Inventory is a common responsibility for pharmacy technicians. This is especially so in retail pharmacy, but also occasionally in health centres and hospitals. Inventory can be a challenging task, as it demands that adequate levels of stock be kept to serve patients, while minimizing excess or unnecessary stock. Properly managed inventory keeps patients safe, prevents waste and manages costs.
With the right management systems and use of technology, inventory can be kept balanced and organized. When everything is in order, pharmacy operations run smoothly and patients are able to access the medications that they need. Read on for some of the ways you can master inventory in your career!
Using Perpetual Inventory Systems When You Become a Pharmacy Technician
A perpetual inventory system keeps constant track of inventory. This is as opposed to a periodic system, which only occasionally counts inventory. Computerized perpetual inventory systems are very common, as they’re able to track turnover continuously and predict what drugs will be needed and when. These systems are also able to notify you and other staff members of errors that pop up, or automatically order medication according to programmed reorder times.
Mastering this technology will help lower your own work load and that of the entire staff. A computerized system can work with portable devices and acts as a second opinion, double checking amounts and needs before you have to. When you become a pharmacy technician, you will have responsibilities like taking prescriptions, labelling, giving instructions and processing payments. With a perpetual inventory system you can make these responsibilities go by much more quickly and efficiently.
Learn Turnover Rates and Expiry Dates after Pharmacy Technician College Courses
An inventory turnover rate is calculated by dividing the cost of goods sold by the average inventory. Failing to keep track of turnover rates in any industry will affect efficiency and profit, but in pharmaceuticals, it can also mean that patients don’t get the medications they need. This is a serious issue, so it’s important that you keep an eye on it. Factors affecting turnover rates of drugs include location and time of year. For example, as a student in a pharmacy technician diploma program, you probably know that during flu and cold season in Canada, flu and cold medicine is in high demand. Similarly, a pharmacy located next to a pain clinic will experience faster turnover for pain medications.
Expiration dates are an important consideration in managing inventory, as ordering too much of something can mean that your stock expires before it is sold. Medications have specific expirations that you’ll need to be aware of in order to increase revenue and keep patients safe. For example, epinephrine generally expires after 1 year, so it must be ordered carefully with that in mind.
Understand the Pharmacy Revenue Cycle to Better Manage Inventory
The pharmacy revenue cycle is the step-by-step process that ensures patients and providers are billed properly so that the pharmacy generates revenue. It consists of such things as patient access, clinical documentation, coding, billing, denial management and reimbursement. By optimizing this cycle, pharmacies can potentially increase their revenue.
Improving data integrity and eliminating errors, for example, help optimize the cycle. Keeping accurate billing data, medication codes, and receipts also help prevent transactions from falling through the cracks. By reducing errors during the revenue cycle, you also help pharmacies better track inventory. Because you’ll complete a pharmacy placement during your pharmacy technician program, you’ll have the experience to help ensure errors are kept to a minimum.
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