04/28/2021

COMMUNITY PHARMACY BEST PRACTICES FOR COVID-19 VACCINE DEPLOYMENT

With COVID-19 vaccines rolling out across the country, community pharmacies are busier than ever. If your pharmacy is administering COVID-19 vaccines, it can be difficult to maintain an effective workflow and provide regular services for your patients. The added stress and demands of vaccine administration may disrupt your daily pharmacy operations.  Community_Pharmacy_Best_Practice_Vaccine_Deployment_inline_image_600x400

Administering COVID-19 vaccines are a great way to support your community’s health and wellness, and it can benefit your business. New patients may visit your pharmacy for the first time, interacting with your staff and getting a firsthand look at the personal attention and excellent service you have to offer. But, vaccine administration should not derail your normal pharmacy business. Keep reading for tips to manage your operations while administering COVID-19 vaccines.  

 

Adjust Your Workflow 

Whether you are administering a few dozen vaccines per day or a few hundred, your pharmacy workflow will be impacted. As important as it is to administer COVID-19 vaccines, it is also important to maintain your efficiency. Your customers are counting on you for their regular prescriptions and refills as well as the clinical services and OTC items you may provide.  

To minimize the impact of COVID-19 vaccine administration on your pharmacy workflow, consider designating a specific area of your pharmacy for vaccines. Clearly mark where vaccine administration will take place in your store and let customers know where to go before and when they arrive.  

Communication with your staff is also essential. Determine who will be providing vaccines and when. You may have to consider staffing changes to pick up any slack with pharmacists administering vaccines. It may also be necessary to adjust your hours of operation to accommodate increased traffic.  

 

Update Your Community 

If you have the vaccine, your community wants to know! If you are currently out of the vaccine or plan on getting additional doses in store in the future, it is important to keep your community updated. Pharmacies across the country are experiencing high call volumes and walk-in traffic with patients asking about vaccine availability, eligibility, and scheduling.  

Minimize the impact of patient inquiries by updating your website and social media on a regular basis. Customers should be able to quickly determine whether or not you have COVID-19 vaccines available with an online search. You can also include the information to sign up for an appointment and local eligibility requirements online.  

Your voicemail and IVR system can also play a major role in informing your community and decreasing the overall impact on your pharmacy. Record a message regarding COVID-19 vaccines at your pharmacy, including availability, eligibility, and sign up. Include the message in your pharmacy voicemail, or update your IVR to include information on the vaccines. This will decrease the amount of time your employees have to spend on the phone answering COVID-19 vaccine questions.  

 

Manage Your Time 

An organized schedule is of utmost importance when managing pharmacy operations and providing valuable services to your community. Utilize patient scheduling tools to set up vaccination appointments, and determine ahead of time how you will handle walk-ins. When scheduling vaccine appointments, keep your pharmacy’s capacity in mind, including how many customers can safely wait in the store at one time.  

You can also free up real estate in your store for vaccines by reducing the foot traffic in your pharmacy. With the right tools, you can limit the number of patients in your store at one time without slowing down your business. Curbside, delivery, and drive-thru services can help your regular customers pick up their prescriptions and OTC items. Consider implementing virtual appointments for non-COVID related clinical services as well.   

 

Stay Compliant 

It is crucial to stay compliant when administering vaccines. Reporting requirements can differ by state, and pharmacies are also subject to federal reporting requirements. Instead of manually reporting your COVID-19 vaccine administration and keeping up with regulations on your own, rely on your pharmacy management software to auto report. This helps free up your time while ensuring you stay compliant.  

 

TDS is proud to offer the tools and resources community pharmacies need to safely administer COVID-19 vaccines. Contact us today to learn more about custom workflow, IVR systems, patient scheduling and telehealth, and alternative delivery methods.  

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