STEP 6: CONSULTATION
The last key step in the pharmacy workflow is consultation. This is the place where the patient goes to speak with the pharmacist about their medication if they have any questions. This is, I would venture to guess, the most poorly designed step for most pharmacies.
The consultation area needs to be, in my opinion, distinct and separate from the verifying area that the pharmacist stands at while checking prescriptions. Failure to separate these areas can lead to an almost endless flow of interruptions while trying to carefully check prescription orders. But the consultation area cannot be too far from the verifying area either, or the pharmacist will waste too much time running back and forth.
Ideally the consultation area needs to be equipped with enough technology for the pharmacist to quickly look up patient profiles if needed. Sadly, many pharmacies seem to design their consultation areas almost reluctantly. The consultation area is often inconvenient for the pharmacist to access and entirely unequipped for answering real questions.
A truly efficient and patient-centered pharmacy will give a lot of thought to the consultation step in the prescription workflow. Here is where the pharmacist goes over new medications with patients and answers questions for other patients about all sorts of medication. It is intended for a “quick review” and not a full and detailed discussion about every aspect of the patient’s prescriptions. For more detailed discussions, pharmacies should also be equipped with a consultation ROOM or sitting area – but this isn’t fundamental to the actual workflow itself.