It takes a village to run a successful independent pharmacy. A coach is nothing without their players and vice versa. Teamwork is a vital element in establishing a great workflow.
And in the pharmacy industry, few are as vital to an independent pharmacy’s success as pharmacy techs. They are your pharmacy’s star players, ready and able to take on the busy day ahead.
However — as we discussed in our “How to Handle the Latest Pharmacy Technician Shortage” blog — the industry is in flux regarding pharmacy techs. Whatever happens, however, the impact and importance of pharmacy techs are undeniable.
Here are ways pharmacy techs take your independent pharmacy to the next level.
Pharmacy work requires you to think on your feet. There’s always something happening — a drug is out of stock, the vaccine queue is becoming crowded, the phones are ringing off the hook.
Every situation requires its own, unique solution, which is what pharmacy techs excel at creating. The traditional workflow for a retail independent pharmacy usually consists of the following:
Pharmacy techs fill most prescriptions and handle the front end and drive-thru, while pharmacists are visually verifying prescriptions, counseling patients, and taking calls from doctors.
Think of pharmacy work like traffic. There are highways that require you to be fast and attentive, while the slower backroads require more patience and careful maneuvering.
Though they run at different speeds, they work towards a common goal: to get you where you — and your patients — need to be.
Pharmacy techs handle the hectic traffic of retail with swift efficiency and high attention to detail. They can deal safely swerve through deep potholes and come back later to patch them up — all the while maintaining a steady workflow.
Customer Service Excellence
Patient care and customer service go hand in hand. Your primary goal as an independent pharmacist is to direct your patients toward the best and brightest patient journey possible.
It’s the practical side of pharmacy work: effectively filling the prescription as prescribed by their patient’s doctor, administering vaccines when necessary, and monitoring their health through A1C and cholesterol screenings.
Then we get to more intangible aspects of patient care, also known as customer service. There are several reasons why patients stay at your independent pharmacy.
It’s likely because of your staff’s efficiency. But it’s also about how you make your patients feel. As mentioned earlier, pharmacy techs and clerks usually handle the point-of-sale aspects of your independent pharmacy.
They are face-to-face with patients, becoming your independent pharmacy's spokesperson.
The best pharmacy techs are masters of pharmacy work and customer service. They recognize that patient goes beyond dispensing medications. It’s also about making them feel comfortable and safe in their health journey.
Medications do the main work, but superb customer service is the cherry on top of the entire patient experience.
Experts in Patient Education
Another vital aspect of patient care is patient education. Your patients can’t get far along their health journey unless they know what the path consists of.
Patient education brings rhyme and reason to their health journey. It gives them a why and how when taking their medication.
Though pharmacy techs do not give patient consultations, they are able to field a wide array of patient questions. They know if a blood pressure medication is either a beta blocker or ace inhibitor.
They know which diabetic injections do not contain insulin, and so on.
Many independent pharmacies follow the “3 before me” strategy, meaning a tech should ask three different coworkers for help before going to you.
This ensures you’re talking to your patients when absolutely necessary, improving your independent pharmacy’s efficiency and workflow.
All in all, pharmacy techs push patient education to the forefront of their work through clear communication and exceptional customer service.
Master of the Pharmacy Software System
We’ve established that pharmacy techs are the traffic directors — and sometimes, the pit crew — of the workplace.
We’ve talked about how they are at the literal forefront of customer service and patient education. Now it’s time to look at how they interact with one of, if not the most important asset to your independent pharmacy: your pharmacy software system.
Returning to the vehicle analogy, pharmacy techs put a lot of miles into your pharmacy software. They know how to use it during rush hour or bumper-to-bumper traffic. They also know if they need a minor or major realignment.
In literal terms, your pharmacy techs know your pharmacy software system inside and out. They use it as much as you do. They use your pharmacy’s software to input prescriptions, process insurance claims, and so much more.
Your pharmacy techs know how great your pharmacy software system can be, and they also know where there can be some adjustments.
Their experience with your pharmacy software system helps inform you of the software’s true effectiveness.
Maybe their filling features perfectly handle your pharmacy’s bandwidth, but what about the point-of-sale process? Does it stop pharmacy work to a screeching halt when it should do the exact opposite?
Pharmacy techs offer valuable insight and feedback for all things relating to pharmacy work and software. All you have to do is listen.
Pharmacy techs keep the pharmacy world spinning. They are an invaluable resource for both your independent pharmacy and its patients.
Whether it’s managing the hectic traffic of pharmacy work or detecting pain points in your pharmacy software system, they help your small business reach its fullest potential.
They are the glue that keeps your independent pharmacy together. A good coach knows how to best use their players. And your pharmacy techs are ready, willing, and able to take your pharmacy’s game to the next level.