Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Do drive through pharmacy windows hurt or help?

The drive through window has always been seen as an expedient way obtain our prescriptions without the hassle of parking our cars and going into the pharmacy. But perhaps we should rethink this convenience.

A survey was taken in 2008 to evaluate what effects layout and design, the presence of a drive-through window and automated dispensing had on retail pharmacies. Sheryl Szeinback, a professor of pharmacy practice and administration at Ohio University, conducted the survey of 429 U.S. pharmacists working at traditional chain and independently owned drug stores. According to that survey, the main source of irritation to pharmacists seems to be the distractions and interruptions associated with the drive-through window. The concern is that those interruptions can result in processing delays, reduced efficiency and even dispensing errors. “Maybe we ought to stop and consider: ‘Am I likely to get the same level of service from the drive-through as I am actually interacting face-to-face with a health-care professional?” (Sheryl Szeinback, Science Daily, 1/8/2008). In addition, in 2008, there was a growth rate of only 1.8 per cent in the sale of ethical pharmaceutical drugs and insulin. In 2009, the growth rate was 5.1 percent through retail and non-retail channels. We can only conclude that since Prof. Szeinback’s survey, a mere two years ago, the traffic at the drive-through pharmacy window has increased dramatically. Maybe we should take a second look at our scripts before we drive away from the window.

Read Sheryl Szeinback's entire article, Pharmacists Believe Drive-through Windows Contribute to Delays, Errors, (Science Daily, 1/8/2008)