The impact of a ward-based pharmacy technician service
Murphy, Kevin D.
Background: Pharmacy technicians have been employed in hospital settings for many years, but only recently has the potential for service expansion been explored. There is a paucity of research on the impact of a ward-based pharmacy technician service (WBPTS) in this country. Purpose: To determine the impact of a WBPTS on medicine management systems, patient safety and healthcare costs. Methods: Sixteen wards were studied over 8 weeks; four ‘intervention’ wards (already assigned a WBPTS prior to the study) and 12 ‘control’ wards (whereby technicians provide a stock ‘top-up’ service). The ‘intervention’ wards comprised mainly of medical patients; a WBPT had been assigned to each of these wards as they were considered high activity wards. The control wards comprised both medical and surgical patients. The medication management systems were inspected by the research team for the presence of excess non-stock medicines and expired medication. Nurses were observed by the research team to calculate time taken to complete drug rounds. Patient drug charts were analysed to calculate the duration to pharmacist review of high-risk medications. Nursing staff were surveyed on their opinions of the service. Results: The total value of excess non-stock on intervention wards was €97.51 (mean cost per ward: €24.38) compared with €13,767.76 on the control wards (mean cost per ward: €1,147.31). Eight expired medications were found on control wards; none were present on intervention wards. The mean time to complete drug rounds on a per-patient basis was 28% lower on intervention wards. The median time taken for pharmacist review of high-risk medications was shorter on intervention wards (0.67 days vs 4.2 days). 100% of respondents agreed that the WBPTS should continue. Conclusion: More widespread investment in the WBPTS has the potential to reduce healthcare expenditure due to excess medicines, increase nursing time spent on direct care of patients, and reduce the potential for patient harm from high-risk medicines. The current study did not consider the costs associated with providing this service (e.g. personnel costs, additional time spent by the technician/ time saved by nurses etc.) and so further studies should consider the full economic costing of the service.
Ward-based pharmacy technician service
Lynch, E., O’Flynn, J., O’Riordan, C., Bogue, C., Lynch, D., McCarthy, S. and Murphy, K. (2019) 4CPS-236: 'The impact of a ward-based pharmacy technician service' [Poster Presentation], 24th Congress of the European Association Hospital Pharmacy, Barcelona, Spain, 27-29 March, in European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy 2019;26:A179. doi: 10.1136/ejhpharm-2019-eahpconf.385
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