Pharmacy is always hectic, but during the holiday season, it might feel more akin to chaos.

With last-minute travel plans and prescription refills, vaccines and seasonal sicknesses, and all of the holiday party shenanigans, your schedule is probably more than packed full. This isn’t even considering potential winter storms, getting scripts to patients out in the cold, and storing medications to last through the winter.

With all of these considerations, December might seem like the most stressful time of the year. Luckily, a little preparation goes a long way in making sure your pharmacy stays stocked, your procedures stay in place, your patients stay safe — and you feel a little less stressed.

Try out these six strategies for a more merry holiday season:

1. Streamline Your Workflow

During the hustle and bustle of December, an efficient workflow is more important than ever. Make sure your team works like a well-oiled machine so that you can get scripts out the door (or drive-thru window) and perform all of your essential services.

The best way to optimize your workflow is to use your pharmacy software system. Features like prescription queues, patient verification, and integrated point-of-sale systems mean everything can move smoothly.

If your software doesn’t already include these features, you may want to consider switching to a new one.

Check out our Compare Software page for a list of the best ones. For more tips and tricks on workflow, visit our blog, How to Further Streamline Your Pharmacy Workflow.

2. Prep Meds for the Colder Months

Your pharmacy software should also help you effectively manage medications. Features like inventory management and integrated wholesale ordering make sure that your shelves stay stocked.

Aside from keeping your shelves stocked, pay attention to temperature controls that may affect certain medications.

Keep your pharmacy at an optimal temperature, and when you fill temperature-sensitive scripts, remind patients to keep them in a cool (but not cold), dry place.

Finally, prevent any stress-induced medication errors by double-checking scripts and using your software for prescription verification.

3. Offer Telepharmacy Services

Telepharmacy is a valuable tool for your team, especially during the winter months. 

Inclement weather or seasonal illnesses may prevent patients from visiting the pharmacy in person, so an alternative may be in order.

Depending on your patients’ needs, you can offer a number of telepharmacy services: from virtual messaging to video consultations to mobile refill options. Many of these services can be integrated with your pharmacy software system to ensure easy access.

To learn more about telepharmacy, visit our blog, What is Telepharmacy?: Challenges, Opportunities, and Outlook.

4. Optimize Seasonal Vaccines

Whether it’s the flu, COVID-19, or any other seasonal illness, you’ll likely see an uptick in vaccinations around the holidays. A few tips to streamline your vaccinations:

  • Use your patient database to identify eligible patients
  • Automate vaccination reminders via text or messaging system
  • Use an appointment scheduler (ideally built into your pharmacy software)
  • Use inventory management tools to keep track of your stock
  • Use digital tools to provide information on vaccine safety, effectiveness, and potential side effects
  • Report vaccines to state/national registries
  • Submit claims via your software for billing and reimbursement
  • Automate follow-up messages for patients

Again, many of these processes can be automated in your pharmacy software system — making it all the more important that you choose the right one.

5. Prepare for Inclement Weather

Winter weather can bring a range of emergencies, including severe snowstorms, power outages, transportation disruptions, and icy conditions. That’s why it’s important to make sure you have a disaster plan in the case of your pharmacy.

A few important things to have on your checklist:

  • An emergency contact list
  • A backup of patient records
  • Secure data storage
  • Pharmacy closure protocols
  • Patient outreach protocols
  • Alternative power sources, like generators
  • Backup location availability 

6. Support Your Team

The holidays are all about community, and that includes your pharmacy team. If you find that you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or burnt out, make sure that you have a supportive team surrounding you.

Discuss how you can split tasks, alleviate burdens, and take care of one another. 

Outside of the pharmacy, make sure your team has plenty of time to spend with family and friends around the holidays. The extra time for rest and relaxation can go a long way in improving morale and keeping employees happy well past the holiday season.

It can be challenging to fit everything in a day’s work, but if you work at it together, you stand a much better chance.


December is the most wonderful time of year, but it’s also the most stressful.

As the holiday season approaches, start considering how to keep your pharmacy running smoothly.

This includes preparing for holiday demands, inclement weather, and filling scripts while keeping your team happy and healthy. It also means being flexible and offering a helping hand — and when you need a helping hand, asking for it.

It’s a lot of work, but with the right strategies in place and the right software by your side, you can make this December merry and bright for everyone.