Magazine article Drug Topics

Trained Technicians Cut Pharmacist Turnover at CVS

Magazine article Drug Topics

Trained Technicians Cut Pharmacist Turnover at CVS

Article excerpt

CHAINS AND BUSINESS

Don't look for any debate about pharmacy technicians at CVS Pharmacy. An inhouse tech training program cut pharmacy support staff turnover by 20% in its first year. Turnover among CVS pharmacists dropped 23% from 1999 to 2000.

"With a combination of internal CVS certification and national certification, we have been successful beyond our wildest expectations," said CVS technician trainer Anita Burkhart. "We have found that trained techs are happier and more successful. So are our pharmacists. And in today's environment, smiles are a competitive advantage."

The chain's success with technicians didn't happen overnight, Burkhart told the American Pharmaceutical Association's annual meeting in San Francisco. CVS designed its four-level Pharmacy Support Services Training Track to meet specific challenges in pharmacy operations.

The biggest problem, Burkhart explained, is the growing dispensing volume. Industry Rx volume has gone from just under two billion to a projected four billion by 2004. The increase from 1998 to 2004 alone should hit 47%. The average chain store has seen script volume jump from 56 per eighthour shift in 1993 to 86 in 1999. Current estimates call for 125 scripts per shift by 2005.

But the supply of R.Ph.s has barely budged since 1992. Current pharmacy school enrollments suggest a 6% increase in R.Ph. full-time equivalents by 2005.

"That's a scary difference," she said. "And we expect to see more pressure as the population ages, new drugs are introduced, and drug benefit plans become even more complex. …

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