Efficiency is a major priority in pharmacy settings. It’s essential that pharmacies and the staff members who work in them have the ability and means to fill prescriptions efficiently without sacrificing qualify of service.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to maintain an efficient pharmacy in many businesses, yet it’s more important than ever, particularly with healthcare reform and quality ratings making such a significant impact in the industry.
Pharmacy employees are being forced to consider the meeting of rigorous performance standards, cost-cutting, and an ever-increasing push by customers to have fast service.
The following are some easy ways pharmacies can work toward improving their overall level of efficiency, even the midst of major challenges.
Perform An Audit
Before a pharmacy can really know where inefficiencies exist, they need to do a full review of processes and workflows. Pharmacy staff may realize they’re not operating at a peak level of efficiency, but they may not know what that’s stemming from.
For example, they may see customer dissatisfaction, but without knowing the root cause of where that’s coming from, it’s difficult to alleviate the problem.
Rely on Automation When Possible
When all of the pharmacists and technicians in a pharmacy are focusing on only the highest-level tasks their education or certification provides, then lower level tasks can be dealt with either through entry-level employees or automation.
This ensures that things are moving along at the peak level of efficiency in a pharmacy when higher-level employees aren’t spending their time on tasks that could be better completed either by another employee or with technology.
Focus on Employee Training
A pharmacy may already have standards in place for everything ranging from customer service to disposal of expired medicines, but if employees aren’t well-trained on these procedures they’re essentially useless.
It’s important for pharmacies to not only train new employees on standards, procedures, and protocols but also to regularly refresh that training even for long-term employees.
When everyone in the pharmacy is well aware of standardized procedures, it can remove a lot of the uncertainty and errors that lead to inefficiency.
Focus on Inventory Management
A big problem many pharmacies face is having too much or too little inventory. If some resources and time and attention can be put toward inventory on a regular basis, it can save a lot of time and difficulties in other areas.
It’s important to maximize usage of inventory systems, and do regular checks to see what moves quickly and what tends to sit on the shelves.
The National Community Pharmacy Association recommends reviewing inventory levels quarterly and comparing them against trends in the area, as well as assigning technicians to manage drugs that tend to move slowly, and returning unused drugs to their manufacturers.
The NCPA also recommends pharmacists develop relationships with patients so they can be kept aware, ahead of time, when they might need a drug that’s rare or expensive.
That way, the drug can be ordered in a timely way, but the pharmacy doesn’t have to stock it unnecessarily.
When pharmacies focus on efficiency, the result is often a greater level of patient satisfaction, which can not only make for a better operational process but also better performance metric ratings.