What Your Architect Doesn't Know: Pharmacy Store Design

Posted by Robert Walthall on Mon, Sep, 08, 2014 @ 09:30 AM

what your architect doesnt know communication in pharmacy designIf you are building or remodeling your pharmacy, what your architect "doesn't" know can hurt you. Before you begin, make sure your architect specializes in independent pharmacy design and has had significant experience. Many architects, for example, are versed in designing hospital pharmacies, but those skills may not apply across the board to the specific design of independent pharmacies.

Important elements that require clear communication between you and your architect during pharmacy store design

  • Workflow in the workspace

Two developments (one recent) have significantly impacted the importance of a streamlined workflow for independent pharmacists. The first is the increasing rise of healthcare costs. The second is the introduction of the Affordable Care Act; this has expanded the role pharmacists play in the healthcare industry as a means to reduce overall healthcare costs and still provide all patients the care they need.

Because of that, a streamlined workflow in the workspace is exceedingly important. Even though personnel costs are not the largest of the healthcare costs that need to be addressed, they do contribute a significant portion to overall costs and thus must be taken into consideration. The architect you choose should understand the importance of workflow so that personnel can perform at maximum efficiency even with maximum workloads.

  • Merchandising

Your pharmacy store design should allow for maximum merchandise exposure; customers should be able to see merchandise in carefully placed displays throughout the store and in products' specific departments. The architect you choose should be made aware of your merchandising strategy, one that will ensure your customers can find what they need and will be drawn not only to products that they need and have come to purchase, but will be drawn to impulse buys, as well.

Although you can certainly construct much of your store's layout yourself through use of easily movable but stationary fixtures like gondola shelving, consult with your architect to determine any areas that may need to be permanent and/or focus on the dimensions for the outer perimeter of your store.

  • Balance between functionality and esthetic concerns

Esthetics are certainly an important part of pharmacy store design; you want your customers to be drawn to your store and to be comfortable while they shop there. Your architect can help you choose features that will make your store esthetically pleasing to customers. However, you are there to serve your customers' healthcare and pharmaceutical needs first and foremost. Your architect should understand that your pharmacy store design should focus first on functionality, second on esthetics.

Regulations that will affect construction and layout

Finally, make sure your architect is versed in regulations like:

  • New HIPAA laws, effective September 23, 2013

Stricter HIPAA regulations mean privacy concerns are paramount. Your architect should understand that any workstations containing personal health information (PHI) will need to be completely secured. Restricted access will also be necessary.

  • USP Chapter 797 Cleanroom Regulations

Cleanroom regulations should be observed if you are a compounding pharmacy, as established by the USP 797, published by the United States Pharmacopeia. The architect should be aware of all regulations, such as HEPA filtration requirements, design including workflow pattern, construction materials to be used, floor plan, and environmental control specifications. These are written out and approved for all that are involved in cleanroom construction.

Maintain clear, constant communication with an architect who is experienced in independent pharmacy design, to ensure your pharmacy store design is completed as smoothly as possible. Become aware of and correct anything your architect doesn't know about pharmacy design, and communicate clearly throughout the design process. This will help prevent or at least minimize any problems that may occur otherwise.

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