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Am J Hosp Pharm. 1982 Nov;39(11):1916-9.

Factors affecting medication-order processing time.

Abstract

The factors affecting medication-order processing time at one hospital were studied. The order processing time was determined by directly observing the time to process randomly selected new drug orders on all three work shifts during two one-week periods. An order could list more than one drug for an individual patient. The observer recorded the nature, location, and cost of the drugs ordered, as well as the time to process the order. The time and type of interruptions also were noted. The time to process a drug order was classified as six dependent variables: (1) total time, (2) work time, (3) check time, (4) waiting time I--time from arrival on the dumbwaiter until work was initiated, (5) waiting time II--time between completion of the work and initiation of checking, and (6) waiting time III--time after the check was completed until the order left on the dumbwaiter. The significant predictors of each of the six dependent variables were determined using stepwise multiple regression. The total time to process a prescription order was 58.33 +/- 48.72 minutes; the urgency status of the order was the only significant determinant of total time. Urgency status also significantly predicted the three waiting-time variables. Interruptions and the number of drugs on the order were significant determinants of work time and check time. Each telephone interruption increased the work time by 1.72 minutes. While the results of this study cannot be generalized to other institutions, pharmacy managers can use the method of determining factors that affect medication-order processing time to identify problem areas in their institutions.

PMID:
7148859
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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