Three Ships for Your Journey

SoftWriters COO Tim Tannert was invited back to his alma mater, Ohio Northern University, this past weekend to be the keynote for their Professional Commitment Ceremony where P3 students received their White Coat and recited the Pharmacy Pledge of Professionalism. Addressing the students, here are the highlights of what Tim shared:

Today is a day where you are accepting the tremendous responsibility of clinical service and patient care. This responsibility is not to be taken lightly. From this day forward, every time you place on your White Coat, you are shouldering a mantle of responsibility that this profession holds dear. I would like to discuss with you three aspects of this responsibility. These are the three ships that will guide you as you enter this journey of your career. The three ships are Mentorship, Leadership, and Stewardship.



Two ONU graduates, Tom and Meg Lamb, owned a little independent retail pharmacy that I began working for my junior year of high school. The most important thing I learned from them had nothing to do with any of the activities of filing a prescription. The most important thing I learned from Tom and Meg was the difference they made in the lives of the people who walked through their pharmacy’s door.

I witnessed the bonds they built with their patients. I watched them comfort new parents whose child was sick for the first time, I watched them be the shoulder to cry on for people who just received a devastating diagnosis, and I watched them always make time to lend an ear to an elderly shut in who simply needed someone to talk to.

Tom knew the best medicine was indeed humor, and had his patients laughing before they left. Every day, I watched Tom and Meg make an impact on the people that walked through their pharmacy’s door by not only being a respected part of the healthcare team, but by also by being an indispensable part of the community.

One day, Tom asked if I would be interested in becoming a pharmacist. That simple little question changed the trajectory of my life. From that day forward, Tom mentored me, coached me, and corrected me. His guidance and advice were invaluable in helping me get to where I am today.

Please do not underestimate the power of mentorship throughout your journey. Take advantage of building relationships with the mentors that you met this morning. Mentorship is a powerful vessel to get you to where to want to be.



One day when I was COO of Absolute Pharmacy in North Canton, OH, I had a gentleman named Garry Beltz walk into my office. Garry was a simple man who owed a small company cleaning the air vents in HVAC systems. One day out of the blue, Garry’s wife Karon was diagnosed with breast cancer and their lives were never the same. After losing his wife suddenly, Garry decided to donate the $6,700 worth of unopened medications he had just purchased.

Garry quickly found there was no legal way to donate the medications. That was the genesis to Garry’s mission. Through working with the legislature and State Board of Pharmacy, Garry learned all of the legal reasons why medications not under the supervision of a healthcare processional and not in unit-of-use packaging can’t be reintroduced back into the health system.

But that lead him to another fact, which was that medications in nursing homes are unit-of-use and are under the care of healthcare professionals, which means they can be donated and not destroyed. Garry used his leadership abilities and built relationships with the legislature, pharmacies, and free clinics in order to build consensus and to pass what is known as Karon’s Law.

Karon’s Law went into effect in Ohio in 2003. In 2004 the Ohio Board of Pharmacy finalized the rules for the program and in 2006 I am proud to say that I was the first pharmacy to operationalize the law. Garry facilitated the law’s passage not only in Ohio, but in most of the 50 states, and hundreds of thousands of doses have been donated as a result of Gary’s hard work.

Garry’s leadership in getting Karon’s Law implemented not only in Ohio but throughout the country had nothing to do with his position. It had to do with his ability to influence other, effect positive change, and get things done.

Now that each of you is wearing the White Coat of our profession, I would like to inspire you to become leaders of this profession. It does not matter if your title is intern, extern, fellow, or CEO. Use your God given talents to build relationships, create consensus, and enact change to improve patient care and to improve our profession as a whole. Leadership is a powerful vessel to get you to influence change for the better.



Finally, the last ship for your journey is that of Stewardship. I hope that from everything I have said today you realize that you cannot take this journey in life and in your careers without the people around you. It takes our families, friends, teachers, deans, and mentors to help you throughout your journey.

