PRESCRIBING – HOW DOES IT AFFECT THE WARD PHARMACIST?
Background’ drug charts
could be seen each day, as charts were unavailable. Post-ServeRx, all medication
records could be seen. Before ServeRx, the average time per chart screened was 3
minutes 7 seconds; following ServeRx it was 3 minutes 30 seconds.
It is likely that electronic prescribing will be a common feature in
tomorrow’s hospitals. However, we do not yet know how its introduction will
affect the practice of hospital pharmacists. We are evaluating a closed-loop
electronic prescribing, automated dispensing, bar-coded administration system (ServeRx)
on one surgical ward. As part of this evaluation, we wanted to explore its
impact on the ward pharmacist. Our objectives were to assess the impact of
ServeRx on the time spent providing a ward pharmacy service, and on the
Data were collected both before, and about one year after, the introduction
of ServeRx. The same ward pharmacist remained responsible for the study ward. In
each period, data collection took place in two phases. First, the ward
pharmacist was asked to self-report the time taken to provide a ward pharmacy
service each day for four weeks. Second, a more detailed study was carried out
for two weeks. During this second phase, the ward pharmacist was observed and
her activities recorded using two-dimensional work sampling based on methods
described previously1. The two dimensions were "activity"
(11 categories) and "contact" (5 categories).
The overall time taken to provide a weekday ward pharmacy service to the
study ward rose from a mean of 1 hour 8 minutes each day, to 1 hour 38 minutes
(p = 0.001; unpaired t-test). However, pre-ServeRx, an average of only 78% of
The percentage of time spent on the following activities
increased following ServeRx: changing therapy/monitoring (increase from 4% to 7%
of total time), giving advice (9% to 19%), prescription monitoring (16% to 23%)
and non-productive time (6% to 11%). Time spent on the following decreased:
looking for charts (3% to 0%), checking patients’ own drugs (5% to 0%), supply
(23% to 14%), and travel (7% to 4%). Time spent on information gathering and
prescription annotation remained about the same. In terms of contact, there was
an increase in the percentage of time spent with doctors and a decrease with
nurses. Percentages of time spent with patients, pharmacy staff, self and others
remained similar, although since the total time providing a ward pharmacy
service was greater following ServeRx, each of these increased in real terms.
The introduction of ServeRx increased the time required to provide a ward
pharmacy service; however, more medication records were seen and there was
little difference in the time taken per record screened. There were some changes
in the types of activity undertaken. Reassuringly, there was no decrease in the
time spent with patients.
Beech EF and Barber ND (1993). The development of a
self-reporting multi-dimensional work sampling measure to study ward
pharmacy services in the United Kingdom. Journal of Social and
Administrative Pharmacy. 10: 157-162
Presented at the HSRPP Conference 2005, Reading