It’s no secret that many healthcare workers have been under an extraordinary amount of stress since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020. Included in that workforce are pharmacists, who continued to prepare and provide necessary medications before administering vaccines once they were widely available in January 2021. This large task, when combined with everyday duties, long hours, and staffing shortages, has created an unprecedented level of burnout among pharmacists.
A level so high that the American Pharmacists Association issued a press release in December 2021 stating that “pharmacy workforce issues that lead to frustration and burnout are very real.” This statement is backed up by a UIC College of Pharmacy survey, taken in June 2021 but published in December 2022, that found nine out of 10 pharmacists at two academic health systems in Chicago were at high risk for burnout. Further, there was essentially no difference in burnout levels between ambulatory and nonambulatory care health-system pharmacists. Why, and what can be done to help?
Ingredients for Pharmacist Burnout
The pandemic, long hours, and staffing shortages have all undoubtedly contributed to pharmacist burnout. But more factors do exist, according to the APhA. Notably, the association mentions that the pharmacy payment system is misaligned, as it rewards volume instead of value. This means that pharmacies are more often paid by how many medication transactions there are rather than providing care, which is a fundamental aspect of being a pharmacist.
Because of the payment model, pharmacists often lack the amount of time it takes to adequately explain medications to patients or provide other clinical services like testing or prescription treatments, actions that are certainly heightened thanks to the effects of the pandemic. At its core, pharmacist burnout impacts pharmacists’ mental health, which in turn, negatively impacts patient safety.
While unable to help physically administer vaccines or explain medications to patients, Primex OneVue Sense™ can help pharmacists by taking tasks off their everyday workloads. Interestingly enough, the AphA press release does state that the “use of technology” must be discussed between pharmacy team members and boards of pharmacy to strengthen the well-being of staff. OneVue Sense is the perfect technology for pharmacy use, as it automates temperature monitoring, safeguards valuables, and offers on-demand report generation.
- Automates Temperature Monitoring — With a OneVue Sense Temperature Sensor, gone are the days of manually recording internal refrigerator or freezer temperatures on a piece of paper or post-it note. The small, out-of-the-way sensors routinely record temperature measurements and send data to the web-based OneVue® software platform for easy viewing — even on mobile devices.
- Safeguards Valuables — Pharmacists have enough on their minds at any given time, and Primex OneVue Sense can provide them with some peace of mind about their temperature-sensitive assets. If a sensor detects an out-of-range measurement, pharmacy staff can receive a real-time alert via phone call, text message, or email, allowing them to take action and save their vaccines, medications, test samples, or other vital items.
- On-Demand Reporting — With Primex, pharmacists can rest assured that they are meeting regulatory compliance standards and guidelines. With scheduled probe replacements and on-demand reporting capabilities, a drop-in compliance audit can be a worry-free event.
While these Primex technological solutions can’t provide care, they can free up pharmacists’ time to have more face-to-face conversations with their patients or customers. If pharmacists know that their temperature logging tasks are handled, their refrigerated assets are safe, and their pharmacy is meeting regulatory standards, it’s possible they may feel some well-needed burnout relief.
If you’re wondering how you or your pharmacists can experience the benefits of Primex OneVue Sense Automated Monitoring firsthand, contact us today.