Exploring the time required by pharmacists to prepare discharge medicine lists: a time-and-motion study

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Gjone, Helena
Burns, Gemma
Teasdale, Trudy
Pham, Ton
Khan, Sohil
Hattingh, Laetitia
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2022
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Abstract

Background : Discharge medicine lists provide patients, carers and primary care providers a summary of new, changed or ceased medicines when patients discharge from hospital. Hospital pharmacists play an important role in preparing these lists although this process is time consuming. Aim : To measure the time required by hospital pharmacists to complete the various tasks involved in discharge medicine handover. Method : Time-and-motion study design was used to (1) determine the time involved for pharmacists to produce discharge medicine lists, (2) explore how pharmacists utilise various software programs to prepare lists, and (3) compare the time involved in discharge medicine handover processes considering confounding factors. An independent observer shadowed 16 pharmacists between 22 February and 12 March 2021 and recorded tasks involved in 50 discharge medicine handovers. Relevant information about each discharge was also collected. Results : Pharmacists observed represented a range of practice experiences and inpatient units. Mean time to complete discharges was 26.2 min (SD 13.6), with over half of this time used to check documentation and prepare discharge medicine lists. A mean of 4.0 min was spent on manually retyping and reconciling medicine lists in different software systems. Medical inpatient unit discharges took 4.6 min longer to prepare compared to surgical ones. None of the 50 discharges involved support from pharmacy assistants; all 50 discharges had changed or ceased medicines. Conclusion : There is a need to streamline current discharge processes through optimisation of electronic health software systems and better delegation of technical tasks to trained pharmacy assistants.

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International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy
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44
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4
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Basic pharmacology
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Pharmacology & Pharmacy
Hospitals
Medication reconciliation
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Gjone, H; Burns, G; Teasdale, T; Pham, T; Khan, S; Hattingh, L, Exploring the time required by pharmacists to prepare discharge medicine lists: a time-and-motion study, International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, 2022, 44 (4), pp. 1028-1036
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