Modern-day pharmacy relies on clinical services and value-based care. The industry favors pharmacies that are doing more than just filling a prescription.
Your independent pharmacy might have all the bells and whistles of the modern-day pharmacy, but sometimes you need to get back to the basics.
You should be able to carry out all of the basic functions of a pharmacy: patient consultation, point-of-sale services, detecting drug-drug interactions, and — for the purposes of this blog — filling a prescription.
Filling or dispensing a prescription makes a pharmacy a pharmacy. It fulfills the role of a pharmacist: dispensing medications to their patients correctly, efficiently, and ethically.
Here are ways you can enhance your pharmacy’s filling performance.
Have Someone Fill Scripts at All Times
Working in a pharmacy is a whirlwind of productivity. There’s always something to do, whether it’s checking customers out, picking up the phones, processing insurance claims, or stocking the shelves.
You wear many hats as an independent pharmacist or pharmacy technician, sometimes wearing them in rapid succession. The downside is that those tasks will fall to the wayside as you attend to others, inevitably disrupting your pharmacy’s workflow.
The lines will get longer as you answer more phone calls, and the phone queue will stack up the longer you help customers. However, everything will stop in its tracks if no one is filling prescriptions at all.
Have someone be filling scripts at all times. Even if you’re short-staffed, having someone filling prescriptions all the time will at least ensure those urgently needed prescriptions are ready to go.
After all, you can’t sell a prescription if it’s not already filled.
Make the Pharmacy Work For You
Your coworkers aren’t the only ones that determine your pharmacy’s workflow. The physical state of your pharmacy also dictates its success.
Organizing your pharmacy is like organizing your room. It takes time to do, but your future self — and future patients — will thank you for it.
It’s very easy for your pharmacy to build clutter. Your daily order comes in with tens, if not hundreds, of new medicine bottles, so your shelves get a little more crowded. Returned medications that weren’t picked up need a place on your pharmacy shelves too.
Your pharmacy gets gradually more congested with medication bottles and other equipment, making simple tasks take a little longer to do. That extra time begins to add up, and before you know it, your pharmacy’s workflow is in disarray.
Declutter your pharmacy by cleaning your shelves often. Throw out bottles that are soon to be expired. Depending on the medication, you can dispose of bottles that expire a couple of months from now.
Make sure your shelves are healthily stocked and properly sorted.
If you haven’t already, create a “fast movers” section on your shelves dedicated to your pharmacy’s most dispensed items. These mainly apply to popular maintenance medications and antibiotics.
Cleaning and streamlining your shelves makes filling your prescriptions easier and more time efficient. You won’t have to search for a needle in a haystack while waiting in a line of patients. Even on the most hectic of days, having your pharmacy clean and well-situated will naturally promote workplace efficiency.
Maximize Your Pharmacy Software
Just like filling a prescription, your pharmacy software system is the bedrock of your pharmacy’s efficiency and success.
Have a software system that lets you prioritize which prescriptions to fill first. It doesn’t make much sense to have to fill a script that won’t be picked up for a few days before filling an urgently needed one.
Having this feature in your software allows you to dictate your pharmacy’s workflow and focus on what’s most pertinent at a given time.
Refill requests play a role in your pharmacy’s filling performance, namely patient adherence. A big factor in patient adherence is remembering to place an order. As such, your software should have an option for automatic refills.
This will make the refill process more streamlined since your pharmacy software system will automatically put the order in your queue when the time is right.
Now that your software has done all the heavy lifting, all you need to do is fill the script.
To compare the top pharmacy software systems, visit our Compare Software page.
Invest in a Pill Counter
Technology is a pharmacist’s best friend (as long as it properly works). Sometimes filling a 360-pill prescription of Metformin ER 850mg or fish oil pearls takes way longer than you’d like.
Not only are those huge quantities, but the large pills require multiple bottles and for you to constantly pour out your tray.
Enter pill counters. Whether you’re using a mobile app or purchasing actual equipment, pill counters can help ease your pharmacy’s workload if there are simply too many prescriptions in the queue.
Using a pill counter will considerably speed up the dispensing process, a huge plus for high-volume independent pharmacies.
A word of caution, however: no device or software is perfect. Though pill counters are made specifically for precision and accuracy, errors are inevitable.
Use pill counters for your popular maintenance medications but manually fill your controlled medications (schedule IV and II medications).
Pharmacy work is a balancing act of efficiency and accuracy. As the industry demands more clinical services and automation, it’s essential to never neglect the basics.
A pharmacy isn’t a pharmacy if it doesn’t fill prescriptions.
Declutter your pharmacy. Make sure the fill station is occupied at all times. Invest in pill counting hardware or software. They all serve to help your pharmacy work more efficiently as it continues delivering unique and personalized services.
Filling a prescription is the core essence of pharmacy work. It only helps to get better at it.