Pharmacy Workflow Magic with Don Grove Part II

September 16, 2014 • Interviews • Views: 5712

Yesterday I introduced Don Grove, a pharmacist and pharmacy entrepreneur who is changing the face of retail Pharmacy Workflow in PART I of this interview.  Today we continue our talk with Don by asking a question which, in my opinion, far too few pharmacy owners consider.


4)  Why is work flow so important for community pharmacies?         

One reason and one reason only: TIME.

By saving time we can increase our net profit. If you don’t want more net profit then add services you didn’t think you had time to complete each day. If you are my age then spend that time doing what you want to do outside of the pharmacy. If we don’t verify more Rx’s per pharmacist and have our techs fill more then we have no control over our payroll. Many are losing Rx volume due to competition, restricted PBM contracts and 3rd party mandatory mail order so the only solution is adding niches and lowering expenses. Start with salaries as they are the 2nd largest expense behind COG.

We run our pharmacy with ½ the national average of full time equivalent pharmacists for our volume. On a busy day it only takes 1 ½ pharmacists to verify 700+ Rx’s and a friend of mine has 4 pharmacists filling over 500+ a day. Most have 4 pharmacists with that 700 number volume. Using our work flow most pharmacies can save a minimum of $140,000 a year and maybe not replace one technician on a rehire, saving another $30,000. The time savings translates to staying in business in the future and not having to sell out to a chain since no one else may want your pharmacy when you want to get out. 

Several years ago we came up with a serendipity work flow since I didn’t like being next to the technicians due to a hearing problem and their unceasing banter. I asked my pharmacist manager to give me my own verification station away from the technicians. The rest is history. This was before there was a computerized work flow software solution so we ended up separating our filling process into 4 distinct physical areas: intake, tech filling station, pharmacy checking station and OTC sacking station.

After Computer Rx developed their work flow software we combined ScriptPro robotics with our voice Tech IVR and our separate and unique work stations. In our little town of 2000 in Warsaw I have verified over 1000 in one day by myself which I called the perfect storm. Today our pharmacists when working by themselves feel comfortable with 350-500 and peaks of 700. The national average is about 128 per pharmacist. This is squeezing in vaccinations in their spare time. The average for technicians is 55 and our technicians sometimes fill 170.

With our newly developed inventory carousels, bagging carousels, pharmacy and technician work stations and urgency colored bagging system it is once again increasing our speed and accuracy without jeopardizing employee satisfaction levels.

By increasing efficiency in Work Flow in a typical pharmacy you will see the net profits can double and almost triple by reducing your second highest expense, salaries. Now pharmacists can have time to do more what they were trained to do: counseling, vaccinations, MTM, medication adherence, compounding, consulting, physician detailing, etc.

Tune in tomorrow to hear PART III of our chat with Don Grove.            


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Author: Jason Poquette

6 Responses to Pharmacy Workflow Magic with Don Grove Part II

  1. rgs_rx says:

    This guy is just a one man CVS, squeezing and exploiting his pharmacists and technicians, looking to cut salaries, etc. to “compete” with the chains. He IS a chain. How much patient interactions, counseling, etc. did he do on his “perfect storm” day of 1000+ verifications? Sounds like he is hiding behind his volume to avoid revealing his lack of clinical knowledge to his other pharmacists who might trade a few Rx verifications for some counseling.
    !000 Rx’s in a day? Sheesh…the only information his patients’ received from him was the view of the top of his head.

    • Don Grove says:

      month we were interviewed on a popular pharmacy blog by pharmacist, Jason
      Poquette, called The Honest Apothecary.
      I made the mistake of saying I verified 1000 Rx’s in one day which I
      called the perfect storm. If you watched
      the movie then you realize the
      men on that ship were not bragging what a great day it was but rather telling
      how they got through hell. No, I did not
      counsel many patients that day. They all understood, especially
      the 10 cars in our 2 drive up windows. Sometimes you are in survival
      mode and just try to keep from crying as that won’t help anyone. This was that day. My pharmacist manager, Jennifer Jelinek, was
      really offended by the post of rgs rx and I would like to share her answer with
      the pharmacists that mistranslate high Rx volume into incredible incompetence
      and apathy for patients and fellow employees.
      I appreciate her righteous anger pummeling those that think our
      oxymoronic work flow somehow relegates us to a less than competent
      pharmacy. I always question the
      integrity of a pharmacist that doesn’t seem to care about the owner’s net
      profit. They are working under the
      false assumption they will get a paycheck no matter how much work they do or don’t do. Any owner/pharmacist that thinks he/she can
      run their pharmacy today the way they did years ago doesn’t realize we are all
      in survival mode unless you want to pay yourself technician wages just so you
      can say you own your own pharmacy.

  2. jasonpoquette says:

    Hi rgs,
    Well, you’ve made a lot of assumptions in your comments. I have personally spoken with his staff. You wouldn’t believe how much extra time they have to do counseling and grow their business. I understand what you are thinking. You just don’t realize what is possible when you hire/train/retain exceptional talent and combine that with the best efficiency and technology. His “perfect storm” is not the norm. Thanks for reading though.

  3. Jennifer Jelinek says:

    Hi, my name is Jennifer Jelinek. I have managed J&D for almost 20 years
    now and am proud to be a part of a successful INDEPENDENT pharmacy for as long
    as I have!
    I am appreciative of the comment. If one person stated such
    assumptions, others are thinking them. I think there is a disconnect because the focus of this article is meant to be entirely on production and it is being assumed that is all we are about. A production process that is high in efficiency and holds deep regards for safety allows for deeper clinical interactions to take place still with a more efficient staff. A reply in a thread unfortunately doesn’t allow me to thoroughly cover all that we do in the areas of patient care and employee satisfaction. They are absolutely topics of their own. I would like to share a few.

    We have two private counseling windows and one dedicated
    office for in-store patient interactions that are WELL USED by the CLINICAL Pharmacist. We are strong in MTM and one-on-one reviews of patients with multiple medications.
    We have a smoking cessation program and multiple community programs that
    involve not only in-store Pharmacist involvement, but outside. A few would be poison prevention programs in the schools, health fairs, off-site vaccinations, and regular in person nursing home visits to allow these patients to know their pharmacist too. For non-clinical patient issues (i.e. insurance help, synchronization, and transportation
    issues) we have a Patient Services Coordinator entirely dedicated to making
    sure the other areas of our patients needs are taken care of.

    Employees are valued and respected in the highest regards. Our philosophy allows employees to contribute and take ownership in their piece of the process. We
    have many of the well-known perks like a bonus program, profit sharing, an
    outstanding benefit package, and insurance. We work hard to go beyond these by adding rewards for peer recognition, a concentration of keeping salaries ABOVE the norm, employee input for new implementations is integral (often employees lead projects), and Don’s philosophy has always been family first.

    My comparison for “The Perfect Storm” will be to that of a luxury sport’s car. Most of the time we just drive along effortlessly enjoying the extra features, but there are those
    occasional days we have to hit the gas and be thankful for the extra built in
    safety features and that the fast and efficient engine is there to speed us
    along without dogging us down.

  4. MC says:

    I’m not sure why rgs_rx is seemingly angry but I found the article to be very informative. I would like to thank you for letting other owners see what your team has built.



  5. Adavnced Rx says:

    good post! effective points
    please do visit our website

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