DUBLIN, Ohio, May 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In order to become a true business asset, hospital pharmacies need to eliminate waste and operate more efficiently. Opportunities to fix inefficiencies exist in all areas of a pharmacy's performance, including purchasing, inventory management, pharmacy design and workflow. By eliminating inefficiencies, a hospital pharmacy can drive down costs and significantly improve operating margins, while dramatically improving quality and service.
In part three of a blog series that addresses how to leverage a hospital pharmacy as a strategic asset, Mary Baxter, MBA, RPh., vice president and national practice leader for Cardinal Health's Innovation Delivery Solutions business, shares expert insight and best practices that pharmacies can use to eliminate inefficiencies.
"Monitoring progress and measuring results are the roadmap for the long, never-ending journey toward optimizing efficiency," Baxter says. "In order to find opportunities to improve inefficiencies, look everywhere – starting with your purchasing, inventory, staffing and operating procedures."
Once individual areas to improve have been identified, Baxter suggests implementing efficiency strategies such as:
- Maximizing medication purchasing. Use long-term buying opportunities to secure lower-cost contracts; take advantage of generic conversions; and maximize tiered discount programs by setting and hitting performance-based incentive targets
- Fully leveraging Automated Dispensing Systems. Improve staff productivity and inventory management while minimizing diversion and enhancing patient safety
- Optimizing inventory management. Conduct a baseline inventory; establish minimum and maximum reorder points for drugs; and design a dynamic system which adjusts inventory levels based on usage and other metrics
- Taking new approaches to pharmacy staffing challenges. Consider innovative ways to do more with less, including:
- Leveraging remote pharmacy: A remote pharmacy model allows for a blended, more flexible and cost-efficient approach to empower hospitals to provide 24/7 pharmacy coverage
- Implementing and utilizing intern programs: An intern program provides pharmacy staff with more assistance while creating a future talent pipeline
- Recalibrating duties: Thoughtfully assigning specialized tasks to pharmacy technicians and assistants can reduce burdens on pharmacists and nurses