The National Assembly of Quebec unanimously approved Act 41 – an amendment to the Pharmacy Act – to empower pharmacists to contribute more and improve the overall healthcare system. Under Act 41, pharmacies will be able to:
- Renew a doctor’s prescription for up to one year
- Modify a prescription’s dosage or quantity of an existing and valid prescription
- Prescribe a medication when no diagnosis is required, especially for preventive purposes
- Substitute a medication when there is a supply disruption or when a medication is out of stock
- Order and analyze laboratory tests to monitor medication use
- Administer injections or oral medication
Since the announcement in force of Act 41, most pharmacies have been in a “wait and see” mode; few have implemented changes. Everyone seems to agree on the benefits – improved care, better therapy adherence, better overall health and improved access to care – but pharmacies aren’t currently staffed or equipped to deliver on these objectives. They face a number of challenges including:
- Pharmacists struggle to spend more time with patients given their workloads
- Systems aren’t designed to retain a full patient record
- Profit margins are eroding as a result of generic drug price reductions
- Many pharmacies don’t have patient consultation rooms
- Pharmacists are highly paid and their time is valuable but charging customers for consultation could cause patients to take their business to another pharmacy
Adapt, or risk losing your customers
Quebec pharmacies have a tremendous opportunity to improve healthcare delivery and improve their bottom line. But, first they should consider three key enhancements to their current operations:
- Rethink your processes. Make sure that all tasks that can be done by technicians are performed by technicians to free up pharmacists’ time. Re-engineer your processes and train technicians on best practices to maximize efficiency. Adopt a lean approach supported by a dynamic team synergy based on a visual and intuitive priority management to better serve your customers with the least waiting time as possible. Process redesign can improve efficiency by up to 50%.
- Redesign your pharmacy layout. On average, pharmacies can improve productivity by 30% by making simple or complete changes to their layout, including minimizing the distance pharmacists and technicians have to travel between workstations and repositioning customer drop-off points, inventory storage, assembly stations, validation workstations, consultation and pick-up stations (cashiers).
- Re-evaluate your systems. Changes can be made to ease the incorporation of patient history into your processes; accelerating the time to fill patient history within your system will become crucial to the total cycle time needed to serve your customer. How can technology improve these processes and better serve your business?
How are you adapting to Act 41? Have you started training your teams? If you are still in the “wait and see” mode, now’s the time to take advantage of the opportunity to expand your customer base, increase revenues and reduce operating expense by re-evaluating your current operations.