HMO’s Pharmacy

Process Map About the Prescription Filling Process for HMO’s Pharmacy

The process below indicates a possible dispensing cycle in HMO’s pharmacy and it shows how a certain medical error may arise. This is an interconnection process which mainly involved prescribing, transcribing, compounding and finally an administration. There is a great deal of research and based on Health journal which indicates that about 11%, 12%, and 39% shows the errors in transcribing, prescribing and compounding respectively. The possible errors that HMO’s pharmacist have been making include failing to confirm prescription from the doctor, incompetency, omission, misadvise of the duration of prescription among others. The Health Journal also indicate that about 33% of the inpatients may experience a prescription error and this is during their time in the hospital. They are many factors that lead to an error during the prescriptions which include sloppy handwriting, miscommunication, incompetence, almost the same medication, and incompetence instructions from the doctor.  There are other possible causes of poor prescriptions which include time constraints, fatigues by pharmacist, interruption during dispensing and other (Gheewala, 2014).

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The HMO Pharmacy’s Business Process

The SIPOC model is used here to explain the HMO pharmacy’s business process. This model use supplier, input, output and customer steps. Now that this pharmacy is making a lot of problem in its operation. Juan de Pacotilla is tasked to reverse the process since there are many complains including a lot of lawsuits based on inaccurate prescriptions. For Juan to get rid of all these problems, he is to make a plan in a month. This plan will identify the cause of inaccurate prescription, that is the origin of the problems and how to cure them. He will use SIPOC model when making the plan (Cheng, 2015). He needs to identify if the problem is from the origin of the medicine, that is the supplier(doctor), if the input is the root of the problem, that is a process of prescription in the hospital such as errors made by a doctor. The model also explains the steps that will be taken by patients when receiving the prescriptions (Gheewala, 2014).

Understanding the SIPOC model help HMO’s pharmacy to eliminate problems hence reduces the chances of inaccurate prescription. Primarily, the first action that Juan need to take is to dissect the pharmacist estimates and also, he should ensure that he uses this to benchmark its operations with one of its main competitors and align their process to those of this successful competitor (Cheng, 2015).

Analyze the Process Map and SIPOC Model

In the application of SIPOC model, the HMO’s pharmacy determines when the patient gets to their premises and visits the doctor, treated and given prescriptions. Here, it will identify the root of the problem (Cheng, 2015). For example, the doctor making poor prescription out of misdiagnosing. In the model shown above, there is a problem when patients take the prescription to the pharmacist. The problem may occur in the service desk and during prescription by a pharmacist where is problem of inaccurate prescription and processing. Another problem may arise when a pharmacist is counter-checking the medicine with the label during packing. Another problem happens when the medicine is being removed from the inventory, the pharmacist needs to double check the label which will be attached to the medicine since when it is wrongly attached, there could be consequences that are fatal.

All these problems will be solved by SOPC model and it will help the pharmacy to have a clear understanding of their process and identify the problem and solve them. It will help them to understand where the process of prescription starts and ends and identify where problems arise and how it should be prevented. The supplier is the hospital, inputs are the date of prescription, requirements, medical claim etc. The output is prescription, confirmation emails, accurate prescription, time of prescription among others. The customer is the hospital and the client. The process is receiving of prescription and issuing medication, checking the completeness of the prescriptions and others (Cheng, 2015).

The Main Roots of Problems Can be Categorized as the Special or Common Cause.

Problems that touches on the prescription of medication is special and include, mislabeling of medicine, long time allocation, wrong diagnosing by doctors leading to the wrong prescription. Wrong packing leads to wrong diagnosing hence making is fatal to the patients. Common problems in HMO’s is prescribing errors which are error of omission and spelling mistakes, lapses problems such as failing to sign the prescription, administration errors among others.

Tools of Data Collection and Data Collected

Data tools are techniques used to collect data. These tools will be used by the HMO’s pharmacy when carrying out the research on the problems they are facing in terms of prescription process. For Juan to come up with a clear plan, he needs to carry out research and this calls him to collect data from patients, community, staffs, competitors among others. Below is a discussion of the tools.

Interviews: Juan will form a team to carry out data collection and they could use interview tool where in-depth questions will be asked to interviewees. It can be conducted over the phone or face to face. The team will prepare some question mostly based on the satisfaction of the process of medical prescriptions, if interviewees have directly or indirectly been wrongly prescribed, that is if he or she has been a victim or their family members. The interviews can use sampling method where it collected data in a study case and analyze them to get statistics. This tool is used since it goes beyond a simple and mere answer and it helps the team to seek a clarification from when the purported prescription was done, who did it, how was it done and the effects it had on the victim. Researchers will use mathematical method to analyze the data. The questions should be clear, focused, and open-ended (Roski, 2014).

Questionnaire and surveys: Here, the data collection involves assigning numerical kind of values and base them of on ‘Likert-type scales’. These questions are typed and given to the respondent to tick which favors them. Questions can also be about satisfaction or dissatisfaction where they are put on the scale of 1 to 10. The respondents will tick where their opinion falls. For example, did you enjoy the services offered by HMO’s pharmacy during prescription? The results of the respondents are compared and eventually analyzed to get the statistics (Mahan, 2017).

Observation: The researcher will make use of all his or her senses in specific situations for a prolonged period of time. The observer will interact with the respondents and there is an assumption that the interaction will not influence and alter respondent behavior (Roski, 2014). The observation should be clearly and well expressed. There is use of tactical improvisation and given methodology to make a full understanding of the setting that will be required. An example is, HMO’s researchers need to observe the impact of the wrong prescriptions. This can be done at controlled environment and mostly they will observe the inpatients.  The aim will be to identify the reaction of the medication to the patients.

The observers can use various method to conduct data collection such as writing fieldnotes, audio recording among others.

The data collected are qualitative and quantitative. In the quantitative, the numerical data are collected. For example, the number of patients affected by the wrong prescription. On the qualitative, data such age, gender among others are collected (Mahan, 2017).

I would propose that HMO’s pharmacy to carry out research and have a plan which will identify all problems associated with its operations during medication and prescription. The team should statistically analyze data that will help them make a conclusion on what went wrong and finally implement the recommendation. I would advise, on the recommendation; the solution could be ensuring more training on doctors and pharmacist to familiarize them with their role and when need be, bring more experienced and committed staffs. The strategy to measure the solution would be, to have a questionnaire given to patients to indicate on any improvement and also if the lawsuits are removed it means that they will have been satisfied by the solution taken.


  1. Roski, J., Bo-Linn, G. W., & Andrews, T. A. (2014). Creating value in health care through big data: opportunities and policy implications. Health affairs, 33(7), 1115-1122.
  2. Cheng, S. Y., Bamford, D., Papalexi, M., & Dehe, B. (2015). Improving access to health services–challenges in Lean application. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 28(2), 121-135.
  3. Mahan, K. R., Clark, J. A., Anderson, K. D., Koller, N. J., & Gates, B. J. (2017). Development of a Tool to Identify Problems Related to Medication Adherence in Home Healthcare Patients. Home Healthcare Now, 35(5), 277-282.
  4. Gheewala, P. A., Peterson, G. M., Curtain, C. M., Nishtala, P. S., Hannan, P. J., & Castelino, R. L. (2014). Impact of the pharmacist medication review services on drug-related problems and potentially inappropriate prescribing of renally cleared medications in residents of aged care facilities. Drugs & aging, 31(11), 825-835.

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