Ep 76 – Pharmacies – A lot goes on behind the counter providing customer satisfaction

We’ve have said over and over that quality is not just for manufacturing or oil and gas.  ISO 9001, quality management and policies and procedures can benefit any industry.  This is a case study of a pharmacy that decided to look for opportunities for improvement.  The article was written in 2005 and at that time staffing rates were down, for techs and pharmacists, prescriptions were up, and the increase in pharmacists projection wasn’t going to fill the need.  This still seems true today as pharmacists and techs often seem rushed, overworked and prescriptions often aren’t ready upon pick up.  This anonymous pharmacy created a Performance Improvement team that consisted of 13 stakeholders.  Their goals were to improve patient satisfaction, improve employee satisfaction, and improve business practices.  The team administered Work Environment Scales (WES) to the employees to establish a baseline.  Each staff member was asked to complete a fishbone diagram.  The team got to work on many areas at once.  They renovated the waiting area and the actual pharmacy work environment, opened an additional cashier’s booth and the list goes on.  While all improvements make sense and worked toward the greater good of quality, I found the “express line” interesting.  Upon receipt of prescriptions, staff separated them into fast fills and routines.  The pharmacy then dedicated one tech and one pharmacist to the express line.  Overall, the pharmacy saw a reduction in fill time of 44 minutes, patient satisfaction and employee satisfaction both increased.  In addition, surveys showed improvements in physical comfort and lessened work pressure.  Quality can help any industry and we were pleased to find this study on a pharmacy.

http://asq.org/economic-case/markets/pdf/jqp0405arthur.pdf

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