Introducing a checking technician allows pharmacists to spend more time on patient-focused activities

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Abstract

Background:

Internationally there is an increasing focus on the clinical and cognitive services that pharmacists can provide. Lack of time has been identified as a barrier to pharmacists increasing their clinical activities. Within the pharmacy workplace there are many tasks that can only be performed by a pharmacist. The final accuracy check of a dispensed prescription is currently the sole responsibility of pharmacists in New Zealand. This takes up a significant amount of time during a pharmacist's work day. The introduction of a checking technician role has been suggested to allow pharmacists more time to do more patient focused work.

Aim/objective:

To investigate the amount of time pharmacy staff spend on specific activities and to establish whether the introduction of a checking technician into twelve pilot sites increased the amount of time that the pharmacists could spend on patient focused activities.

Methods:

This study utilised a self-reported work sampling technique in twelve pilot sites, selected from both the hospital and community settings. Work sampling using an electronic device was conducted at two time-points (before the implementation of a Pharmacy Accuracy Checking Technician (PACT) role and when the PACT was in place). Data was collected at 10 min intervals for the period of five days, a working week. Tasks were grouped into patient focused, dispensing and personal activities.

Results:

The introduction of the PACT into the pilot sites saw a mean increase of 19% in pharmacists' patient focused activities and a mean 20% decrease in dispensing activities.

Conclusion:

The introduction of a checking technician role into New Zealand pharmacies demonstrated the potential to provide pharmacists with more time to spend on patient focused activities.

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