May 23, 2019
Inside: Get more done and leave a positive impression on your patients with an organized pharmacy.
They say to not judge a book by its cover. But if your pharmacy is filled with clutter, patients will make a judgment.
In order to become a trusted part of your healthcare community, you should take care of your space to project the impression that you care about their health too.
An organized pharmacy is a more efficient and profitable pharmacy, too. Clutter is linked to increased stress, procrastination, and lower satisfaction. Your staff gets less done and experiences less enjoyment.
Analyze your current structure to see how you can eliminate clutter and get organized. This will make it easy to prioritize the most important tasks and accomplish more, better meeting the needs of your patients.
Keep your pharmacy tidy with these six tips.
Start out your reorganization by eliminating the things you have no use for. You don’t have to go full-on Marie Kondo, getting rid of everything that doesn’t bring you joy. But there are probably items lying around you’d be better off without.
Say goodbye to that 15-year-old computer that’s been stashed in a closet for the last decade. Comb through your shelves for expired or discontinued products. Go through your filing cabinets and decide what you need and what you can shred.
Streamlining your space will give you peace of mind, and it will make your patients’ pharmacy experience more pleasant.
After you’ve gotten rid of everything you no longer need, assess the things you do have. Are they in the best place they can be?
If you are organizing prescriptions alphabetically and find that the shelves are in a constant state of disarray, consider changing up your system. You could instead place the most common prescriptions where they are easily reachable to contain the clutter.
Assess whether you have enough shelving to keep things clean, or whether you have too much and it’s encroaching on the space.
Most importantly, make sure everything has a place, not just merchandise. When you receive the mail, don’t just throw it on a table, instead have a basket to contain it to one place until it can be addressed. Clearly label everything so your team doesn’t have to remember what goes where.
You’ve turned your pharmacy into a paragon of organization. Then at 5:30 there’s a rush of patients. In the frenzy, the mess you’ve been carefully eliminating magically reappears.
Prevent the chaos by implementing intuitive workflow systems. On the front end, this means having a standardized process for replenishing inventory and a store layout that makes it easy to direct patients to the items they’re looking for.
On the back end, a color-coded priority system could help ease the burden of filling prescriptions, giving pharmacists and techs more time to devote to addressing urgent needs.
These workflow practices might take a while to get used to, but once they are in place your pharmacy will be easier to run and maintain.
Another method of keeping everything in order is organizing your time as well as your space.
Create a schedule for every aspect of the business, from tidying the shelves to product ordering to social media updates.
Establish consistent intervals for each task. For example, the floors in the front end will be swept once every day. Trash will be taken out three times a day. Files will be reconciled once a month.
Take ambiguity out of the schedule to increase accountability by making clear who is responsible for each task. Complex tasks like product ordering or website edits should have one “owner.”
More menial tasks like cleaning the pharmacy can be spread out throughout the entire team—for example, everyone has one day a week where they are responsible for straightening the shelves.
Rotating these responsibilities invests everyone in the appearance of the pharmacy and reduces resentment, so one person doesn’t feel like they’re doing all the dirty work.
This schedule can also be a useful way to look at how time is being spent and determining if there is a more efficient way to get things done.
Take a hard look at the things that fall by the wayside—the chores that might be easy to do halfway.
Is it dusty shelves? A sticky bathroom? Muddy floors?
The bad news: Your patients are probably going to notice these things too. When it comes to the physical cleanliness of your space, you can’t afford to cut corners. Even if patients have a great customer service experience at your pharmacy, they might hesitate to come back if the space seems grimy.
Keep vigilant about these areas so that you are always projecting your pharmacy’s best self to patients. Implement a checklist breaking down each task to its basest parts. The assignment to “clean the bathroom” then becomes:
The more comprehensive a checklist is, the less likely something will be forgotten.
When everything’s been tidied, you should turn to the parts of your business that are invisible to customers but still crucial to the running of your pharmacy.
Declutter your digital space the same way you did for your physical space. Those legacy softwares that are slowing you down? Phase them out. Your website that hasn’t been updated in 10 years? Fix it up.
Assess what’s really needed and where you’re duplicating your efforts in areas like social media, web strategy, and marketing. Then streamline. Create a schedule for your Facebook posts or website updates just like you would for cleaning up the pharmacy.
If your web browser is routinely filled with tabs for comparing prices on inventory from multiple secondary suppliers, consider trimming that search down to one ordering platform to simply your purchasing. BuyLine removes the typical hassles of ordering while offering a full line of pharmaceuticals at competitive prices.
With your pharmacy running like a well-oiled machine, you’ll be able to turn your attention to your patients’ health instead of constantly putting out fires.
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The company is an independently owned pharmacy services organization based in Kansas City, Mo., that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, distribution services, and more.
PBA Health, an HDA member, operates its own VAWD-certified warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.
Want more pharmacy business tips and advice? Sign up for our e-newsletter.