Pharmacy Workflow Automation in a Nutshell

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The healthcare industry is an ever-changing and challenging one. As a result, it has forced pharmacies to adopt modern technologies in order to stay competitive. One such technology is pharmacy workflow automation. 

Human error is inevitable and it is estimated that around 980,00 to 400,000 medical errors happen in hospitals in the united states since 1999. Therefore, the solution is pharmacy workflow automation. This is because of the intuitive belief that increased use of automation and technology in the medication use process increases patient safety and reduces pharmacy errors. 

Pharmacy workflow automation is the process that automates tasks related to dispensing medicines to customers. It helps pharmacists work efficiently by eliminating repetitive manual work activities that can be highly time-consuming and error-prone. Some of the benefits of having a pharmacy workflow include:

  • Improving customer service levels by streamlining processes
  • Reducing workloads and costs by simplifying paperwork processes
  • Providing better tracking capabilities of inventory supplies/inventory management systems (IMS)

Pharmacy Workflow Defined

Pharmacy workflow is the process of handling medication orders in a pharmacy. It is the most important step in the medication dispensing process. The pharmacy workflow is defined by:

  • The type of pharmacy and medicine being dispensed.
  • The type of order that each patient has placed with your pharmacy (i.e., a new prescription for an antibiotic, or filling an existing prescription).
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Why Pharmacy Workflow should be Automated?

Automated pharmacy workflow is more efficient and reduces human error, making for a safer, more compliant environment for patients. Automation also improves productivity and cost savings by reducing the number of hours spent on tasks that could be automated or outsourced to third-party vendors.

Steps in a pharmacy dispensing workflow process

A pharmacy workflow is a process of how a pharmacy performs tasks related to dispensing prescriptions, such as receiving and processing orders. Some pharmacies have their own processes, but most follow the same general steps. The steps in this workflow are:

  • Triage and receiving prescription
  • E-prescriptions
  • Retrieval from shelves
  • Clinical checks
  • Labeling and packaging

Triage and receiving prescription

The pharmacist is responsible for ensuring that drugs and other items are administered safely and effectively while complying with established policies and procedures. After receiving a prescription from the patient, you need to check for these things:

  • Completeness. You need to ensure all of the information in your system is correct. If there are any typos or missing data, correct them before filling out the prescription.
  • Accuracy and safety. Once you have confirmed that all of your data is accurate and complete, ensure it is safe for use by others who could also be affected by this medication (such as children). 
  • Appropriateness. This refers both to dosage consistency between different patients’ needs as well as relative potency levels within those same doses. Both factors should vary according to age bracket so users aren’t exposed to unnecessarily high concentrations over long periods of time unless absolutely necessary. Plus factor into consideration whether anything else might affect how well such medications work together with other medicines already present on board. 

E-prescriptions

Electronic prescriptions are a digital method of sending a prescription from the doctor to the pharmacy. They can be sent from the patient’s doctor, or the patient may send them directly to their pharmacy.

Electronic prescribing has been shown to reduce prescription errors by eliminating paper-based communications between doctors and pharmacists. This allows for more accurate dosing information, as well as improved communication during interactions between patients and providers.

Retrieval from shelves

Retrieving a product from the shelves is a very simple process. 

  • First, you must select the item that you want to retrieve. 
  • Second, you need to place your order by entering its information into the system (such as name and price). 
  • Thirdly, someone will bring out your requested item from its shelf location and place it on top of your shopping cart. Then it can be scanned at checkout before being picked up by another employee who will package everything up for shipping purposes.

Clinical checks

Clinical checks are a vital part of the dispensing process. They ensure that your patient has the correct medication and that it is safe to take, as well as checking for any possible interactions between drugs.

It is important to note that clinical checks can be performed by different people depending on what you are working on at a given moment. Pharmacy assistants, pharmacists, and nurse practitioners will all conduct certain types of clinical checks during their daily duties at work. However, some tasks require more specialist knowledge than others (for example an accuracy check).

Labeling and packaging

Labeling and packaging are important for safety and security. The label on a drug product identifies the 

  • manufacturer, 
  • lot number, 
  • expiration date (if applicable), 
  • name of the drug, 
  • dosage form, and 
  • strength or concentration. 

