Running a highly efficient pharmacy depends on a lot of different things, one of those is finding the most efficient pharmacist to technician ratio. Finding the optimal ratio isn’t clear-cut because there are multiple variables that have to be taken into consideration. You can start by checking the state guidelines for suggested pharmacist to technician ratios. Each state is different and 30% of states have no ratio rules at all.
The following is a deeper look at the variables you’ll need to consider when finding your most efficient pharmacist to technician ratio.
Pharmacist to Technician Variables
Customer and Prescription Types
The type of patients you serve and the location of your pharmacy can impact your pharmacist to technician ratio. If you’re located close to a pain management clinic, you’re going to see a lot more Schedule II prescriptions that will require more time. Likewise, if you’re located across the street from a hospital, you’re going to see a lot more discharge patients that may need more of your counseling and care. Also, if your pharmacy offers compounding, it will require a very specific pharmacist/technician ratio to meet the demands of the lab.
Pharmacy Systems and Policies
Filling 500 scripts at one pharmacy may be completely different than filling 500 at another. The pharmacy design, computer systems, and policies you have in place play a big part when it comes to the efficiency of your pharmacy team. Does your pharmacy counter have two or more checkout stations? The more patients you serve, the more technicians you will need to provide your customers with great service.
Is your computer software terribly outdated or is it current? Certain pharmacy policies regarding drug access levels, preparation of the bags, and who speaks to patients all play a vital role in the process of filling prescriptions. Analyze your process and ask your team where improvements can be made. Any efficiencies you can add to your system will help improve your pharmacist to tech ratio and keep you from being bogged down.
Pharmacist and Technician Quality
The quality of your pharmacy team plays a big part in how many people it takes to run your prescription counter smoothly. How highly-trained are your technicians at entering prescriptions, answering general patient questions, and submitting insurance claims? Two highly-trained technicians can easily handle the workload of four that lack proper training and experience.
All pharmacists are different. Some are more comfortable working behind the scenes and others love the retail side. To be efficient, your pharmacist needs to multi-task and not become overwhelmed. If a pharmacist lacks management skills or doesn’t care for the customer service side of things, your pharmacy will lose efficiency and it will take more bandwidth to make up for those lack of skills. The training and hiring process are vital to operating effectively and keeping your tech to pharmacist ratio low.
While there many variables to consider when scheduling your pharmacist to technician ratio, the most important details are customer safety and satisfaction. Make sure your team is highly-trained, and your pharmacy policies are streamlined. If you have effective processes and talent in place, it will make everyone’s job easier and your customers will have a great experience.