Three steps to make your next pharmacy automation budget proposal resonate with Finance

Doug ZurawskiBlog

A major value proposition of most automation solutions is staff efficiency gains. Typically, pharmacy leaders work with their sales rep to quantify efficiency in terms of dollar savings to include in the ROI model of their proposal. When the proposal reaches Finance, however, it inevitably gets picked apart. The problem… in most cases no headcount is actually being eliminated and Finance will argue (perhaps fairly) that, as such, the ROI model is inaccurate. Rather than focusing on the overall value the investment represents to the hospital, the discussion gets stuck on this one point.

Pharmacy Provides Exceptional Patient Care by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis. Public domain image, see DVIDS Copyright Information. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Units of Service and downstream benefits

Having worked with thousands of pharmacy automation proposals (both from the hospital side and the vendor side), here are three suggestions on how to better represent staff efficiencies to make your next pharmacy automation proposal land with a bang (instead of a thud):

1) Present staff efficiency gains in terms of Units of Service (UOS)

Avoid getting stuck in a logic debate with your finance department. Units of Service is a unit of measure that many hospital finance groups are familiar with and reinforces the concept of gained efficiency rather than cost savings.

2) Articulate what additional projects you plan to undertake with those newly gained Units of Service

With pharmacy responsibilities expanding all the time, there is no lack of ideas for how that time can be leveraged to the benefit of the hospital. Avoid the potential discussion of reducing headcount by getting ahead and showing how that gained capacity is essential to keeping pharmacy operating to ensure compliance and patient safety.

3) Quantify the anticipated value of the projects enabled by those extra Units of Service

Staff efficiency can be hugely valuable when reinvested. I recently spoke with a DOP that used some available pharmacist capacity to help improve transitions of care. That one project resulted in a 40% decrease in readmission rates which had a meaningful impact on revenue. Don’t undersell the value of today’s investment by failing to include the downstream benefits.

Partner with Finance to generate value for the hospital

Even though it can sometimes feel like all Finance does is asks you to cut your budget, I have rarely encountered a Finance group unwilling to give due consideration to an investment proposal that provides a fair and compelling ROI. Make your next proposal resonate more effectively by taking the time to fully (and fairly) articulate how the investment will provide value to the organization both in the short and long-run.

Interested in learning how Kit Check can free up staff time that will snowball into long-term value for your hospital?

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