Helping pharmacies at the breaking point

November 3, 2023

How pharmacists' workloads affect DSCSA compliance

Housed in an appendix to a 2022 report on DSCSA progress, below a summary of industry-wide projections, were a number of eye-opening — and distressing — comments. Distributors, responding to a handful of open-ended survey questions, raised the alarm that their dispenser partners were not ready for DSCSA, would not be ready for the DSCSA deadline, and could not make time to become ready for DSCSA anytime soon.

The Healthcare Distribution Alliance's Serialization Readiness Survey was a periodic assessment of the pharmaceutical supply chain's preparedness to meet the new law's serialization requirements, based on responses by manufacturers and distributors. This edition was characterized by its finding that "there continues to be uneven readiness as supply chain partners prepare for the 2023 milestone."

The summary referenced these comments in its last paragraph: "Dispenser knowledge of DSCSA requirements continues to be an additional highlighted concern ... Educating dispensers with accurate information is critical and will continue to present issues going forward." However, in their comments, distributors indicated that they have little control over the true obstacle: an intense pharmacy workload.

What do you perceive to be the biggest challenge for your dispenser customers?
"Having any infrastructure/software in place to receive the data. Also, I have not talked to a single independent pharmacist who actually knows exactly what they need to do, they are busy filling prescriptions."
"The extra time it will take to deal with checking in product and verifying serial numbers, data points and exceptions. Plus the lack of skilled IT staff to navigate system integrations."
"Ability to use automation and electronically handle transactions so that it does not become a burden in their already chaotic and busy environment as well as fully understanding suspect product protocols and procedures."

Helping pharmacies at the breaking point

These comments resonate strongly as pharmacists across the U.S. have begun walking out in protest of their work requirements and conditions, even as the November 27, 2023 deadline for DSCSA — whose requirements they will now be obligated to understand and observe — is barely three weeks away.

With high volumes of patients, prescriptions to fill, and vaccines to administer, many feel they critically lack staffing and resources, worry that these factors endanger service to patients (and in fact their very safety), and can't begin to focus on DSCSA compliance while this is the case.

However, we find there's some irony to DSCSA being put on hold due to a hectic, overburdened workload — because DSCSA's transformation of the pharmaceutical supply chain can pave the way for a smoother, easier workflow, while ensuring accurate and safe patient service.

With OneScan Pharmacy Pro, we've focused on using the DSCSA data exchange to make the pharmacy workflow faster and simpler, streamlining administrative work and removing manual entry with tools that automate the receiving process. The solution alerts pharmacists to product expiration dates and recalls, and actively helps them trace what would otherwise be time-consuming errors.

Its cloud-based design seamlessly integrates with any pharmacy system, and accommodates fast mobile scanning for quick receipt of DSCSA data. As well, it includes easily accessible Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that help teams quickly understand their requirements and react.

Further, LSPedia's OneScan is used across by wholesale distributors, manufacturers, and 3PLs across the industry for DSCSA-compliant data exchange, making it easier than ever for pharmacies to share and receive data with their trading partners for immediate results. Combined, these capabilities increase efficiency and reduce cost of ownership, making Pharmacy Pro an essential business tool.

In short, OneScan Pharmacy Pro's automation and labor-saving features don't just take the work out of following DSCSA; they improve everyday operations, giving pharmacists the time they need for their patients. Learn more about OneScan Pharmacy Pro.