Most hospital leaders don’t like the idea of outsourcing their pharmacy operations. As the second-largest cost center in every hospital operation, healthcare admins think they’ll lose control of this important segment of operations or alienate their pharmacy staff.
However, with the ever-changing regulations, rapid increase in cost, and overwhelming patient demands, it might be wise to optimize pharmacy operations. This can be done via outsourcing and can be quite beneficial to a healthcare organization’s processes.
Understanding Pharmacy Outsourcing
Outsourcing refers to a formal arrangement in which a hospital or health care organization contracts with a third party or outside the company. This is to obtain selected pharmaceutical services or comprehensive management of the hospital’s pharmacy.
Some pharmaceutical contractors offer a comprehensive pharmaceutical service while others like to focus on providing specialty services. This might include carrying out specific tasks such as the production of sterile products.
In general, pharmaceutical outsourcing companies offer four types of services:
- Operation and organizational: These companies mostly focus on developing core pharmacy policies, processes, and procedures. They offer guidance in implementing and purchasing pharmaceutical equipment, drug information services, offsite or pharmacy-based preparation go sterile products, pharmacy record management, and many more.
- Cost and financial control: Pharmaceutical companies can also offer services to control hospital costs and finances. They can provide billing and inventory control systems as well as formulary management services.
- Staffing: These companies act as a recruitment hub for your pharmacy department. They help in recruiting talents as well as retention assistance. They also provide supporting pharmacy staff and can assist in competency assessment, performance review, and compliance training.
- Quality assessment: These vendors provide pharmaceutical quality assurance services as well as performance improvement. This includes an upgrade of medication use and the reduction of medication errors in your hospital.
The Benefits Of Outsourcing Pharmacy Services
Here are the benefits of outsourcing pharmacy services to check out for.
- Optimizing Resources
Health care facilities and hospitals are always looking for better ways to manage their limited pharmacy resources. Most healthcare organizations choose to partner with a pharmacy outsourcing facility such as Fagron Sterile Services and others. This is to improve resource utilization by eliminating or reducing medication preparation. They can also compound steps for hospital and pharmacy staff.
With pharmacy outsourcing, you also reduce the risk of drug shortages, especially when pharmaceuticals require sterile compounding. Pharmacy companies with outsourcing facilities essentially function as pharmaceutical product manufacturers. Since compounding is their specialty, they can dedicate all available resources to assure availability and quality for hospitals.
Also, the ability to mass-produce sterile drugs safely and effectively can lead to better management of healthcare resources. They may do this while ensuring quality products for the patients they serve.
- Lowered Cost
One of the most attractive benefits of outsourcing your pharmacy services is the lowered cost. While you still pay third-party vendors for their services, it’s generally lower than running an in-house pharmacy.
A third-party pharmacy offers numerous areas to save on cost while still ensuring that both hospital and vendor stay profitable. Also, a good pharmacy partner can help drive your healthcare organization’s costs while improving staff morale and patient satisfaction. It does so by controlling or reducing the cost of your services and making everything more efficient. This includes manufacturing, producing, restocking medicines as well as educating the patients.
In addition, outsourcing your pharmacy services means you pay for the services as you need them and avoid making major investments in personnel and infrastructure. Thus, you’re reducing or controlling labor costs. This cost includes hiring employees, benefits, and liabilities. At the same time, there’s also the need for maintaining and purchasing pharmacy equipment.
Furthermore, outsourcing pharmacy operations also helps avoid the cost of physical remodeling. For instance, using an offsite contractor to provide specialized or specific services. This requires a physical remodeling of your healthcare organization.
- Boosting Manpower
Hospital leaders know just how valuable their pharmacy staff is. Most admins think that hiring a third-party vendor means firing their current pharmacy team. However, this shouldn’t be the case. Instead of replacing your current pharmacy team, any reliable pharmacy service can act as a force multiplier and booster for your existing pharmacy staff.
Ideally, outsourcing a pharmacy service means supporting your current staff. It ensures the smooth transition of your healthcare organization’s pharmacy services and management while bringing new opportunities for employee development.
Outsourcing pharmacy can also help your organization to staff the hard-to-fill positions with experts. Also, it can provide your hospital with experienced pharmacy leadership using specialized resources. It also allows your healthcare organization to reach an optimal staffing level for achieving your productivity goals.
