Retail Pharmacy Workflow Basics

July 17, 2014 • Pharmacy Operations • Views: 110077

STEP 2: INPUT

The second step in the prescription filling process is known as “input.”  Here is where the actual prescription is read/interpreted and entered into the filling software and patient profile.  When a patient who has previously been to the pharmacy comes in with a new prescription, the prescription will move almost immediately to the input step.  In some software systems the prescription may still be scanned at the drop off step, but other systems call for scanning the prescription during or after the “input” step.

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If your drop off area and inputting area are separate, and if you don’t scan in prescriptions at drop off, then your workflow must have shelves on which to line up (in order) the prescriptions as they come in (typically in baskets or bags).

In my opinion, this step is probably the most important in the whole process.  More mistakes are made right here than anywhere else.  The physical location of this station will depend somewhat on the pharmacy software that you are using.  This is why it is important to pick your software prior to designing your workflow.

If your inputting step comes prior to scanning the prescription, be sure that this area has plenty of room for neatly organizing and laying out the prescriptions which have to be entered.  Having floated for a staffing company for a while, I can’t tell you how many inputting stations are not designed with sufficient room to put prescriptions down to be read and entered.  They have been crammed into a corner of a counter with no logical place to put the prescription while entering it.

The input station needs to be equipped with a phone and hopefully an ergonomic keyboard to prevent or minimize the strain on the hands and arms while typing.  The whole pharmacy needs to be well lit, but this station especially needs effective lighting.

Because the inputting station tends to encounter most of the troubles, a good workflow will allow for inputting at multiple locations in the pharmacy.  Getting hung up for any number of reasons can disrupt your workflow.  If you don’t have the ability to handle the input function from multiple locations, you will run into a bottleneck and the pressure will  build up.

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Author: Jason Poquette

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