The old dispensary drug wall just isn’t what it used to be.
By Talbot Boggs
Three Maritime Pharmasave stores recently replaced their old walls with new carousels that have enabled them to realize greater workflow efficiencies, cost savings, and ultimately improve customer service and satisfaction.
Rob Perry, owner of Pharmasaves in Montague, PEI and Middleton NS, has introduced the new carousels to his stores over the last year and, as a result, reduced his old 36-ft. wall in Montague and consolidated almost all of his drugs into only 12 feet of shelving and the 36 sq. ft. carousel.
Perry has opened up new space, reduced steps and freed up pharmacists to spend more time consulting and interacting with patients.
“It’s fantastic,” says Perry. “Our old system was really inefficient. We had to walk from one side of the dispensary to the other to get what we needed to fill a prescription. Now we have everything all together and organized. It’s allowed us to have a pharmacist available at the intake counter at all times to talk with customers, and the bagging system allows us to package up to three prescriptions per customer in one bag. We no longer have to thumb through all the prescriptions in a drawer to find what we’re looking for.”
The carousels, which sell for about $40,000, have allowed Jason and Krista Trider, owners of Pharmasave in Windsor, NS, to enlarge their dispensary and add a whole range of services and amenities without encroaching on the store’s front shop.
The carousel, which can hold about up to 1200 unit dose bins, allows staff to alter the channels to fit the size of the bottles and put newer stock behind the older. The Triders have also implemented new paperless workflow and bagging systems. Together, all these improvements have saved them enough physical space and improved efficiency so greatly that they’ve been able to add three new rooms for injections, counselling and handling any overflow of patients they have in their Ideal Protein weight loss and management program.
As well, they have expanded the space used for blister packaging, allowing growth in the nursing home area. This required expansion into front shop area, but with minimal disruption.
“I was really amazed at how much inventory the carousel has been able to handle, and by placing it between workstations there’s just a lot less walking involved, which saves everybody time and the business money,” says Jason Trider. “I’ve been able to separate pills, liquids and the large boxes and store just the boxes on the wall. It’s allowed us to significantly increase the size and capability of the dispensary without invading the front shop.”
The efficiencies Perry has gained in his Middleton store not only have enabled him to do more work with fewer staff, they’ve also allowed him to more fully use the skills and expertise of his technicians. Not only can he better meet the ever increasing demands of the expanding scope of practice in the profession, he’s in a better position to service the health needs of his patients.
“Visually the new equipment and technology look great,” he says. “That’s nice, but what matters most is that the customers really notice the difference in the level of service. They’re really happy because they can deal directly with the pharmacists who aren’t being disturbed all the time and can focus on answering their questions and providing solutions to their problems, which ultimately is why we are in business – to service the needs of our patients.”