From social distancing guidelines to reduced pharmacy staff, COVID-19 has placed significant limitations on community pharmacists. Pharmacies adapted their workflow to align with changes due to the virus and continue serving patients throughout uncertain times. Scheduling in-person patient appointments allows the pharmacy to increase efficiency and provide valuable clinical services for their community.
Scheduling appointments for immunizations, eCare and clinical services helps control the flow of traffic in and out of a pharmacy, ensuring social distancing guidelines are followed. Patients can arrive at the pharmacy at their designated appointment time and receive quicker service instead of waiting in line inside of the pharmacy. Pharmacists can also increase patient confidence and trust while making patients feel safer.
Immunization & Vaccine Scheduling
The importance of pharmacists in deploying vaccines is well known during flu season and in past pandemics such as H1N1 in 2009. Today, several states are considering allowing pharmacists to administer a COVID-19 vaccine once it is available. If pharmacists are authorized to administer COVID-19 vaccines in the future, patient scheduling will be a crucial tool in maintaining social distance and patient privacy. Implementing the process beforehand and creating an efficient workflow with scheduled appointments can help prepare pharmacists for administering a vaccine.
Clinical Services Efficiency
Taking time to educate patients on their medication, enroll patients in a medication synchronization program, or complete additional clinical services can boost patient outcomes and improve pharmacy performance. Deliver medication reviews and quality clinical services safely within the pharmacy during COVID-19 by scheduling patient appointments.
Beyond COVID-19 implications, there are multiple benefits for scheduling in-pharmacy appointments. In healthcare, scheduled appointments are the norm. Patients are used to scheduling appointments with their primary care provider and other healthcare professionals. As clinical services continue to evolve in the pharmacy setting, patients will likely expect the same capability from their pharmacy. By scheduling appointments, pharmacists can reduce wait times, provide faster service, and better value their patients’ time.
Benefits of Scheduling for Pharmacists
Scheduling patient appointments also provides the pharmacist with more control over his or her schedule. The pharmacist can focus on their priorities for the day, instead of dealing with the high and lows of foot traffic. Blocking out time for patient appointments organizes these interactions so they do not take over a pharmacist’s entire day.
Finally, scheduling appointments can help increase patient engagement for a pharmacy. From setting up the appointment to sending text or email reminders, patients receive more communications from the pharmacy. Patients become accustomed to receiving important information from their pharmacy, and they may value future communications more highly as a result.
New Patient Scheduling Capabilities from TDS
TDS understands the unique needs of independent pharmacy, especially the changes brought on by COVID-19. New capabilities for patient scheduling are coming within the Rx30 and Computer-Rx pharmacy management solutions. Pharmacists need convenient solutions to better serve their patients, their communities, and improve their efficiency.