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.