Consider Creative Staffing

June 2021 - Vol.18 No. 6 - Page #1

Staffing in the pharmacy has long been a management challenge for numerous reasons. Finding the right balance of skills, personalities, and schedules, while operating under a strict budget can be difficult; thus an alternative role to traditional pharmacy positions may not only alleviate certain stressors, but also yield new benefits for the pharmacy, and for the institution overall. One such example is a data analytics pharmacist position. The concepts of data analytics and informatics may not have spread fully throughout pharmacy practice, but their benefits can be striking. Examples of projects spearheaded by such a role include:

  • Lead a smart pump interoperability program
  • Integrate data streams to improve reporting capabilities
  • Replace manual chart reviews with automated functions
  • Track revenue and reimbursement rates by payor, product, and forecasted rates
  • Undertake drug, dosage, and NDA standardization projects
  • Shortage management

The benefits of these projects are fairly evident, but we would be remiss to ignore the elephant taking up residence in the room: COVID-19. The staffing challenges introduced by the pandemic have been unprecedented and creativity has certainly been key to ensuring relatively smooth operations. To this end, we present a thoughtful article on addressing vital staffing needs during the pandemic. This piece explores the quantitative approach taken by the University of North Carolina (UNC) Health to ensure safe medication delivery in the face of severely limited staffing, along with lessons that could be applied to other emergency situations.

If you have struggled with thorny staffing issues or found creative ways to address these issues, we want to hear from you. Every pharmacy director knows that good human resources are the most important asset the pharmacy has, so we encourage you to look for pharmacy practitioners with new and diversified technical backgrounds and skill sets. These will help power safe medication practices through this current pandemic, and out into the future.

All the best,

R. Mitchell Halvorsen


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