A package may also include directions for use that details how to take the medication safely.

Labeling is an integral part of the pharmacy workflow. This is because it ensures patient safety when it comes to differentiating between prescription medications and over-the-counter products like cold remedies or cough syrups. 

Additionally, labeling can be used as evidence if there is any question. Whether a person purchased a particular drug before leaving their home or when they are out looking for groceries or other things they need during their day-to-day lives outside of work hours. It helps you keep track of where everything goes each day.

Other dispensing tasks

  • Prepare and deliver medicine to patients.
  • Deliver medicine to other places.
  • Check for expired medicine, missing medicine, damaged or returned drugs, and stolen or mislabeled vials of medication.

Dispense to a patient or to a pick-up

If you are dispensing medication to a patient, it is important that your pharmacy workflow is set up so that the patient or their representative can pick up their prescription. You can do this in two ways:

  • The patient picks up the medication themselves. This means that you will need to ensure that patients have access to an easy way to get their prescriptions filled. It is also good to have some sort of system where they can mark whether or not they want a refill before leaving.
  • Staff members pick up prescriptions from patients who are unable or unwilling to do so themselves (for example, if someone has dementia). In this case, it is important for staff members to at least know how many doses are on hand so they don’t waste any time waiting around with an empty bottle in hand.

Adhering to standard medicine dispensing procedure is of vital importance as any error can be lethal to the patients. If any error is found during the dispense, it must be corrected immediately and rectified before the medicine reaches the patient. 

Pharmacy workflow can be a complex process. The steps listed above are just the tip of the iceberg, and there are many more to go. So this is where Cflow will help you simplify your pharmacy workflow process. 

Strategies to Improve Pharmacy Workflow

If you are in a position to improve your workflow, you may be wondering what the best way is to do so. The answer is simple – find the bottleneck and remove it! Here are five strategies that can help improve pharmacy workflow:

Identify problem areas.

Workflow analysis is the process of identifying bottlenecks, duplicate tasks, and other issues that slow down your pharmacy workflow. To do this, you will need to analyze your current workflow and look for areas where work is duplicated or not done in a timely manner. Once you have identified these issues, it is time to develop strategies for tackling them. 

Use automation software to create a better workflow.

Go for automation. Automated workflow management software like Cflow allows you to easily create multiple workflows for faster and more efficient transactions. Workflow automation software will be a powerful tool, especially for a pharma organization. It helps you to do more with less by automating your operations, processes, and procedures. By automating dispensing tasks, you can save time and money while increasing efficiency.

You can also use workflow automation software to improve the quality of your services, increase the number of customers that you serve, reduce labor costs and even increase revenues for your company.

Add more pharmacy staff to reduce bottlenecks.

If you have the right people on board and they are working in an efficient manner, this can lead to a significant increase in productivity. One way of ensuring that these improvements are made is by having a clear understanding of what constitutes an acceptable level of service for each person who works at your pharmacy or clinic. For example, if one member of staff spends 20% more time doing paperwork than another member who does similar jobs but has less experience and training (and therefore higher turnover rates), then it would probably be wise for them to be rewarded with extra money or some other form of recognition such as praise from senior management or colleagues within their department/departmental team

Improve the flow of information within a pharmacy department.

This is a simple way to improve your pharmacy workflow. A single communication platform, database, and system of record can be used for all work in the department, simplifying the flow of information and making it easier for employees to find what they need when they need it. 

Also, when there is only one point person who can answer questions about inventory or workflow management issues, you don’t have to worry about multiple people being able to provide answers because each has their own responsibilities. 

In addition to improving efficiency at different levels within the organization itself. This also helps ensure that everyone knows exactly how things are supposed to run so no surprises occur down the road when someone asks “How long should my order take?”

Implement best practices and processes throughout the pharmacy department, starting with a good plan of action to create a workable system.

It is important to start with a good plan of action. Then, you can create a workable system that will be followed by everyone in your pharmacy department. Make sure that all employees are on board with the new process and procedures, so they are familiar with how things work when doing their jobs correctly.

Once you have implemented best practices and processes throughout your pharmacy department, check back on their effectiveness every six months or whenever needed to make sure everything is still running smoothly. 

