Avoiding Prescription Fulfillment Bottlenecks

Bottlenecks in prescription fulfillment negatively impact productivity and your bottom line. Follow these tips to prevent your orders from being delayed during the fulfillment process.

1. Speed up supplemental information printing
The number one bottleneck for nearly every PBM fulfillment center occurs during the printing of supplemental information. In a local pharmacy, the pharmacist usually prints this documentation as they fill the order, then staples it to the bag. In an automated line, printers often can’t keep up with the speed of the conveyor system.

To avoid delays caused while printing supplemental information, update your system so that it can quickly and intelligently print the supplemental information separately from the filling line. This separation will allow the information to be dropped into the tote as it passes by later in the process, preventing bottlenecks and delays.

2. Eliminate manual bagging
Companies will often rely on automated bottle filling only to have a person bag the order manually. It is much faster to integrate a fully automatic bagger to handle packaging for the prescription and documentation. The system will pay for itself over time in reduced labor costs and by eliminating bottlenecks.

3. Speed up quality control
Many companies that implement low grade automation often have an issue where the system will kick questionable orders to a side area that requires a pharmacist to inspect each order, verify it, and sign off that it is correct. This process is often very slow and can delay shipments and create bottlenecks.

Invest in higher quality and more comprehensive automation solutions to see a drastic reduction in the number of orders that must be manually checked. By improving the packaging accuracy in the beginning, you can avoid slowdowns later in the process.

4. Avoid manual sortation of completed orders
Often, a system will automate filling prescriptions but not sorting them. Whether it is for shipping by carrier, or by nursing stations at large hospitals, implementing an automatic sortation solution that picks up where traditional pharmacy fulfillment systems leave off can further reduce the amount of manual labor required and prepare medications more quickly.

An additional benefit of removing the human element from final sortation is that the potential for human error is decreased, preventing shipping errors that can significantly impact delivery times.