How many days this week have you had to skip lunch because you were too busy to stop for a few minutes and eat a sandwich? Like it or not, this is a common occurrence in the industry, especially for smaller pharmacies who only have a single pharmacist and one tech on staff. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could clear out just a few minutes during the day to give you and your team a break? Well, we've collected some tips that may speed up your workflow just enough to give you that little break you're looking for.
10 Pharmacy Workflow Tips to Speed Up Your Process
1. Fingerprint Log in
Passwords are a great way to secure employee accounts and private data against possible internal and external threats. However, to keep up with security, passwords must be changed frequently and follow strict guidelines to make them difficult to hack. The struggle here is that passwords that are difficult to hack are also difficult to remember, meaning more resetting and more time taken to get your day started.
The best way around this struggle is biometric login, or in the case of your pharmacy software, a fingerprint scanner. The fingerprint scanner is the most secure way to protect patient information while also ensuring that employees are operating under their own accounts. Not to mention that it takes only seconds for a small, relatively inexpensive piece of hardware to scan something you always have readily available—your fingerprint.
2. Keyboard Navigation
When inputting patient information the "Tab" and "Enter" keys on your keyboard are your best friends. Instead of typing then reaching back for your mouse to click into the next space then moving your hands to begin typing again, use your keyboard commands to navigate the screen. It may only shave a few seconds off a single step, but those add up over the time it takes to enter a new patient and their prescriptions.
3. Quick Keys
Quick keys go hand-in-hand with keyboard navigation. If your software partner has provided specific ways for you to navigate their system more efficiently, be sure to take advantage of those. Examples of quick keys could be pressing "Alt" or "Shift" along with a letter or number on your keyboard to take you to a specific input field on your screen. Another example includes using the "F1" through "F12" keys to navigate to an entirely different screen within the program. These are all great ways to minimize the back and forth between mouse and keyboard and shave time off your process.
4. Electronic Med Guides
Unless a medication comes prepackaged, printing the med guide is part of your workflow. You may choose to print it along with the label before or during the fill, after the prescription has been verified, or as you’re finalizing the sale. Either way it still takes time to load that longer-than-normal med guide paper, change out the toner, and deal with occasional paper jam. And don’t you just love when you get that “Printer offline” pop up?
Now, if your software partner has the capabilities, you can avoid these issues and the time and cost associated with them by providing your patients with access to electronic med guides for their prescriptions.
5. “Do it for me” Clinical Features
Clinical outcomes continue to affect the reimbursements and plan inclusivity in the independent pharmacy market, and it’s not looking as if this trend is going away anytime soon. However, it’s just not feasible for every pharmacy to staff someone to take on clinical outreach, which causes missed opportunities, dings to star ratings, and lost revenue.
In reaction to this some industry companies are creating services to help make clinical interactions more streamlined and integrated into the pharmacy workflow. Some software vendors have even added teams of clinicians to help bear the load of clinical interactions, creating a “Do it for me” feature in their programs, which allows a pharmacist to choose to have another certified pharmacy professional complete the interaction on their behalf for a share of the incentive. Talk about saving time while generating revenue.
6. Pharmacy Use Only Bins
Pharmacy use only bins are customizable bin tags that can be set in your pharmacy software, allowing you to quickly and efficiently communicate with the rest of your team when a prescription has been stopped for any reason. The bins may say “Waiting on PA” or “Out of Stock.”
These specialized bins save your clerk time trying to track down why a prescription isn’t ready, by quickly communicating the reason for any hold up.
7. Driver’s License Scanning
The only thing faster than using keyboard navigation to enter in patient information is using a barcode scanner to scan their driver’s license and having that information autofill for you. This is a great time saver, as long as all the information is correct. Be sure to verify before moving on to entering the prescription.
8. Packing List
Packing lists are another efficient way to use your scanner to save time and reduce errors. With the addition of a small receipt printer, a packing list can be created during pharmacist verification and placed in the will-call bin until the patient comes to pick up their medications.
The packing lists compiles all of the patient’s prescriptions on one receipt with a single barcode at the bottom. The barcode is scanned at checkout and all prescriptions show up on the POS screen for payment, taking less time to get through checkout and ensuring that no prescriptions are missed.
9. Hard Copy Scanning
Scanning the prescription before input gives you a digital copy in the system that can be referenced throughout the entire filling processing. This allows you to quickly file the hard copy away for audit purposes and refer to the scanned digital copy as needed.
10. Automatic NDC Correction
On occasion, when inputting prescription information you submit to insurance for an NDC that you later find you don’t have in stock. So, your fill tech pulls a different NDC of the same generic medication to fill, but during the pharmacist verification stage you are notified that the NDCs do not match. To fix this you would need to reverse the claim, change to the correct NDC, rebill insurance, reprint the label, and verify the corrected prescription. However, if your pharmacy software is equipped with a feature like NDC correction, you can complete these five steps with the click of a button and quickly move on to the next prescription waiting.
Do you use any of these methods? Do you find that they save you time? What shortcuts do you take throughout the day to save time? Share your responses in the comments!