Have you had problems implementing an effective workflow in your pharmacy? Do you already have a productive workflow in place, but you’d like to better your processes?
Once you have the workflow set up in place, you can improve your workflow by exploiting the technology at your disposal to streamline all the steps of successfully filling a prescription. To help you along, here are five technology features to help improve pharmacy workflow.
If you’re using all stations in the workflow process, such as input, fill, tech check, pharmacist verification, and clerk, your prescription will be reviewed twice before it goes to the patient. While this is an important security measure, some choose to skip the tech check or pharmacist verification to increase their workflow efficiency.
With electronic checking methods built right into your pharmacy software, you can take all precautions without disrupting your workflow. The check allows the fill technician to scan the bottle and shows an image of the medication to quickly verify the correct drug and shows the scanned image of the hardcopy so the patient information can be verified.
If you want to ensure that your techs are checking that all the information is correct you might even be able to turn on a feature that requires the technician to check off each piece of information as they verify it.
The pharmacist verification allows for review of higher level information, such as other prescriptions in the workflow for the patient, med guide requirements, and drug pricing information. The pharmacist may have the option to skip some of the check features and pass the prescription by an override, expediting the verification process by not having to review what your technician already has.
You probably refer to these more often as robots. Robots integrate with your pharmacy software to expedite counting or automate dispensing of some prescription medications. Robots are an excellent way for high volume pharmacies to increase workflow efficiency.
When using a counting device, like an Eyecon, to expedite and verify counting, you will pour the medication into the tray on the machine. The machine then views the medication to verify that it’s the correct drug and counts the medication. If there are issues with the count or medication, such a broken pills, a red X will appear on the display screen, alerting you to an issue.
Automated counting machines, like Parata or Scriptpro, are filled with medications which are automatically dispensed when you select to fill that prescription in your pharmacy software. Pharmacies use these for their most commonly filled prescriptions, making their workflow much more efficient.
Will-call bins are a great way to create structure in your pharmacy workflow. In a standard workflow process the prescription will be tracked by your pharmacy software as it passes through each workflow station. For example, it might say “filled,” which indicates that it’s waiting for pharmacist verification. This makes it easy for any of your staff to locate a prescription at any time in the dispensing process.
In a pharmacy workflow where will-call bins are in use, a prescription that has been pharmacist verified goes to the clerk to be put into a will-call bin. The clerk will scan the prescription and then the barcode on one of the hanging bags. This assigns the prescription a bin number, making it quick to find when the patient arrives in your pharmacy.
IVR and Online Refill
IVR and Online Refill are not new advancements to pharmacy technology. Big chain pharmacies have been using them for years to decrease call volume in their stores and create a convenient solution for their patients to request refills. However, these solutions also serve as a way to streamline workflow.
When refill requests come in through the IVR or online refill request they go to your refill queue. This eliminates not only taking refill requests over the phone but finding the prescriptions that are ready for refill in your software.
When your employees aren’t stopping every few minutes to take refill requests, they’re able to focus on their tasks, get in a rhythm, and produce better results.
Third-Party Interfaces and Integrations
Interfaces and integrations in your pharmacy software with third-party companies are the most effective way to streamline your workflow. They allow you to connect with third-party companies while still working in your pharmacy software.
Some common integrations are switching companies and wholesalers. When integrated with switching companies, sending and reversing claims is as easy as the click of a button. Pharmacies that choose wholesalers that integrate with their pharmacy software can set up automatic ordering based off of inventory and create and send purchase orders through their management system.
Interfaces, such as those for Mirixa and OutcomesMTM, save time by not only putting the website you need to access available by clicking a button, but allowing for single sign-on. This allows the process of completing MTM cases to flow seamlessly into your workflow.
You may already have one or more of the tech features mentioned here implemented in your workflow. By using all five you’ll be able to provide excellent patient care in the most efficient way possible.
If you’re interested in learning more about how the right pharmacy software system can help your pharmacy business, click below!