As every pharmacist knows, inventory management is crucial to the viability of the pharmacy. Traditionally, it has been a task undertaken by the pharmacist. But these days, when pharmacists are taking on a greater role in patient care, it can lead to a workload too heavy for one person to manage.
That is why some pharmacists are recommending that greater inventory management responsibilities be delegated to pharmacy technicians. Many technicians have skills that are underutilized in their current roles, and they are eager to shoulder greater responsibility and take on new challenges. Assigning the technician as the point person for inventory management can go a long way toward increasing the profitability of the pharmacy and restoring its cash flow.
Pharmacy technicians can be especially good at inventory management because of their experience and skill at customer relations. For example, technicians can work with customers to encourage them to ask for refills on unit-of-use medications and medications that are slow movers, boosting the rates of just-in-time ordering and preventing the slow-moving inventory from jamming up the cash flow and taking up shelf space.
The pharmacy technicians can also keep track of the drugs that are dispensed the most so that you can fine-tune how often to order them and how much to order. The technicians can also keep track of the net cost of medications and tracking their use to optimize cash flow and workflow. For example, doing this, they may find that it is more cost-effective to order three bottles of a drug once a week with 1,000 pills in each bottle, rather than to order ten bottles with 100 pills three times a week.
The technicians can also take charge of identifying this inventory problem. They can begin by gathering information on medications that have not sold within the past four to six months. Then, you can assign them the task of finding a pharmacy that moves the items that yours does not.
Handling Inventory Counts
Technicians can handle this task, as well. This will also help to increase cash flow, because knowing how much of a drug you have is essential to know how much and when to order it. A team approach can work well here. Technicians can divide up the responsibilities for verifying drug quantities on a daily basis, subtracting quantities after prescriptions are filled, adding inventory when claims are reversed, and accounting for National Drug Code changes, among other tasks.
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