Implementing these strategies can help you eliminate bottlenecks in the workplace and make better use of employee time

Now that you have a better understanding of what bottlenecks are, it is time to get rid of them using these strategies:

  • Improve workflow by streamlining processes and making sure your pharmacy is as efficient as possible.
  • Reduce bottlenecks by implementing policies and procedures that reduce the number of tasks you need to do every day or week.
  • Make better use of employee time by giving employees more flexibility in how they spend their hours each day (for example, by offering flexible schedules).

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Know the Benefits of Pharmacy Workflow Automation

Workflow automation is a tool that helps healthcare organizations ensure that the right information gets to the right people at the right time. It can help make sure that patients get the treatment they need when they need it, which means better outcomes for everyone involved.

Why streamlining pharmacy workflows is a good idea.

  • Improved patient experience. With a streamlined process, your pharmacy can deliver consistent and timely service to patients, who will be able to get their medications on time. This is important because it helps you avoid unnecessary trips to the doctor or emergency room, which can be costly and time-consuming for both you and them.
  • Reduced costs. Investing in automation saves money over time by reducing the number of missteps made by staff members. From recruiting new talents to buying new software applications, automation can reduce future maintenance costs down the road.

How pharmacy workflow automation can help both pharmacy staff and customers.

Automation can help pharmacy staff in a number of ways. It reduces manual data entry, which is the most common cause of errors. With automation, you don’t need to worry about entering the same information over and over again – the system does it for you! This saves time and increases efficiency for both your staff and your patients.

Automation also helps improve patient care by reducing wait times and providing more accurate medication information at a faster pace than ever before. By using workflow automation software like Cflow, your employees can reduce their operational costs while improving patient interactions through improved workflow processes. 

Automation increases customer satisfaction because it eliminates long wait times at pharmacies and eliminates confusion over medication orders that are filled incorrectly due to mislabeled bottles or expired prescriptions.

Improving workflows can make the patient experience better and improve care quality.

As a pharmacist, you might have noticed that some of your tasks are repetitive and tedious. You spend a lot of time entering information into different systems, which can be time-consuming.

With pharmacy workflow automation software, you can save money by reducing errors in reporting and billing processes. This will also help improve patient experience because it is much easier for pharmacists to get important information quickly from computer screens instead of manually typing it into the system every day or week.

How Pharmacy Workflow Automation like Cflow helps

  • Automation can improve efficiency and accuracy.
  • Automation can reduce errors and improve patient safety.
  • Automation can help with workflow management, data management, and compliance.

Cflow is a cloud-based software that helps to automate pharmacy workflow.

It is easy to use and affordable, so it can be used by anyone who wants to create a fully automated pharmacy workflow.

Medication non-adherence is becoming a huge problem for which digitization can give you the apt solution to automate your workflows and keep track of your patients’ medication. So you can create a workflow process with Cflow to follow up on your patients’ prescriptions. 

Here is a sample pharmacy dispensing workflow created with Cflow. You can create and customize workflows as per your business needs. 

This is the form view of the dispensing process where you can enter patient details, and medication details, add rules to automate approvals and record pharmacy orders. 

The pharmacy workflow created here works as follows: 

When the order for medicines is received, the pharmacist interprets the prescription order and screens the prescription in order to validate that the medicines are for the correct patient. They can check the patient’s medication history from the workflow. Their list of past medicines, dosage details, and other relevant information can be found here. 

Based on this information, the pharmacist interprets the prescription order and handles the prescription carefully. Now the pharmacist checks for the availability of the medicines from the stocks. Once the medicines are packed, they can be sent to the senior pharmacist for review and upon their approval, the medicines can be dispatched. The purchase details can also be added to the workflow for easier patient management. Using a pharmacy workflow like this can save time, increase productivity, minimizes errors, and enhance customer relations. 

So, this is how you can automate a pharmacy dispensing workflow using Cflow.

Wrapping up

Hope this article gave you some insights into the benefits of pharmacy workflow automation. As we have seen, it can help improve care quality and patient experience, while also saving time and money. We also made sure to mention how it can be used by both pharmacists and customers. If your company is looking for ways to streamline processes or just cut costs, then Sign up for a free consultation.  

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