Beep. Knock-knock. Whirr. “Stat!” Ring Ring.
A hospital pharmacy can be full of interruptions and distractions, some obvious, others more subtle. An undergraduate engineering researcher at University of Missouri-Columbia recently measured the number of interruptions at the University Hospital pharmacy. Her findings include:
“During the observed time period of 1094 minutes, a total of 528 interruptions and distractions were observed and recorded. This equates to an average of about one interruption every two minutes.“
Another recent article in the February issue of AJHP rings similar:
In 62 different 30-minute observations a total of 2,663 stimulus events across 25 different categories were noted.
In the April issue of Pharmacy Today, ISMP’s error alert was dedicated to deflecting distractions and intercepting interruptions. Their first suggestion is the creation of a No Interruption Zone (NIZ). Their other advice consisted of staff education, checklists, system improvements, mobile device policies, and reducing alerts/alarms.
Published evidence of the NIZ has primarily referenced nursing workflow. A recent example from ASHP Midyear is published in last month’s Pharmacy Practice News. Cleveland Clinic saw medication errors attributed to workflow disruptions decrease from 47% to 20% after giving nurses “medication passes” and do not disturb signs.
Nurse inquiries about “missing” medications or status checks on delivery times is one category of interruptions for pharmacists that can be reduced or even eliminated. A medication tracking system like PharmTrac.PD can give floor unit nurses a real-time view of where medications are in the system so they don’t have to call down to the pharmacy for updates.
See our new video intro for PharmTrac.PD on the homepage of plusdeltatech.com.
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