You may recognize Woodsprings Pharmacy in Jonesboro, AR from our social media post highlighting their efforts to give back to the community during COVID-19. As the outbreak initially started escalating, there was a shortage of hand sanitizer that made it difficult for essential workers to stay protected on the job. Woodsprings Pharmacy was featured in their local news for compounding hand sanitizer and donating it to their police department. After eventually getting more shipments of alcohol to the pharmacy, they were able to continue compounding and donate more to their local nursing homes as well.
Brittney Johnson, staff operations manager at Woodsprings Pharmacy, says “We just looked around in our community to see who we thought could benefit.” While they do also sell hand sanitizer in their store, Johnson says they make sure to limit hoarding of supplies. “[It’s about] getting it to the people rather than making the money.”
Like most other pharmacies, they have shifted their services to drive-thru, delivery, and curbside pickup. They’ve always had a drive-thru, but never experienced a majority of their customers using this service before. This has led to a need for innovative ways to help manage traffic and get a better flow of operations. They have started to ask customers to sign up for 1-hour designated time slots to come pick up their medications, in an effort to manage the number of vehicles in the line throughout the day.
Using their PioneerRx software, Woodsprings has also set up a way for their staff to work remotely. They have started a work-from-home schedule to help limit exposure within their group of employees. “We started working with only half our staff, in an effort to be more socially distant,” Johnson explains. “I broke them into 2 teams, and each team only works every other day. So if one person gets sick on a team, then only that team needs to be quarantined – the whole staff doesn’t need to be quarantined.”
Since they have 4 different store locations, their store owner has also been using PioneerRx Central Office to help alleviate some pressure off each pharmacy during the WFH schedule. He is able to remotely access each location’s data in order to monitor operations and even help process things out of the queue if needed. This allows for a simpler, more convenient way to manage and assist stores without having to physically travel to each location.
The overall driving force behind the innovation at Woodsprings Pharmacy is the fact that the COVID-19 situation is constantly changing. “Every day is a new day,” Johnson reminds us. “I keep telling our staff – ‘everything is fluid.’ Just because it’s what we decided is the best for today doesn’t mean that it is the best. And so we’re open to ideas and suggestions.” She involves the staff in brainstorming and gets their feedback on what can help their specific workflow run more efficiently. But sometimes, she says candidly, the solution you’re looking for may already be created by someone else.
“You don’t have to be original. Just look at what other people are doing and sort of build off of that,” Johnson says. They follow their favorite news outlets to keep up with relevant updates, including reading The Orbit newsletter from PioneerRx. There is an extensive amount of resources and information available online that people are sharing based on their own experiences, and pharmacies can use each other’s insights in order to overcome this new disease together. Right now, it’s not a battle to see who can be more innovative. It’s a cooperative effort to innovate and be stronger together.