Pharmacy Inefficiencies

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Every doctor or surgeon relies on the accurate filling of their prescriptions by pharmacies in and out of hospitals. Hospital pharmacies being accurate is important because the patients are recovering from surgeries and serious illnesses. Mistakes can lead to serious health complications or even death. Yet, hospital pharmacies are prone to inefficiencies and even mistakes when filling prescriptions and preparing IV syringes and bags.

4 Places to Start Fixing A Hospital Pharmacy

The first place to start improving a hospital pharmacy is in the preparing of IV solutions. IV Automation can reduce human error and expand capabilities in a hospital pharmacy. A system such as RIVA automates compounding of aseptic preparations, preparing chemotherapeutic or non-chemotherapeutic doses and adding them to syringes or IV bags. This automation reduces contamination and human error during these repetitive and complex jobs.

Automation such as this frees pharmacy personnel to do other important tasks and fill more prescriptions. It also helps the pharmacy focus on accuracy and safety while meeting regulatory compliance such as NIOSH, OSHA, and more regulatory requirements.

The second Place to Improve Pharmacy Operations

Improving the workflow is a good way to improve the operations of any pharmacy. The pharmacy should be arranged with an entry station and a drop-off point. Color-coded baskets based on urgency start the process. Next comes the filling station with equipment such as counting trays, vials and lids, patient handouts, color-coded bags, a HIPAA compliant trash collector, and other essential equipment. A pharmacist station and pharmacist verification station and rack should be near the bagging area. The lineup ends with the counseling window. This flow of work saves time and increases hospital efficiency.

The Third Improvement: Hiring The Right Staff

But improved workflow depends on hiring the right staff with the correct skill sets. Two types of pharmacists are needed-clinical pharmacists and production pharmacists. The workload should be assigned carefully with tasks given to the right people. In addition to the pharmacists, there should be a patient services coordinator. There should be a designated person to answer phone calls to eliminate work interruption by pharmacists in the middle of tasks.

Once the right staff is hired, give them a voice in the improvement of operations. Pharmacists who have a great interest in improvement can be a great asset. The pharmacist is working in the environment every day and can see the defects in a work environment. The pharmacist can play a roll in preventing and managing medication errors and improving the quality of care.

The Fourth Area for Improvement is the Work Environment

In addition to setting up better workflow and hiring the right staff, pharmacy management must improve the work environment to reduce waste, stress, and inconvenience. Improve the lighting and allow enough space for each work station. Improve scheduling to meet the staff’s personal needs and priorities. Improve the new staff training so they are able to comfortably perform all the tasks assigned to them such as immunizations, MTM interventions, filling prescriptions, and more. Understaffing increases job stress and the probability of errors.

There must be a process to deal with medication errors and a plan to prevent errors. Simple steps such as better labeling of the drug containers, more verification checkpoints, and the pharmacy requiring physicians to electronically submit prescriptions so they are more readable can make a large difference. Constantly looking for ways to improve pharmacy performance and staff satisfaction reaps benefits.

About The Author:

Stacey Smith is a freelance health writer. She is passionate to write about women’s health, dental health, diabetes, endocrinology and nutrition and provides in-depth features on the latest in health news for medical clinics and health magazines.

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