Continuous Enhancements Driving Efficiencies in Pharmacy
Amish Patel, Managing Director, Hodgson Pharmacy in Longfield, Kent, is keen to celebrate improvement. Established in 1983, the family run business offers a wide range of services and is keen to maximise technology to improve efficiency and meet customers’ healthcare needs. The recent enhancements to both Pharmacy Manager and Cegedim Healthcare Solution's support services have been welcomed.
“Cegedim has really kept its word: the promised updates are coming through regularly and there has been investment in staff training,” he says.
Continuous, incremental enhancements to Pharmacy Manager have delivered real benefits to Hodgson Pharmacy. For example, the introduction of Real Time Exemption Checking (RTEC) which tells the pharmacy if the patient should be paying for their prescription or not, provides an immediate time saving. A simpler repeat management system has also speeded up the process; while the EPS tracker on the new Pharmacy Manager interface makes it far easier to find a patient’s prescription if needed.
As Amish says, “Reducing the number of clicks required for each activity adds up to significant time savings throughout the day.”
Hodgson Pharmacy uses a dispensing robot and Amish confirms recent changes to Pharmacy Manager have significantly streamlined dispensing processes. “If the correct stock is not in the right box, it is now far simpler to pick different stock – shelf stock, for example,” he says. “In a couple of clicks we can make any changes required.”
Hodgson Pharmacy makes extensive use of the Pharmacy Manager Dashboard to manage the workload. With complete visibility of the entire dispensing process, it is far easier to ensure staff are focused on priority tasks. For example, the dashboard provides an up to date view of the outstanding electronic prescriptions that need dispensing. “If there are 100 prescriptions at 5pm, I can move staff from the counter and put them on dispensing,” he says.
The pharmacy is also using measures such as ‘prescriptions printed’ and ‘prescriptions waiting to be printed’ to measure and manage workflow. An up to date view of ‘uncollected prescriptions’ has also proved to be extremely useful during the Covid-19 when Hodgson Pharmacy, in common with most pharmacies, experienced higher than usual levels of patients failing to collect.
As Amish says, “In the past we didn’t know how many uncollected prescriptions were sitting in the drawer. Now, with the Pharmacy Manager dashboard we know exactly how many are uncollected at the end of the month.”
The pharmacy has added ‘uncollected prescriptions’ to its Key Performance Indicators. Patients are allowed two months to collect before being contacted and asked to collect within a week. At the end of each month any uncollected items are then cleared out. “The whole process is run far more efficiently now,” Amish confirms.
Looking ahead, he is looking forward to continual incremental improvements – including fully utilising the benefits of 1-click integration with the Summary Care Record.
The pandemic has had a significant effect on Community Pharmacy, not least the adoption of EPS. Amish explains, “Until recently the take up of EPS was very minimal. However, Covid-19 and recent CCG implementation of a POD ordering systems means patients order their prescriptions via the CCG rather than the pharmacy or GP surgery. As a result we have seen the EPS side grow exponentially and are now making far more use of Pharmacy Manager to track the financial side of EPS and provide detailed information regarding the expected monthly payment.”
Amish is full of praise for the support provided during the pandemic, “The fact that the system was simply working and working efficiently was good,” he says. “If there were any problems Cegedim’s support was great, they dealt with any problems efficiently and quickly.”