The key to a rewarding life in my opinion is not simply being successful and making an impact on patients’ lives. The truly rewarding part of this journey is turning around and helping the people after you make the same journey. Stewardship is merely “paying it forward”. There are countless examples around this campus of stewardship – the plaques and stones that speak to others who have given back to our profession and to the people that are coming up behind them. Pharmacy needs people that will guard and protect the profession and people who will ensure that the profession is strong for the next generation.

Paying it forward is not just about money however. Look around this room and look at all of the people here today volunteering their time and effort to be mentors. Stewardship is a powerful vessel to get others to where they want to be. Please take a moment to recognize mentors here today for their stewardship.


Closing Remarks

In closing, I would ask that you never take this White Coat for granted. This coat is not just something to put on over your nice clothes so they are not ruined. This coat is a mantle of responsibility. Every time you put on this White Coat you are shouldering the responsibility of your profession, you are shouldering the responsibility of living up to all that came before you.

Make a difference in this profession, in delivering exceptional patient care. Make it better. You can make it better whether you are an extern, a clinical pharmacist, or some guy building software. Use the ships of Mentorship, Leadership and Stewardship to help you along your journey. Finally, remember that Life is like the sidewalks here at Ohio Northern; there is no straight path to any destination.

Thank you again. God Bless.

ONU Facebook

Tim Tannert is Chief Operating Officer at SoftWriters, a leading software solution provider servicing pharmacies that provide care to long term post-acute care patients, assisted living residents, independent living residents, pharmacies servicing group homes, correctional facilities, specialty pharmacies, and pharmacies servicing 340B contracts. Tim has an obsession for improving patient care through technology to improve processes and to help ensure the best possibly quality.

Meet SoftWriters’ New VP of Sales & Marketing, Jeff Lininger

Jeff joined the SoftWriters team as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Prior to SoftWriters, Jeff worked for NAVEX Global, the industry leader in governance, risk, and compliance solutions. Previously he successfully applied his expertise in building sales, business development, sales operations, marketing, and strategy infrastructures for Fortune 500, medium-sized, and start-up organizations within the technology and services sectors. Jeff holds his MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and his BA in Economics and Finance from Grove City College.

“I’m thrilled to be joining SoftWriters, a company that understands the importance of developing and integrating technology within LTC pharmacy in ways that best serve our customers. We have an amazing team and great support from MHA and Roper. I look forward to leading the sales and marketing organization to support our existing customer base and to acquire new customers to further SoftWriters growth.”

Jeff will be attending the NCPA Annual Conference in mid-October, so please stop by the SoftWriters booth and introduce yourself if you’re attending!

School Supply Drive Success

SoftWriters School Supply DriveEducation is very important to SoftWriters and we are so thankful for our own that we wanted to give back to the community. Over the last few weeks, SoftWriters’ employees were able to collect a total of 1,229 items to benefit our local North Hills Community Outreach! That means we will be able to donate over 100 backpacks with supplies to donate to the outreach center, totaling over $4,100!

  • 120 backpacks
  • 60 calculators
  • 172 notebooks
  • 74 pencil boxes/pouches
  • 152 glue sticks
  • 48 scissors
  • 63 boxes of crayons
  • 80 pencil packs, and much more!

Thanks to the entire SoftWriters team for your contributions, our School Supply Drive was a terrific success!

4 Steps to Winning New Pharmacy Business

by Nancy Mlinarik

In today’s environment, growth is essential as an offset to low margins and rising costs. Many pharmacies ask themselves: How do we approach analyzing and winning market share?

STEP 1 – Analyze your current business

The first step in planning for growth is to analyze your current business. Review your business metrics to evaluate profitability by facility, by payer, and by location.

STEP 2 – Identify your target market

Use those data driven results to hand select a target audience that makes sense for your pharmacy operation. It should include a mix of facility types, a minimum number of beds for each type of business, and a certain proximity to an existing delivery route.

STEP 3 – Understand the needs of your target market

Understanding what your prospective facility customers expect from their pharmacy is key to winning their business. Ask yourself and your existing customers what criteria are important in selecting a pharmacy partner?

