Productivity Metrics (Throughput)

Productivity for a pharmacy is typically measured by how many prescriptions the pharmacy fills a day and the total accumulated in a week. It is best to closely align the volume of prescriptions to the number of staff working. Be patient as building volume takes time when beginning a new pharmacy. In general, the maximum pharmacist/technician ratio is achieved before adding an additional pharmacist. 

Sample measures from Saint Thomas Health:

Tip: At Saint Thomas Health in Nashville, most retail pharmacy locations average about 100 prescriptions a day; for a pharmacy that only stocks charity medications, approximately 125-175 prescriptions a day are dispensed. Start up

How many prescriptions added per day?

  • 1 pharmacist/1 tech for new operation
    • 20 – 25 patient encounters/day which = ~100 – 175 prescriptions/day
  • 1 pharmacist/2 techs when increase volume
    • 35 – 40 patient encounters/day = 125 – 150 prescriptions/day
  • Have a plan ahead of time so if volume expands quicker than anticipated there will already be buy-in from stakeholders/funders/administrators to add additional staff.
  • Consider automation (tablet counter, robot, etc.) as expansion tools.

As healthcare moves away from the fee-for-service model, more focus will be on outcomes and services compared to the quantity of prescriptions. Services include:

  • Medication Therapy Management (MTM) and targeted MTM
  • Monitoring therapeutic outcomes (A1c, lipids, blood pressure, etc.)
  • Device education (glucometer, insulin injectors, inhalers, etc.)
  • Collaborative practice Appendices\Collaborative Practice 
  • Medication and disease interventions
  • Counseling in non-English languages
  • Transitional Care Appendices\Transitional Care

Clinical services require more pharmacist time and perhaps specially trained staff. Example, a technician may serve both as a pharmacy technician and an interpreter, requiring time away from pharmacy tasks. Develop metrics to demonstrate how these services effect staffing as well as benefit patient outcomes. (See Measurements/ Evaluation/Outcomeand Appendices\Metricsfor sample studies and metrics).

Example measures from a community charity pharmacy offering PAPs, targeted MTM, collaborative practice, and counselling in non-English:

  • 1 pharmacist/2 pharmacy technicians. The technicians work three 7 hour shifts per week.
    • 25-27 patients encounters/day 
    • 100 prescriptions/day 
    • 2-3 PAPs/day
    • 4-6 clinical interventions/day
    • 4-5 therapeutic interchanges/day 

Example productivity metrics for a drug donation/reclamation programare found in Drug Reclamation/Donation Performance Metrics.