In every independent pharmacy, efficiency is the name of the game. Because you see so many patients, perform so many services, and juggle so many tasks, you have no choice but to be efficient. For many pharmacies, one of the best ways to be more efficient is to optimize the dispensing process.
While dispensing is probably the bread and butter for your pharmacy, it’s also a fairly procedural process. This means that you can optimize your process to save time, energy, and resources for other hands-on tasks.
Here are 10 tips and tricks you can use to make dispensing a breeze:
1. Try Batch Processing
If you want a quick and easy way to spend less time filling more scripts, start with batch processing. Batch processing involves grouping similar prescriptions together and processing them as a group rather than individually.
You can process scripts based on common factors like dosage strength, formulation, and medication type.
By implementing this quick fix, you can prevent prescription switching and save time.
2. Prioritize Prescriptions
If you want to be efficient, you have to know how to prioritize. Create a system for identifying and prioritizing the most urgent prescriptions in your queue, like those for acute conditions and time-sensitive treatments.
Your pharmacy software system should equip you with tools to sort through scripts, identify urgency, and fill accordingly. By taking the extra time to prioritize scripts, you can save time while ensuring that critical medications get out quickly.
3. Make Labeling Shortcuts
For many pharmacies, creating labels puts a bottleneck in workflow. If you want to avoid this issue, develop a consistent labeling system that allows your pharmacists and techs to quickly and accurately label prescription containers.
Use color-coded labels, short-form dosage instructions, and standardized auxiliary labels to speed up the process.
Once again, your pharmacy software system can be a big help in this effort. Many systems have features that enable you to make labels with custom codes, shortcuts, and instructions.
4. Scan Barcodes
Barcode scanners are a great way to enhance prescription accuracy and speed. Use barcode scanning tools — either in your pharmacy software system or in standalone products — to quickly scan scripts, expedite the data entry process, and reduce the risk of dispensing errors.
5. Verify Scripts with Software
Speaking of software, your pharmacy software should also include a prescription verification feature. This feature can verify scripts against patient profiles, insurance information, and potential drug interactions. In doing so, it can help catch errors and reduce the need for manual verification — a win-win. If your system doesn’t include prescription verification, it might be time to switch to a new one.
6. Optimize Workspace Layout
When you think about your dispensing process, you might not think about the place where you do it. However, your workspace layout can drastically affect how quickly you can get scripts out the door (or drive-thru window).
As such, optimize your workspace layout to minimize unnecessary movement and maximize access to commonly used medications and supplies. An organized layout reduces the time spent searching for items and speeds up your turnaround time.
7. Use an Automated Dispensing System
If you’re serious about efficiency, you should consider introducing automation. Automated dispensing systems can store and dispense medications in a highly organized and efficient manner.
These systems can speed up prescription filling, improve accuracy, and free up your team for more patient-focused tasks.
However, even if you decide to use automation, you’ll still want to verify scripts yourself.
If you want to learn more about automated dispensing systems and read our recommendations, check out our blog, “Software Integrations - Pharmacy Automation.”
8. Use a Central Fill System
If you’re part of a pharmacy with multiple locations, you can save much-needed time by implementing a centralized dispensing system.
A central fill system involves filling scripts from a central location and distributing them to other locations. This system can reduce redundancy and make sure all your scripts go to the right locations.
Read our blog to learn more about central fill systems and other tips to manage multiple locations.
9. Use Standardized Compounds
If you’re part of a compounding pharmacy, don’t forget to optimize your compounds. Streamline the process by using pre-made bases or compounds whenever possible.
These pre-made bases – which are carefully formulated to meet common dosage forms and strengths — only require you to add the active ingredients, instead of starting from scratch. By using premade bases, you can maintain consistency and accuracy in your compounds without using up too much time.
10. Hold Training Sessions
As you start implementing new procedures in your prescription filling process, make sure that your team doesn’t miss the memo. Hold training sessions with pharmacists, techs, and support staff to make sure that they learn the procedures and get cross-trained to handle different aspects of workflow.
Taking the time to do this training ensures you’re all on the same page and that you can operate smoothly even during peak hours or staff shortages.
If you want to have more time, energy, and resources for your pharmacy, try optimizing your dispensing process. By taking small steps to optimize your process — like using technology, prioritizing prescriptions, and working alongside your team — you can reduce the time it takes you to fill scripts while reducing errors and ensuring accuracy.
And it’s not just for your benefit — faster medications means happier patients. In this case, a few simple tweaks to your workflow can make all the difference.
What will you do to optimize your dispensing process?