At the end of each year, we take a look at our most popular blog posts to see what you found most useful and interesting. This year, specific tips for improving daily processes in every sector of the healthcare system were what resonated most. Whether you’re in pharmacy or biopharma or run your own physician practice, improving operations is foundational to delivering better patient outcomes. Here are the top 10 blogs that helped you make those improvements this year.

1. How to Optimize Inventory Cycle Counts Using Technology

Inventory management is a seemingly mundane process. But it can have a huge impact on your efficiency when optimized. In this blog post, Jody Harvey discussed how you can optimize your inventory cycle counts with technology. Harvey is the vice president of sales and account management for Supplylogix.

She explained that using cycle count technology brings your pharmacy several benefits:

  • Improves inventory accuracy
  • Reduces variances
  • Is less expensive
  • Saves you time

And beyond the benefits to your pharmacy, an optimized inventory process means your patients will have the drugs they need, when they need them. “On-hand accuracy means everything to your business and to the patients who depend on you,” Harvey wrote.

2. The Pharmacy of the Future Will Focus on Personalized Care

One of the most important things that pharmacies of all sizes can do is tune in to patient needs. In this blog post, William George discussed three things patients will need more than ever in the coming years. George is the vice president of retail transformation for McKesson Canada.

He said that your pharmacy should focus on the following:

  • The ease and convenience of each visit
  • Making patients feel cared for
  • Proactively helping patients improve their whole health

“Understanding your patients’ thoughts and experiences will help you deliver more personalized care and prepare your business for future success,” George said.

3. Driving Medication Adherence at Your Independent Pharmacy

Adherence is something you can impact on a daily basis. Mike Mills discussed the topic in this blog post. Mills is the regional franchise operations director for Health Mart. He noted that the first step to improvement is to find out what’s standing in the way of adherence for your patients. “You need to know where your adherence gaps are and then do the right things to close those gaps,” Mills explained. The hunt for adherence barriers can start with online resources like EQuIPP (Electronic Quality Improvement Platform for Plans & Pharmacies).

4. Establishing the Right Distribution Strategy for Your Specialty Drugs

As a biopharma company, distribution should be top of mind each day. That includes ensuring your distribution partner can handle the logistics of specialty drugs. Christopher Armstrong spoke about this in this blog post. Armstrong is the vice president of distribution operations. He suggested looking for a distributor who can keep drugs at their specific temperatures throughout the distribution process. “Having sound cold-chain processes throughout the supply chain is extremely important to ensure these drugs are safe and effective,” Armstrong said.

5. How Your Community Pharmacy Can Close Gaps in Patient Care

A gap in care is a difference between the medications your patients are taking and the ones they should be taking based on guidelines for their condition. Each interaction you have with a patient is a chance to close those gaps and help improve their health. Crystal Lennartz gave an overview of this topic in this blog post. Lennartz is the vice president of pharmacy performance for Health Mart Atlas.

She explained that you can use the following methods to spot gaps in care:

  • Alerts in your pharmacy management system (PMS)
  • One-on-one counseling with patients during clinical programs
  • Asking patients specific questions during prescription pickups
  • Speaking with partnering physicians to discuss patient drug regimens

As Lennartz said, “Spotting gaps in care is a team sport that your pharmacy should be playing year-round.”

6. Navigating Prior Authorizations at Your Chain Pharmacy

Switching to electronic PAs (ePAs) can save a lot of time and help your patients, too. Michael Bukach discussed making the switch in this blog post. Bukach is the senior vice president of pharmacy for CoverMyMeds. He said that switching to ePAs helps patients start treatment sooner and saves pharmacists time. “It changes the whole workflow at your pharmacy and can dramatically improve your operational efficiency,” Bukach said

7. Taking Your Hospital Pharmacy’s Inventory Management Skills to the Next Level

With so much to manage at your hospital pharmacy, proper inventory management can help everything run more smoothly. Cindy Jeter discussed this topic in this blog post. Jeter is a supply chain management consultant for McKesson RxO.

She noted that to have efficient inventory management, you need the following skills:

  • Advanced analytics
  • Technical understanding
  • Strategic planning
  • Process improvement

Jeter explained that with today’s value-based reimbursement model, “Managing your inventory and eliminating waste to help your hospital’s bottom line are more critical than ever before.”

8. Using Your Retail Pharmacy’s Supply Chain to Exceed Patient Expectations

Mark Edwards explained how using central fill can create more efficiencies in your supply chain in this blog post. Edwards is the vice president of central fill operations for McKesson Pharmaceutical Solutions and Services. He explained that using a central fill service lets you fill more prescriptions at a faster rate. “A central fill facility has the technology, drug inventory and delivery network to meet the challenges of packaging, time and location created by new market entrants and patient preferences,” Edwards explained.

9. Preparing Your Physician Practice for the Next Flu Season

Are all of your patients getting a flu shot? And more importantly, are they all getting it at your practice? As Omar Bateh said in this blog post, “immunizing your patients against the latest strains of the influenza virus is a year-round activity that can improve the health of your patients and your practice.” Bateh is the director of vaccines for McKesson Medical-Surgical.

He outlined what you can do at your practice to make sure your patients get a flu vaccine this year:

  • Pre-book your vaccine orders
  • Set flu reminders in your EHR
  • Pre-schedule shots for patients
  • Set up walk-in vaccines days
  • Maintain an annual flu calendar with tasks for each month

Making the whole process more convenient for patients is key to getting them vaccinated at your practice. And by planning year-round, you can ensure that flu season goes as smoothly as possible.

10. Why Now is the Right Time for Female Pharmacy Ownership

Lastly, one of our most popular articles this year was this blog post by Tammy McDonald about women interested in pursuing pharmacy ownership. McDonald is the regional vice president for RxOwnership. She outlined several steps to build a solid foundation for your future pharmacy.

McDonald suggested taking the following steps right away when you know you want to become an owner:

  • Eduate yourself on pharmacy ownership
  • Network with other owners
  • Attend state and local events
  • Follow pharmacy associations on social media

Even if the goal is several years down the road, if you want to own a pharmacy that is efficient at serving your community, start planning now.

Unable to cast object of type 'System.DBNull' to type 'System.String'.   at McKesson.ImageHelper.getImageDesc(String URL)

About the author

McKesson editorial staff is committed to sharing innovative approaches and insights so our customers can get the most out of their business solutions and identify areas for operational improvement and revenue growth.