The Impact of Workflow and Working Conditions in Community Pharmacies

Presenter: Janet Qian

Research Category: Health Sciences
PI: Todd Brown

Objective: To advocate for improved community pharmacy systems by exploring the impact of workflow systems and working conditions in community pharmacy practice on employees and patients.

Method: A literature search using PubMed, Medline, and reference lists was conducted to collect research on the working conditions in community pharmacy. Twenty relevant sources were found with the following search terms: workflow, community pharmacy, community pharmacy conditions, chain pharmacy. Sources included systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and opinion papers on the following: the integration of automated systems, pharmacist testimonies, medication management therapy performed by community pharmacists, performance metrics, and dispensing errors.

Results: Common workflow designs which utilize metrics and time-guarantees often result in dissatisfaction among staff, medication errors, and poorer care. Shifting pharmacists' focus to clinical responsibilities has led to significantly improved patient satisfaction and care. Morale among staff increases when the workplace reduces emphasis on metrics, leading to fewer medication errors.

Conclusion: Pharmacy practice is undergoing transformation in the community setting, as pharmacists gain increased recognition and responsibility in patient care. However, workflow systems implemented by retail pharmacies often fail to provide optimal care. The utilization of performance metrics is unfavorable among chain pharmacists, as this system prioritizes quantities dispensed over quality of care and sacrifices patient interaction. Integration of automated systems and increased delegation to pharmacy technicians would allow for more clinical duties, including MTM and patient counseling to be performed.  It is in pharmacy owners’ best interest to reconsider workflow designs to create an equitable environment for their staff and patients alike.