You now know the 6 basic steps to the prescription workflow in a typical retail pharmacy. We have not focused on pharmacy software or hardware per se. We haven’t talked about many other essential elements to operating a successful pharmacy. But we’ve reviewed the basic workflow, the critical hinge upon which the whole pharmacy turns. A focus on workflow is critical for patient safety, staff development and job satisfaction. A well functioning workflow will promote pharmacy growth, as prescription will be filled more efficiently – allowing more time for interacting with patients, providers and marketing of services.
An understanding of workflow also helps to inform managers and business owners about staffing essentials. Although it is possible for the same person to take a prescription through every step, you can quickly see that in a busy pharmacy there are certain minimal staffing requirements if things are going to be efficient. One person cannot be involved in both DROP OFF and PICKUP at the same time.. FILLING and VERIFYING are separate steps. In some pharmacies the PICKUP cashier can double as an OTC associate who helps stock the shelves and assists customers finding products while keeping an eye on the register. Given these workflow steps, in a busy pharmacy without any extensive automation, a minimum of 4 people (1 pharmacist, 2 techs and a cashier) should normally be present at all times.
A well-functioning workflow is work – but it is well worth it in the end.