Productivity must be at its peak for revenue to reach the highest level. Pharmacies are no exception when it comes to guidelines for operational improvement. Improved efficiencies through solid cross-training, good pharmacy management, and effective use of technology are all critical components to consider when looking at best practices and an enhanced bottom line.
Workflow Practice and Organizational Culture
Once a pharmacy develops a workflow routine, it is often difficult to get employees to change. “That’s the way we have always done it” is a common refrain. Employees fall into a comfort zone and continue working that way until forced to change. Pharmacy operations can improve if management follows these basic guidelines:
- Recognize staff frustrations
- Ensure proper workflow is implemented and maintained
- Hold employees accountable
- Motivate and empower staff
It is important to get staff to realize that the “old way” is not always the “best way.” If you develop a schedule for the processing of medications, assignment of workstations, and cross-training of employees, you will improve operational efficiency. This move requires motivated staff with proper and complete training.
Proper Staffing and Organizational Structure
Having an appropriate setup is an excellent starting point for optimal workflow. Design your pharmacy to help ensure that steps occur in sequential order. If you don’t have the luxury to redesign or remodel a space, you can improve your operations with some simple changes:
- Add bins or baskets to sort prescriptions and improve processing time
- Properly organization pharmacy structure
- Anticipate staffing fluctuations in advance
Importance of Cross-Training
Cross-training of employees is critical to the success of a LTC pharmacy; without it, productivity can falter and pharmacy efficiency will decrease.
Lack of cross-training may cause:
- Setbacks and bottlenecks to pharmacy production
- Delays that reduce pharmacy operations
- Decreased employee morale
- Staff may operate in silos
Benefits of cross-training include:
- Enhanced staff morale and sense of worth
- Improved sense of value to the organization
- Lower levels of staff fatigue and burnout
- Improved accuracy in prescription processing
Efficient Prescription Order Processing
Pharmacists and pharmacy staff tend to want to process prescription orders as they arrive. Ensuring proper workflow can improve prescription processing efficiency:
- Triage must be done accurately and kept current
- Process STAT or urgent orders daily within a required time frame
- Process medication changes or discontinuations immediately
- Establish a longer turnaround time for refills — this will allow you to focus on urgent new admissions
- Process standing (profile only) orders during downtime for each facility
Putting it All Together
Today, success is based on examining operational systems and making improvements as necessary. As technology continues to improve and reimbursement is under extreme pressure from third-party payers, it only makes sense to use best practices to streamline the prescription processing function.
Contact us to learn more about ways your LTC pharmacy can use advanced automation to improve overall business performance.