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Part Three, Blog Series: How Eliminating Inefficiences Can Elevate Hospital Pharmacy As A Strategic Asset

Stocks in this article: CAH

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

Read Baxter's full blog post on this topic on Essential Insights, Cardinal Health's thought leadership blog.  There, you can also learn more about Cardinal Health's "4 F Framework" for leveraging hospital pharmacies as a strategic asset and review real-world examples of hospital pharmacies implementing these concepts.

Cardinal Health's Innovative Delivery Solutions business helps transform hospital pharmacies into a strategic asset – delivering value that supports the patient throughout the continuum of care. The team's mission is to provide exceptional clinical, supply chain, analytics and operational expertise to improve patient access, increase quality of care and reduce overall costs. From supply chain management solutions to expert consultative services, Cardinal Health Innovative Delivery Solutions provides a highly comprehensive, universal solution for hospital pharmacies.

About Cardinal Health Headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, Cardinal Health, Inc. (NYSE: CAH) is a $101 billion healthcare services company that improves the cost-effectiveness of health care. As the business behind health care, Cardinal Health helps pharmacies, hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers and physician offices focus on patient care while  reducing costs, enhancing efficiency and improving quality. Cardinal Health is an essential link in the health care supply chain, providing pharmaceuticals and medical products to more than 100,000 locations each day. The company is also a leading manufacturer of medical and surgical products, including gloves, surgical apparel and fluid management products. In addition, the company supports the growing diagnostic industry by supplying medical products to clinical laboratories and operating the nation's largest network of radiopharmacies that dispense products to aid in the early diagnosis and treatment of disease. Ranked #19 on the Fortune 500, Cardinal Health employs more than 34,000 people worldwide. More information about the company may be found at and @CardinalHealth on Twitter.


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