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Where's the green light for predictable pharmacy?

Your job is to create the systems and structures paired with people and resources that shift the balance of your Rx count as far to the predictable side as possible.

Imagine a traffic light. This light would sit atop your dispensary drop-off counter with the three usual colour options: red, yellow and green. This tricolour coding system would monitor the types of prescriptions coming in and change the colour based on how efficient your team was. I don’t mean wait time, but rather something else.

It would shine green if you were processing primarily predictable prescriptions, yellow if about half were predictable and the other half unpredictable, and it would signal red if your prescription volume was highly unpredictable.

An unpredictable prescription is one that you didn’t see coming. It is the traditional incoming retail missile that comes anytime since pharmacies often operate at the mercy of when their patients and prescribers decide it's time to make us busy.

You know the drill: a patient dropping off a request for 10 refills and waiting, a doctor calling in a pediatric dose antibiotic, prednisone and two inhalers for a parent who is on the way over now, a hospital discharge, or a compliance pack med change. They blindside us, and for some reason, these patients meet via conference call ahead of time to decide when to come in precisely together. Amirite?

Here, we are rushed and have no time for deep clinical intervention. We spend most of our time getting the right pills in the right bottle instead of deep diving on optimal drug therapy evaluation, the over-the-counter pairings, the non-pharm recommendations, the vaccination that goes with it or self-destructively, missing the billing of cognitive services and losing the opportunity for staff coaching. Did I mention all the owings?

The predictable prescription is just the opposite. It is automated. It gets done before the patient arrives. The IVR or mobile app order, the compliance pack, the med-synchronized auto-filled refill, the one sent to central fill or the one checked by the Regulated Technician. This type of prescription optimizes the clinical role of the pharmacist, enhancing patient care and the customer visit experience. Since the physical drug is ready and the clinical thought has already been put in, there is time to chat. Relationships form instead of transactions, and patients end up visiting the pharmacy with less frequent, higher value visits.

 

 

 

Jason Chenard illo
Jason Chenard illo

Your job is to create the systems and structures paired with people and resources that shift the balance of your Rx count as far to the predictable side as possible. Invest time and energy into knowing your patients and predicting what they need, when they need it, and constantly scan for patient groups that can be standardized like synchronizing your monthly injectables and monthly blister co-pays.

Rx count predictability correlates with enhanced safety, efficiency and care. Control as much as you can because green means go.

What does your traffic light say?

 

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