispersed among many states, but their business license workflow is now tightly organized

Aided by the BLMS® advanced workflow, there is now nothing that happens outside the purview of the company’s Pharmacist-in-Charge. According to Jessica Backmeier, this has yielded tangible results:

"Our pharmacists are scattered between 18 locations within the United States. Therefore, there’s potential for communication to be lost from time to time. The software from Business Licenses, LLC has helped with that communication. There are fewer emails that we need to follow because those that are allowed access can usually answer their own questions by logging in. But the biggest benefit to us is the ability to track the personal licenses. Each individual license is the responsibility of an employee. Now one person can oversee this."

For a specialty pharmacy, compliance does not come easy. That’s why the licensing department of Diplomat felt the pressing need to construct a comprehensive process to track, manage, and ultimately guarantee their compliance everywhere they do business. Of course, they already had the expertise and the qualified personnel to do the job. They just needed a software platform that was flexible and responsive to their singular requirements and business license consultants with whom to brainstorm the right approach. In the end, The Business License Management System was just what their doctor ordered.