Tip of the Week: Consider How to Manage Implementation of Services


Pharmacy managers manage the implementation of services, including ones commensurate with everyday practice as well as newer, more patient-centered services.

This series provides management tips every week, but what is “management” to begin with? We all think we know.

The word “manage” means to handle or direct with a degree of skill, to work upon or try to alter for a purpose, or to succeed in accomplishing. Management has been described as a process which brings together resources and unites them in such a way that collectively, they achieve goals or objectives in the most efficient manner possible. The classical view of management is that it is associated with multiple functions: forecasting, planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating, and controlling. The words “command” and “control” sometimes are taken pejoratively in modern society, and some might proffer different verbiage on occasion, but managers still do have to command and exert some control over resources to accomplish things. They must balance the everyday and practical all while allowing long-term mission and underlying management and leadership principles to guide them and translate those principles into effective communication that resonates with each and every employee. Pharmacy managers manage the implementation of services, including ones commensurate with everyday practice as well as newer, more patient-centered services.

Tang et al. conducted qualitative research (interviews) of participants in the Pharmacist and Data-driven Quality Improvement in Primary care (P-DQIP) program to link implementation factors with effectiveness in pharmacists’ proactive management of drug therapy risks.1 Three intervention functions (training, enablement, and environmental restructuring) were relevant and were served by 2 policy categories (guidelines and communication/marketing) and 8 managerial functions (instructions on how to perform a behavior, problem solving, action planning, prompts/cues, goal setting, self-monitoring, feedback, and restructuring the social environment).

In other words, if the organization issued guidelines and provided the proper communication for the rationale, prioritization/support, and basic fundamentals on how to execute the guidelines, the P-DQIP program was likely to be more effective in its goal of having pharmacists assist physicians with safe prescribing.

Additionally, pharmacy managers reinforce these communications, solve problems, develop plans of action, provide cues to employees, help set goals and targets for performing, monitor the program for effectiveness, provide and receive feedback from staff pharmacists, and use this feedback to tailor and sometime restructure the program as needed for maximum likelihood of success. What’s interesting about this type of research is that researchers do not go in with an expectation beforehand of what to find. These qualitative interviews allow the subjects—in this case pharmacy managers—to describe what has been successful in promoting their respective programs. Their thoughts are then organized by the researchers into the themes listed above. So, this advice comes directly from pharmacy managers themselves.

Managers manage. That sounds almost trite and banal, but it’s often overlooked. We are sometimes quick to assume that managers just push paper, but managers plan, organize, command, coordinate, and control. They also empower others to do the same. In this case, effective management results in a successful program that improves prescribing and patient safety. That’s a lot more important than merely pushing paper.

Additional information about Management Functions and Implementing Value-Added Pharmacist Services can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e.

About the Author

Shane P. Desselle, PhD, RPh, FAPhA, is a professor of social and behavioral pharmacy at the Touro University California College of Pharmacy.


Tang J, Toma M, Gray NM, Delvaux J, et al. Pharmacist and data-driven quality improvement in primary care (P-DQIP): a qualitative study of anticipated implementation factors informed by the Theoretical Domains Framework. BMJ Open. 10(2): http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-033574/

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