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.