Retail Pharmacy Workflow Basics

July 17, 2014 • Pharmacy Operations • Views: 91618


The verifying step is where the pharmacist checks the final product before bagging or completing it.  In some workflow software there is actually a step for the pharmacist to check what was input prior to any labels being generated or pills counted.  Personally I think this is brilliant.  Those who are unfamiliar with how challenging a perfectly entered prescription can be, might not appreciate such a step.  Those who work in a busy store and are involved in training new technicians and interns tend to see the value.


But whether there are only 1 or 2 actual “verifying” steps in the workflow doesn’t matter.  The pharmacist should be able to do these from the same location with plenty of room to organize the baskets or bags of patient orders coming his/her way.  It is this final verifying step in which the pharmacist looks over the patient profile (was the right patient selected?) and looks over the prescription (did they pick the right drug, right directions, right refills, right doctor?).

The verifying position(s) need to also be equipped with easy access to frequently utilized filling supplies.  Often the pharmacist has to do the filling and counting of certain controlled substances.  There should be plenty of room for this.  They also need access to the locked narcotics, narcotic log books, bags and staplers, pens and notepads, counting trays and a phone.  The verifying station needs to be the most versatile workstation in the whole process.

Because the whole purpose of the verifying step is to catch and fix mistakes, the verifying station should be connected with a dedicated printer that is not typically used by others in the pharmacy.  When mistakes are caught, it often means generating a new label and placing the order back into the filling workflow to be corrected.


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Author: Jason Poquette

5 Responses to Retail Pharmacy Workflow Basics

  1. Vagabond says:

    Scan the Rx? What magic is this? Paper,paper,paper here.

  2. Gary Morrow, RPh says:

    Please eliminate a seemingly universal mistake at the drop-off station of workflow. I hear it all the time as a floater pharmacist and as a customer. I refer to the question “Have you been here before?”, or worse “Are you in our system?” or some variation of these. What are the possible answers to this question? A) “Yes I have.” The technician then looks in the computer for the patient info. Or option B) “No”, or “I don’t know”. The technician then looks in the computer. One day some smart-ass is going to sound off with option C): “You have the computer; why don’t you look it up and tell me!” Do you get it? Either way, the input station starts with accessing patient information. So skip those kinds of questions. They make you sound lazy. Besides, that is not the way to welcome the patient/client/guest to your pharmacy. People like to hear their names, so say it aloud as a form of greeting. It is the first step toward building goodwill and putting your customers at ease.

  3. jasonpoquette says:

    Hi Gary,
    You make a great point. Questions that don’t need to be asked are a waste of time and could be replaced by important questions for sure. The key to efficiency is to eliminate waste. This is definitely going to be included in my next article on Workflow 201 – Efficiency!

  4. Keish Hale,CPh.T says:

    I remember when I was working at Wal-Mart I worked the drop off window and enjoyed it. It takes precision to run the drop off effectively. Firstly, you have to make sure that you provide customer service because our customers are our bread and butter and we need to make sure that we treat each customer the way that we would like to be treated. Secondly, you must follow the 5 Rights to make sure accuracy is on point. The Tech has to be able to multi-task while at the drop off.

  5. Tom Hanson says:

    You forgot another workstation area, the drive-thru window. This adds so many more headaches and problems to the workflow you would not believe it. It also would requires your minimum staffing levels in a pharmacy to be 5 people and not 4.

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