Not only that, but they should keep your pharmacy updated on the rapidly changing regulation and compliance. This includes the latest operation, clinical, and financial efficiencies. They can provide education, training, and team development programs for the career advancement of your pharmacy staff.
- Improved Patient Care And Service
Some healthcare administrators think that patient care will fall when they start to save money on their pharmacy department. They also worry that nurses and physicians won’t like the changes that a pharmacy service company will implement.
However, an outsourced pharmacy company can help in creating a patient-centric focus that allows for more efficient hospital operations and improving patient experiences. A pharmacy partner can help expand and improve on processes and quality of patient care. For instance, they can expand your clinical and pharmaceutical services. They may even help establish new pharmaceutical services for your organization.
For instance, say your healthcare organization is having an issue in getting drugs from the ground-floor pharmacy to the surgical area on the top floor on time. A pharmacy partner should have the experts to map workflows, assess staffing levels, pinpoint inefficiencies, and propose a workable solution.
Not only that, but your organization will also obtain specialized expertise in pharmaceutical care and processes. They could offer support for your nursing and medical staff as well as encourage collaboration between physicians, nurses, and the pharmacy department.
- Ensure Regulatory Compliance And Boosting Reputation
In the healthcare industry, staying fully compliant is a must. Otherwise, you’ll experience hefty financial impacts. However, it is one of the most challenging areas tackled by healthcare administrators. There’s an increasing demand for compliance requirements and an in-house compliant pharmacy team. Maintaining staff to handle strict privacy and security requirements can be costly. Also, poorly trained pharmaceutical staff can result in grave consequences in the longer term.
There’s also an increase in overall operational costs but with the limited availability of resources which can lower service and pharmaceutical care quality.
You can resolve these issues and minimize the risk of noncompliance by outsourcing your pharmaceutical services. As mentioned before, a reliable pharmacy partner stays updated on the current governmental and regulatory compliance.
This ensures that your organization adheres to certification and accreditation standards. In addition, they can help in correcting any regulatory or accreditation problems relating to your pharmaceutical services. They could also assist in training a compliant in-house pharmacy staff.
Not only can this ensure quality health care, but also enhances your organization’s reputation and image. By staying compliant, you can build trust among your patients and clients. Thus, you could gain an edge against your competitors.
- Expanding Pharmacy Service Hours
Due to inadequacy or to cut expenses, some hospitals have limited pharmaceutical operation hours. However, this is not practical for hospitals and healthcare organizations serving patients around the clock. By doing this, it creates a negative impact on patient care as well as nurse and physician satisfaction.
Outsourcing your pharmacy service not only helps maintain non-stop pharmacy service but also prevents over-taxing your staff. This helps boost employee morale and engagement while providing quality pharmaceutical services and care.
How To Choose A Pharmacy Outsourcing Service Provider
Although pharmacy outsourcing services are widely available, it’s important to choose a company that you can rely on the terms of providing reliable and safe pharmaceutical services and products. Here are some helpful tips when choosing the right third-party pharmaceutical company.
- Consider your needs: If you’re considering outsourcing pharmaceutical services, you need to have a clear understanding of your needs and what you want to accomplish. Outlining your needs should guide you in identifying potential contractors with the proper capabilities and expertise to meet your goals.
- Check the company’s background: When you find the right service provider, make sure to visit the website to find out how long they’ve been operating in the industry. You can also verify this information by asking the company directly. Reading client testimonials and reviews can also help you in assessing whether the company is reputable.
- Compare services and products: Regardless of the type of pharmaceutical products or services you want the outsourcing company to handle for you, it’s essential to compare their offering with their competitors. This way, you can choose the best-suited pharmaceutical outsourcing service provider for your organization at a reasonably competitive price.
- Pick the insured and bonded company: You need some sort of guarantee when entrusting critical pharmaceutical products and tasks to an outsourcing provider. Thus, it’s best to choose vendors with insurance and is fully bonded to avoid liability. You could also ensure proper compensation in case any untoward incidents occur.
If done right, outsourcing pharmacy services can offer numerous advantages for your healthcare organization. When you choose the right pharmaceutical partner, you will notice an increase in operation efficiency, financial stability, and staff development. Thus, bringing quality patient care.