Key areas to consider
  • Connectivity to particular EMARS/EHRS
  • The use of technology to reduce errors
  • The percentage of medication orders that are delivered according to the pharmacy cut off and delivery schedules
  • A facility’s ability to track orders from inception through to delivery
  • Customized offering: dispensing, forms, labels, and reports for the facility
  • Survey and regulatory requirements

Document your customers’ key decision making criteria and commit to actions that support your pharmacy’s ability to address each of those areas. Look to your pharmacy for tools that may be customized to support your marketing initiatives.

STEP 4 – Sell yourself!

Meet with the staff responsible for talking with facilities to ensure you’re on the same page with the above key areas. Review what makes your pharmacy special, and be sure to include that in your pitch.


Nancy Mlinarik is a Sales Consultant at SoftWriters, a Pittsburgh-based company that offers pharmacy management software solutions to pharmacies serving the long-term care community. Nancy has spent 25+ years in LTC pharmacy, many of which focused on the sales and marketing aspect of growing the LTC pharmacy business. She has successfully deployed strategy to increase business 5-fold in two different LTC pharmacy organizations.

Top 4 Reasons to Attend SoftWriters’ 2017 FrameworkLTC Users Conference

Attend the 9th Annual FrameworkLTC Users Conference to gain valuable insights for you and your LTC pharmacy!

Top 4 Reasons to Attend

  1. Learn about current issues affecting pharmacy including:
    1. A Washington update on current and future legislative and regulatory activities
    2. A health information technology year in review
    3. Healthcare uncertainty with the rise of illegal internet pharmacies
    4. Updates on the latest SoftWriters’ activities and initiatives
  2. Meet and interact with our industry partners to learn about cutting edge technologies available in the LTC space
  3. Network with your colleagues to learn how they are implementing new programs and services
  4. Obtain pharmacy continuing education credits while you learn

View the full agenda here

The 9th annual conference is September 13 – 15, 2017 at Music City Center in Nashville, TN. Hotel room block is at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel – make your reservations today!

Upgraded Technology for FrameworkLTC Pharmacies

The technology platform of your pharmacy software is critical to your pharmacy’s ability to perform and interface with the rest of the market. SoftWriters is excited to roll out long-term care pharmacy software that is built on the absolute latest technology platform. By utilizing the newest technologies and completely re-architecting the way our solutions work, SoftWriters is able to go beyond interfacing products to truly integrate them to act as one solution for you. This upgrade ensures all customers have the best pharmacy software and integration capabilities:

  • Working smarter: configuration, set-up information and data in one system can be used across the entire solution set
  • Integrated business logic provides quality checks not available on separate systems
  • Existing functionality is maintained, meaning no new training required
  • Improved workflow with integrated data management
  • FrameworkLTC 4.0 is now 91% code complete

 “The technologies SoftWriters uses are sound, which is really important when building a company like ours.” – Philip Boyd, President, Southern Pharmaceutical Services

What This Means For Existing FrameworkLTC Pharmacies

This complex, multiyear investment in a modern platform is available to all pharmacies on FrameworkLTC as part of your current support contract. There is no additional charge for this upgrade. And the core features, functionality and behaviors of FrameworkLTC remain, thus preserving the investment that you have made in training your staff. Moving to a new and improved technology stack provides you with a more stable, secure, and efficient environment with newer tools at your disposal.

FrameworkLTC 4.0 Features

  • Enables the FrameworkLTC solution set to be fully integrated with seamless sharing of data: configuration, setup and data in one system can be utilized across the solution set
  • Integrated business logic provides unprecedented quality checks only available amongst the SoftWriters solutions
  • Customizable windows and toolbars at the user level, so navigation can be configured based on user workflow
  • Preserved functionality allows you take advantage of the newer technologies with no negative effects to staff productivity – every keystroke and every hot key is the same!
  • Additional logging capabilities for better audits
  • Improved search functionality with additional sorting and filter options
  • Exportable reports into Excel, PDF and Word via Microsoft Sequel Server reporting

SoftWriters, an MHA company, develops innovative pharmacy management and ancillary software solutions designed to support the growth and operational efficiencies of closed door pharmacies. From order intake through delivery, SoftWriters’ complete suite of fully-integrated, scalable solutions eliminate manual steps and enhance customer service capabilities for operators. 

