Pharmpix Blog

Resiliency in the Time of Coronavirus


Resiliency is all over the news these days. As leaders, we need to monitor current events closely and think “people first” when considering how we can recover quickly from the challenges that come with doing business during these times. Thinking this way means keeping your employees and clients at the heart of your decision-making, acknowledging that our most valuable resource is in fact our people. At PharmPix it’s been no different. We’ve had to make some changes to our day-to-day but have seen no impact from a client service perspective. Operating successfully at PharmPix now, with our most valuable resources working remotely as we keep our offices closely managed, comes in thanks to careful business planning since our founding in 2009.

Today’s work environment has seen a transformation, especially within the Healthcare industry, which is at the nexus of the current pandemic. We’re all getting accustomed to a new reality where virtual work is here to stay. As such, we need to consider a multitude of factors within this new reality, both human and technical, and understand the impact to our workforce and clients.

Some key questions we’ve asked ourselves and actions we’ve taken as a leadership team here at PharmPix from a workforce, technical, client, and technology perspective are the following:

  • Workforce: How engaged is our workforce? How best is their home environment situated for remote work? Ergonomics? Mental health? Are family members requiring support at home during the workday? At PharmPix we’ve been surveying our teams to understand how we can work smarter and healthier by developing a virtual wellness program.  Our Human Resources team recently held a virtual “Master Chef” competition, for example, which was particularly exciting!  Working with key partners such as Retention Strategies, we’re trying to give employees some much needed ergonomics, remote work, exercise, and family balance coaching during this time.

Likewise, making communication in virtual meetings more engaging at this time is important.  Doing so at PharmPix means increasing the interaction in Microsoft Teams: sharing personal stories, and creating a virtual “water-cooler” where employees feel the presence of their coworkers and leaders. We’re also providing our employees with a stipend for remote work use of cellular and home data connections. Taking these actions and answering some of the questions posed above help us understand how we can be resilient in meeting the demands of this new reality.

  • Technical: What kind of data connection lies between the employee and the company? Computer? Device? What kind of security is being employed to ensure a secure connection? How am I monitoring activity within my network to ensure quality-of-work and adherence to company operating procedures? As some of us know first-hand, the pandemic has seen no decline in cyber attacks. To the contrary, there seems to be a virtual explosion in phishing, ransomware, and smishing attacks. As a result, we’ve strengthened user education in this area and increased network vulnerability testing. We’ve also increased our internal compliance messaging and audit functions, strengthening company operating procedures where needed. Just as we saw with the workforce factors mentioned above, our approach provides a purview into how effectively we’re managing resiliency.
  • Client: When considering the client perspective, business continuity is paramount. Talking about my experience here at PharmPix, we provide an essential service: processing pharmacy transactions. When you fill a prescription at the pharmacy what happens in the background largely goes unnoticed, but there is a full team supporting every transaction. The point-of-sale (POS) controls which make us unique: patient drug utilization, clinical intelligence, sponsor preferences, and adjudication precision all happen within milliseconds. It’s critical that the infrastructure providing that support is safeguarded in the event of outages, natural or manmade events, weather, or pandemics for that matter! Once again, resiliency.
  • Technology: Speaking of the infrastructure mentioned above and the client experience, at PharmPix we’ve taken key steps with technology resiliency in mind over the last several years. One key decision we made is to host our platform from Switch Las Vegas. We process millions of those pharmacy transactions on a yearly basis. Hosting and colocation are mission-critical when talking about technology resiliency. As a telecom and technology expert, having our platform served from this facility helps me sleep better at night. It’s located in a very low natural disaster zone with government-level security, redundant data center routing, hurricane resistant physical plant, 100% renewable energy, and dynamic temperature controls. Suffice to say that Switch is the world’s first Tier 5 data center. Without getting too technical, this is a huge distinction in the telecom space. Switch is THE gold standard. For a technology company such as ours, it means we’re meeting the high standard demanded by our clients and their members, our members.

In summary, resiliency can be a challenge at any time. Understanding your organization is an evolving process which requires anticipating, planning, and acting one step ahead to meet the demands of the unexpected. It’s also key to have an engaged team at all levels and with your business partners (clients) – people first!

Written by Carlos Antón, VP Operations and Technology at PharmPix