Operations Mgmt & Use of Pharmacy Personnel

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The expansion of pharmacy services, the effectiveness of care delivered to patients, and the efficiency by which a pharmacy operates can all be facilitated with proper role designation, work design, and delegation of responsibilities to support personnel such as technicians.  

Operations management involves longer-term strategic decisions in addition to confronting day-to-day situations arising from the organization fulfilling its usual business endeavors. It begins with the formation of long-term plans that define what the business is and who its customers are. This assists the business with delineating its offerings to the customers/patients it aims to attract and with bundling the  interconnected goods and services made possible through this planning. Operations management considers how workflow can be designed such that customers are not only served efficiently, but also served well, thus enhancing their satisfaction and potentially seeing the business in an entirely new light capable of providing an array of their needs in a “one-stop shop”.

In a recent study by McKeirnan et al,1 a properly trained group of certified pharmacy technicians demonstrated excellent competency in a knowledge assessment of immunizations and immunization safety. In the first few months of having just a limited number of technicians providing immunizations in a pilot program, nearly 1000 patients in the state of Idaho had been vaccinated against influenza, with zero adverse events reported.

Effective operations management will ultimately drive advanced pharmacy services forward. Proper planning is required to effectively render traditional and value-added services.

Additional information about Operations Management and Human Resources Management Functions can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 4e. If you or your institution subscribes to AccessPharmacy, use or create your MyAccess Profile to sign-in to Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 4e. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.

1McKeirnan KC, Frazier KR, Nyugen M, MacLean LG. Training pharmacy technicians to administer immunizations. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2018;58:174-178.

Shane Desselle

Professor of Social and Behavioral Pharmacy, Touro University California