“We were filling astronomical numbers of prescriptions and it was killing us,” the Fort Williams Pharmacy owner explained. “So we asked ourselves, ‘How can we make this better for employees? And how can we make it safer for patients?’ … I truly do not know how we did this job before having scripClip.”
Building a Pharmacy
Karen Lightsey and her husband Chad opened Fort Williams Pharmacy in Sylacauga, Alabama, in June 2009. Chad previously worked as a pharmacist for big grocery store chain and Karen had worked as a bank teller, human resources manager, then stay-at-home mom to their two children over the years. They took a chance opening their own pharmacy to serve the Talladega County community and residents in surrounding rural areas, not knowing whether it would pan out.
Fourteen years later, they’ve grown to be the busiest pharmacy in town “by treating people the way we’d like to be treated,” Karen said. Their team of roughly 20 total employees, six of which are pharmacists, follow that Golden Rule.
When prescription volumes really started to grow, Karen knew they needed a solution to help the staff work more efficiently and ensure prescription accuracy. “It had gotten so chaotic – just trying to bag [800 to 900 prescriptions most Mondays] and go look for them one by one when the customers get here,” Karen explained.
“We were running out of space and knew we couldn’t just keep adding people.” They purchased a dispensing robot and desktop counter but needed to do more. “Even though we would look at name and date of birth, there were still [wrong-patient delivery] errors. … We were looking to streamline anything we could.”
Scaling the Will-Call Workflow
Unfortunately, will-call automation wasn’t a silver bullet for Fort Williams Pharmacy. Before implementing scripClip, they tried an alternative solution. “It was a nightmare; not a good system. I was like, ‘No, we will go back to doing what we were doing over this,’” Karen recalled.
They sent it back and immediately started researching other will-call solutions – speaking with their wholesaler representative and many fellow pharmacy leaders before ultimately selecting scripClip.
Fort Williams Pharmacy launched with scripClip in mid-2020, in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic – which wasn’t ideal timing, but everyone agreed it couldn’t happen soon enough. “Our business was out of control at that point,” Karen said. “Every patient was, all of a sudden, panicked that they were going to run out of their medications.”
While the team already provided services like vaccinations and home delivery, they had to quickly accommodate the influx of prescriptions and new workflows for curbside pickup.
Luckily, getting the scripClip system stood up was simple and straightforward.
“To this day, our drive-thru line goes around the building, but we have a great way of doing it with scripClip,” Karen explained. Staff members go out to the cars and have the scripClipped prescriptions ready at the window by the time they pull around. “It’s very efficient.”
Seeing the Difference
Fortunately, Karen’s will-call ‘nightmare’ is a thing of the past. “I truly do not know how we did this job before having this system. We can’t operate without it.”
They have put their scripClip system to good use – dispensing more than 410,000 prescriptions in three years. “It has definitely made life better here,” Karen said on behalf of the team – reiterating that the enhanced staff experience, customer experience, and patient safety and security are all part of that ‘better pharmacy life.’
“We pride ourselves on accuracy and our customer service,” she said. “scripClip helps us locate the right orders quickly when customers come in,” whether they’re in the will-call area, refrigerator or delivery zone. “It has made a huge impact because the less time you’re looking for a prescription, the quicker the line moves.”
Return to stock (RTS) processes are easier too. The Fort Williams pharmacists also use the scripClip application’s RTS function to “borrow,” for example, med-synched prescriptions that have been hanging in will call, for patients who are there to pick up the same drug right away. “It’s been a huge help to us,” to make the most of inventory and provide exceptional customer service.
Karen also explained the value of error avoidance. “The computer stops you” from packaging incorrect or incomplete prescriptions for a patient, and helps clerks ensure they’re giving them to the correct person at the point of sale. “We have a lot of people here with the same names – and you’d be surprised how many of them come into the pharmacy at the same time!”
The in-app alerts and tamper-resistant scripClips aren’t the only security measures afforded by the system. Karen also uses data from scripClip to identify orders that seem to have been misplaced – referencing the packaging or retrieval time to inform security camera playback.
The Lightseys are clearly doing something right, to retain a great staff and keep thousands of local patients coming back. Plus, Karen and Chad’s two children who were ages 4 and 6 when they started the business are now off at college – studying pharmacy.