Another Eight Hours Please

Category: Pharmacy Success Written by Dr. Charles Shively / November 11, 2014

Do you dream? In Color?

Consider this: “Last night, when I awoke from a dream, I was at my bank looking at the green ATM machine color screen. I received the message: We can’t complete your request.” What had I wanted to receive? Another eight hours please!

Ever wish you or your pharmacy staff could go to ATM and receive another 8 hours? For those who own a RxMedic ADS…they have already confirmed time savings of 40-50 minutes per hour. That’s almost 8-10 hours per day to allow pharmacist and staff to do other tasks of the day. Would you receive another 8 hours if you owned an ADS? I have at our PC Community Care Pharmacy.

An Opportunity for Reallocation of Staff

I’ve often believed my dreams at night forecast next day events. Guess what? On the next day at the pharmacy… around 4:30PM on a Tuesday, one of my PC School of Pharmacy PharmD candidates and preceptor students (Amy) received a telephone call not long after her arrival. Amy provides my Tuesday evening technician support. Her Mother called to indicate that her Dad was just taken by emergency ambulance to a local hospital. Although typically not an unusual retail pharmacy circumstance to deal with… unexpected family-oriented challenges for our early 20’s age technicians…Amy had just arrived and was to be my sole support until close, some four hours away, after my other technician support left at 5:30PM.

What to do? As I looked at one of our staff members (Stella, our RxMedic ADS robot), I immediately decided to activate the direct IVR to RxMedic ADS option such that incoming requests for prescription refills could flow directly to Stella reducing the amount of telephone calls during the upcoming hours. Stella could initiate any refills. By the way, although Stella is a “robot”, we all consider Stella one of our staff. Probably not unlike your circumstance I suspect, we like to have telephone calls answered by a live “human voice” but under the circumstances, another approach was needed. Of course, this IVR though QS1 NRX to RxMedic ADS connection only allows immediate completion of fills which have no insurance issues. It did however allow nearly 80% of the refill requests to process that Tuesday night…without any human involvement…other than my approval and packaging of fills and clearing any insurance rejects out of the system. I had one of our front store cashiers work the pharmacy register.

Are Tuesday evenings special at your pharmacy?

At my shop we fill all of the Long Term Care facility and Free Clinic requested prescriptions from the past 6 days slotted for delivery on Wednesdays. With one of our Free Clinic patient responsibilities being to complete prescriptions with Spanish directions on the labeled vials with Spanish monographs and receipts, additional time to verify word and directions correctness for the filled prescription is always needed. As any pharmacist remembers…their name is on the vial as the approving pharmacist. Do you read or speak Spanish?

As you might surmise…Stella and our QS1 NRX pharmacy software came to the rescue…AGAIN! I initiated the next day fills for our Long Term Care and Free Clinic facilities and when I closed the pharmacy at 9PM, I went over to Stella, looked her “in the eye”, and said “Thanks for being here today”.

Staff Reallocation the Next Day

After morning greetings, my full staff and I typically talk about the upcoming day’s station assignments and how we might deal with oddities…should they occur. I asked this particular Wednesday: “Did anyone get a call from Amy?” No sooner than I had asked this question of our pharmacy staff, the telephone rings and I offer: “Good morning. PC Community Care Pharmacy. How may I help you today?” It’s Amy calling. “Dr. Shively, I’m sorry. I’m at the hospital with my father. I can’t come in today to support the pharmacy’s effort and complete my rotation hours. Can I please not come in today? I know you had planned for me to do all patient greetings at the dropoff window, enter their new prescriptions and handle their refill requests. I’m sorry I just can’t be there. I need to be with my Dad. Is this OK?”

Who does MTM’s at your shop? After Amy’s call and my sharing of her circumstance, we proceeded to discuss how the loss of 8 hours of support will affect the day’s activities. The pharmacy staff proposed a reallocation of how they will spend their 8 hour shifts (including Stella) and my role:

Stella: Will reinitiate the direct IVR through QS1 to RxMedic ADS connection to handle most refills.

Certified Tech #1: Will assume Drop-off window assignments at computer station #1, relegating her typical insurance and reject solving activities to Technician #2.

Technician #2: Will assume new position today at computer station #2 to solve insurance rejects and forward DUR’s to the pharmacist computer next activity screen. Handles all incoming telephone calls.

Technician #3: Will complete the manual fills needed, assembles patient specific baskets with receipts at the RxMedic ADS and preps for pharmacist approval.

Pharmacist: Will verify as usual all fills with hard copy prescription and RxMedic ADS computer screen info. Will package meds for delivery.

Cashier: Places packaged prescriptions by patient into pickup area. Handles customer delivery and request for new prescription Pharmacist counseling. (Amy sometimes does this on her rotation day when she is not at the Drop-Off window).

Pharmacist: When needed, will counsel new patients, continue to verify all scripts from manual fill and ADS. Will handle all MTM reviews and telephone calls to discuss MTM with patients.

How Did It Work Out?

This reallocation of staff on Wednesday with Stella, our RxMedic ADS, not surprisingly worked out quite well. By the way, Amy’s Dad is on the road to recovery from a heart attack. Amy’s Dad was given 750 mg of aspirin by her Mom during the episode…it saved his life.

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Thank for sharing!

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