Filling prescriptions in an efficient and timely manner is critical to both serving your patients and lowering your pharmacy’s operating costs. However, as industry-wide issues such as quality ratings and healthcare reform continue to put pressure on pharmacies, pharmacy efficiency is becoming even more important. As prescription dispensing volumes increase, you must gain efficiencies and reduce dispensing costs to ensure patient safety and satisfaction.

Here are 6 ways to optimize the efficiency of your pharmacy.

1.   Workflow measurement

You will never know if you are making progress unless you have set up a way to monitor your process workflow. The first step is to determine what your fundamental requirements are and what you need to measure. We want to measure accuracy in pharmacy, but we should also consider productivity.

After you’ve established a basic metric, you’ll want to hold employees accountable. Metrics assist your staff in making decisions based on facts rather than whims or personal bias.

2.   Make your processes more automated

Many excellent technologies have been developed to assist pharmacists and technicians with prescription filling. Automation can be used to free up pharmacist time for other patient care activities, reduce service costs, or maintain service costs without adding extra staff, depending on your goals. For example, you could use a pill counter dispenser to free up pharmacists’ time for other tasks.

3.   Stock gestion

It is a problem to have too much or too little stock. Too much inventory consumes working capital and valuable shelf space, whereas too little can result in debt, customer complaints, and lost patients. Determine your most popular items and consider checking the reorder points on a regular basis.

In general, less safety stock is required for high-volume items that are frequently ordered. Slower-moving items can be checked less frequently, but more safety stock should be kept on hand. Stock levels should be reviewed on a regular basis to account for seasonal trends as well as growth. Controlling the repeat prescription will aid in stock holding.

4.   Consider shipping and receiving issues

Although you hope that everything goes as planned, you should prepare for shipping and receiving hiccups ahead of time. Collaboration with your vendor is critical to ensuring that medical equipment is delivered on time so that it can be properly implemented at your facility. Otherwise, you may need to store the equipment elsewhere until you are ready to use it.

Late equipment, on the other hand, has the potential to disrupt workflow and patient care. Set up your medical equipment purchases during off-peak hours to avoid unnecessary disruptions.

5.   Motion

Consider the small. Do you know how many steps your pharmacy’s pharmacists and technicians take each day? Consider the journey of a technician filling out a script. Is he/she required to leave their workstation in order to complete the order? Is the pharmacist/workstation technician equipped with all of the tools required to complete the task? Just because you have space doesn’t mean you have to use it all and spread out your work.

Move the work closer to the worker to improve operational efficiency. By bringing the work closer to the worker, you can reduce wasted travel time and increase productivity while improving employee satisfaction.

6.   Pay attention to what your employees say

Your employees can be a great source of new ideas and suggestions. Allow pharmacy employees to take a step back and observe all of your pharmacy’s key processes. Do they notice bottlenecks, unnecessary travel, or issues that cause process delays? Is there room for improvement? Make them keep track of their observations and report back to the team.

Encourage employees to brainstorm ideas for reducing steps, eliminating bottlenecks, and improving order flow. Sometimes, you don’t see little problems or details that need to be taken care of. Asking for advice from people you work with everyday is a good way to have a fresh and different perspective.

If you’re planning to improve your pharmacy’s efficiency and workflow, we recommend you use these tips. In fact, being able to save time for your technicians will also save some for your patients and clients, and improve your sales. Pay attention to every detail that you might have forgotten and listen to feedback from both your employees and clients.