Improving the efficiency of your pharmacy workflow can be transformative. Each element in your workflow impacts the next element. When one or more aspects of your pharmacy dispensing workflow aren’t optimized, it can throw everything off track. The reality is that optimizing your pharmacy workflow is the first and most important step in improving your output, efficiency, and the way you serve your facilities
Pharmacy workflow impacts every element of your pharmacy. The workflow affects how pharmacists and other staff spend their time, how quickly facilities get access to their medications, how much space is needed to get the work done, and even how many people need to be on staff.
The pharmacy dispensing workflow can also impact the accuracy of medication dispensing. In long-term care pharmacies and central fill pharmacies, the volume of medications and the complexity of patient needs make it even more important for you to maximize your pharmacy workflow. Analyzing and adjusting your pharmacy workflow as needed can improve efficiency and quality at your pharmacy.
Most Common Problems in Pharmacy Workflow
The workflow at your pharmacy can get slowed down or interrupted for a number of reasons, including human error, lack of space, staffing issues, and underperforming equipment.
The potential for human error is a major concern when it comes to dispensing medications. Filling a prescription incorrectly, accidentally dispensing the wrong medication, or failing to recognize potential reactions between medications are all errors that have the potential to impact the patient.
Human error at any point during the workflow can slow everything down and put patients at risk. The good news is that you can build safeguards into the workflow to minimize risk and check for potential errors. For example, a medication detection machine can check and verify the contents of each medicine pouch visually against a library built from your own formulary.
Lack of Space
An efficient pharmacy dispensing workflow will allow the staff to seamlessly move through the process of filling prescriptions. However, a lack of space inside your pharmacy can make it feel impossible to set your workflow up in the most efficient manner. If the space in your pharmacy is not large enough to accommodate your current volume without interruptions in the workflow, it is time to look at ways that you can improve your workflow within the space you have. One option is to consider space-saving pharmacy automation equipment. Noritsu has compact pharmacy automation equipment designed to handle a high volume of medications while taking up a minimum amount of floor space in your pharmacy.
Staffing issues can also make it difficult to optimize your pharmacy dispensing workflow. If you do not have enough people to staff each station in your workflow, the entire process will slow as one person manages multiple stations. If you have enough staff but not enough space for everyone to work, your workflow can be affected because people are getting in each other’s way. Part of improving your workflow is having the staff you need in a space that can accommodate them.
Underperforming equipment is a common problem for pharmacy workflows. Technology continues to improve the world of medication dispensing. This is great news for busy LTC and central fill pharmacies. If you have equipment that is outdated and underperforming, it means that your workflow is not as efficient as it could be. The solution to this workflow issue is to invest in the technology and equipment your pharmacy needs. Noritsu offers you multiple levels of technology to streamline productivity with solutions that make logistical and financial sense for your pharmacy.
How to Improve Workflow in Your Pharmacy
The first step in improving the workflow in your pharmacy is to figure out what is and is not currently working. Are there clear areas in your workflow that slow the entire process? Is it easy for you to identify the areas that need attention? If so, you can get started with the process of improving your pharmacy dispensing workflow. Options for improving workflow in your pharmacy include redesigning your current workflow, adjusting your staffing needs, and getting pharmacy automation equipment.
If you’re having a hard time identifying problems in your workflow – or are concerned that you will miss some important issues – you can bring in some outside help. Every pharmacy dispensing workflow has room for improvement and increased efficiency. You’ll gain important insight into the strengths and weaknesses of your pharmacy workflow by getting a professional workflow analysis. Workflow consulting can help you identify the changes you need to make in order to maximize the efficiency of your pharmacy workflow.
Another big part of streamlining your pharmacy dispensing workflow is to bring in pharmacy automation solutions. Noritsu has a range of automation equipment and software that can help you streamline your workflow, maximize the space in your pharmacy, reduce human error, and improve patient compliance. You can bring in a complete automation system or pick and choose the pieces that will have the biggest impact on your workflow, and fit within your budget.