Resources for Improving Pharmacy Operations

As there are many types of pharmacies with varying staff sizes and budgets, it can be difficult to find relevant information to help you maximize operational capabilities. If the pharmacy is running smoothly and efficiently, pharmacists can take the time to provide customers with detailed consultations to ensure safe and effective medication practices.

With many people, especially those over age 65, on multiple medications, it’s more important than ever for pharmacists to provide clear direction for taking prescriptions, as well as determine whether the medication regimen (often prescribed by more than one physician) can lead to potentially harmful interactions.

Following are some resources that can help.

Community and Ambulatory Pharmacies

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) recently released an updated self-assessment for Community/Ambulatory pharmacies. This tool will not only help evaluate the safety of current systems, but identify ways to improve pharmacy practices over time.

The assessment identifies 10 critical areas that can deter or improve safe medication use. After taking the questionnaire, pharmacies can learn how they did in each area, and decide how to prioritize their improvement efforts.

Hospital Pharmacies

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacy (ASHP) published minimum standard guidelines for pharmacy services. These recommendations include creating a mission statement about both patient care and operational policies, learning about and abiding by state and local laws and putting together a manual outlining policies and procedures.

Academic Medical Centers

The University HealthSystem Consortium released a position paper outlining all of the pharmacy services that should be available for patients at academic medical centers. The paper discusses how to best utilize staff and resources to provide the safest and most effective medication management to patients, with staff training and adaptable design models as keys to success.

Sterile Compounding Areas

There is growing concern about the serious consequences that can occur due to errors in compounding. In a recent article published by Medscape, titled, “Safe Practices in Pharmacy Sterile Compounding Areas,” it is noted that:

“A five-hospital observational study on the accuracy of preparing small- and large-volume injectables, chemotherapy solutions, and parenteral nutrition showed a mean error rate of 9%, meaning almost 1 in 10 products was prepared incorrectly and then dispensed.”

Technology, such as IV robotics, can help improve accuracy and even reduce costs for those that choose to in-source IV compounding.

Providing safe and efficient pharmacy services is key whether in a hospital, rural community, or academic medical center. A small investment of your time to locate resources to assist you in your efforts could help you reap great rewards.