Workload and availability of technology in metropolitan community pharmacies

Grant H. Skrepnek, Edward P. Armstrong, Daniel C. Malone, Jacob Abarca, John E. Murphy, Amy J. Grizzle, Rick A. Rehfeld, Raymond L. Woosley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess workload characteristics and the presence of prescription processing technologies within metropolitan community pharmacies in the United States. Design: Cross-sectional postal survey. Setting: 18 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the United States. Participants: 3,000 managers located in community pharmacies processing at least 500 third-party claims per month for four major pharmacy benefits managers. Interventions: 34-item survey instrument designed to collect data about the pharmacy including demographics, workload issues, handling of drug-drug interactions (DDIs), and pharmacists' attitudes toward computerized DDI alerts. Main Outcome Measures: Workload (hours of operation, prescription volume, staffing hours, prescription processing intensity) and prescription processing technologies (telecommunication systems, automated counting/filling or verification devices, number of computer terminals, and computer software vendors). Results: Overall, 736 usable surveys were returned (response rate, 25.3%). On average, respondents reported a volume of approximately 1,340 prescriptions per week processed at a rate of almost 17 prescriptions per hour. Independent pharmacies processed approximately 3 prescriptions per hour more than chain pharmacies even though a statistically equal or slightly lower proportion of those pharmacies had automated technologies. The presence of technology was generally high for all pharmacies, particularly countertop tablet/capsule-counting devices and telefacsimile machines. The most common software vendors differed considerably between chain and independent pharmacies. Conclusion: The number of prescriptions processed per hour and number of technologies available increased with the total weekly volume of prescriptions processed in this national survey. A majority of pharmacies had at least one type of automated prescription processing technology and an automated telecommunication system for accepting new or refill prescriptions. Independent pharmacies processed more prescriptions per hour than did chains but did so with fewer categories of technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-160
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Pharmacists Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006


  • Automation
  • Community and ambulatory pharmacy
  • Surveys
  • Technology
  • Workload

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (nursing)
  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology


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