Meet SoftWriters’ Team Member Jackie Maitland

Jackie, congratulations on your recent promotion to SoftWriters’ Director of Customer Experience! What are your objectives in this new role?
As Director of Customer Experience, I work with clients to understand their operational and/or financial challenges and ensure that we leverage the capabilities of our FrameworkLTC software solutions to address such challenges. Every pharmacy is different and it’s important to understand the nuances of your operation in order to tailor the strengths of the software to your needs and best support your success.

What is your favorite part of the job?
I very much enjoy the variety of my work and meeting and working with our clients.  There are both common and unique challenges our clients face, and I gain great satisfaction when I can work with clients towards impactful solutions.

What functionality do you appreciate most in SoftWriters’ suite of pharmacy management software solutions?
FrameworkLTC’s interface functionality is extremely robust and provides for a broad array of options for each client to establish their own customized workflow design.

How do you spend your downtime?
I enjoy hanging out with my husband, 4 adult children and 2 granddaughters. We all enjoy all that Lake Erie has to offer and when Ohio gets too cold, we visit our 2 oldest kids (& grandchildren) in Florida!

Enhanced Customer Support

SoftWriters has recently made some changes aimed at improving customer experience, providing better customer service and support. Our extended support hours, focus on offering great support, and organizational changes will help us better respond to our customers. We are excited to share the following:

  • Customer Support weekday hours are now 8:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. EST.
    Our normal on-call procedures remaining intact for off-hours and weekends.
  • Our response times remain consistently below 40 seconds. We will continue to monitor our response times and support surveys to ensure we continue to deliver the service level you expect. Please complete and respond to our support surveys so we can continue to improve!
  • We are happy to introduce our new dedicated resources for Product Support & Training and Customer Experience! Our Director of Product Support, Training, and IT, Josh Lamont, will manage the existing support and training teams and help us quickly solve your technical challenges, while the Director of Customer Experience, Jackie Maitland, will provide a more streamlined process to allow our customers to voice concerns, ask questions and provide feedback. We have also added resources to our Product Management team to continue our focus on empowering customers with the tools and services you need to win in the marketplace.

“Your technicians are friendly and incredibly knowledgeable. It is a joy to work out solutions with them. I appreciate the extra steps to resolve any and all issues.” – Josh

Rob was excellent. He even followed-up later to confirm the fix we did on our server worked. Excellent!” – Amy

“This was our 1st experience with the later support hours. I sent the email thinking I wouldn’t hear back until morning, but Dawn answered right away. I was able to get that info to our IT who was able to address the problem before the end of the night. Awesome! Love the new hours!” – Steve

For more on our support process, please contact Josh Lamont, Director of Product Support and Training at 412.492.9841, ext 315.

Implementation Tips From a Trainer

Implementing a new software application often seems like a very daunting task, especially considering pharmacies typically don’t have the luxury of closing shop for a few days. The goals of improved workflow efficiencies, accuracies and business growth make the transition worth it, and with proper planning and expectation setting you can tackle implementing new technologies head on! Below are some helpful tips, best practices, and recommendations to help aid in the transition.

by Courtney Hetler-Findlay

Don’t Fear the Process

Outside of your pharmacy management software, most solutions are fairly easy to implement. Typically solutions that compliment or supplement your core technology, such as FrameworkECM and FrameworkPOD, are far simpler, more intuitive to configure, and require fewer staff members to learn than others. Most often these solutions can be implemented, with staff fully trained, in a matter of days. However, something as robust as your pharmacy management software should be viewed as a process, spanning a significant amount of time and functions, to ensure proper configuration and ample learning opportunities prior to completion.


As a trainer, I often find the most successful go lives are the ones where the leadership teams are highly involved from the moment the project is green-lighted. The pharmacy management team’s participation during implementation helps set the tone for the onsite training and go live process. Attitudes are contagious so staying positive throughout the entire process and welcoming the change will give your staff added confidence in the transition. Continue reading