Every pharmacy is trying to achieve the same goals: reliably and effectively fill prescriptions, provide high-quality patient care, and maintain a sustainable business model in which workers are pleased, and customers are satisfied. Yet, in actuality, most pharmacies follow a system in which personnel spends most of their time dealing with insurance concerns, physician follow-ups, and urgent requests. Although essential, offering more patient care services increases workload without increasing revenue. An improved community pharmacy workflow, on the other hand, can help to prevent chaos from emerging.
Many chain stores have long lines and regulations prohibiting pharmacists from administering vaccines or medication therapy management (MTM) treatments if they are the only ones on duty. Therefore, many opportunities to improve care are lost. Pharmacists must effectively enhance and at the appropriate time. The time to do this is provided by improved pharmacy workflow. Within the pharmacy, the Smart Pharmacy Workflow System creates a dynamic, rather than static, workflow. The construction of an organized, efficient space and team members with the necessary skill set for their position are essential parts of this system.
The following are the main tips where pharmacy workflow can improve:
- Setup: It is essential to have the proper setup to achieve optimal workflow. It includes having a prescription drop-off “entry station” where medications can be placed in color-coded baskets according to priority. In addition, special cases, such as those requiring insurance resolution or physician callbacks, must have their file system.
When the prescriptions are ready to be filled, they should take to a filling station supplied with counting trays, vials and lids, patient handouts, a built-in HIPAA-compliant trash collector, and a range of color-coded bags (see Figure). These colorful bags are used to sort house prescriptions that need to be verified by a pharmacist. The pharmacist’s station’s proximity to the bagging area, verification rack, and counseling window is the most important workflow element. Therefore, it has a major impact on efficiency.
- Estimate: How would you know if your pharmacy improves the process and the outcomes if you don’t measure it? First, try to determine and define exactly what you want to track. Establishing a good performance “baseline” (a starting point) can help determine the impact of all future enhancements. Next, hold employees accountable for their performance once metrics and goals have been set. Why not productivity? Many pharmacies track accuracy, so why not productivity? Measuring the number of scripts per hour is a good place to start when looking for best practices. Furthermore, the growth of data your employees to make judgments based on facts rather than faulty information or personal prejudice.
- Focus on automation: When all of a pharmacy’s pharmacists and technicians are focused on only the highest-level duties that their education or certification allows them to do, lower-level duties can be performed by entry-level staff or automated.
It ensures that things go smoothly at a pharmacy when higher-level staff isn’t wasting their time on duties that another person may compete more effectively and through technology. While standing at their workstation, the remote pharmacist can counsel patients via live video call. Consider how you may make mobility in the pharmacy more efficient. Without leaving their workstation, the remote pharmacist can evaluate pharmacy prescriptions and counsel patients.
- Team Members: Having the correct pharmacy employees with the proper skill sets is an important part of this system. It is best to have one technician as the point of entry for most prescriptions to help with efficiency. This person should prioritize and enter prescriptions, be able to multitask, and not be easily overwhelmed. A second technician should maintain a specialized counter. This person should concentrate on a task, determine the level of urgency, and avoid being easily distracted. In an ideal world, they wouldn’t have to deal with phone calls.
There are two categories of pharmacists: clinical pharmacists and production pharmacists, with very few hybrids, as both roles need quite different personality types and skill-sets. For example, prescription verifications should be handled by production pharmacists, who should be free of distractions. On the other hand, a good production pharmacist is driven by a sense of urgency and is content with simple duties and routines.
- Motion: Do you know how many steps your pharmacy’s pharmacists and technicians take each day? Consider the journey of a technician filling out a script. Is he required to leave his desk to finish the order? Is the pharmacist/workstation technician equipped with all of the equipment she’ll need to finish the task? Just because you have a lot of space doesn’t mean you have to use it all and spread your job. Try bringing the work closer to the worker to boost operational efficiency. By bringing work closer to the employee, you may cut down on wasted travel time and improve growth while increasing employee happiness.
- New Retail Space Integration: Pharmacies must think beyond fulfilling prescriptions to increase profits. Once you’ve freed up space in your store by installing automation, make the most of it by developing additional revenue streams. Whether it’s adding MTM, med sync, compounding, vaccinations, or more retail space, using your current area is a wonderful way to boost profits while attracting new customers.
Each of these tips can help you enhance your pharmacy’s workflow and boost your profitability. Strong pharmacy design might mean the difference between success and failure in the sector. Plan your resources properly if you’re considering a drugstore redesign. Make boosting client happiness and safety your primary priority, and the rest of your design strategy will fall into place.
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