05 Aug OUTPATIENT HOSPITAL PHARMACY WAITING TIME OR WASTING TIME? (Part.I)
OUTPATIENT HOSPITAL PHARMACY WAITING TIME OR WASTING TIME? (Part.I)
A study recently titled Studying the Efficiency of Waiting Time in Outpatient Pharmacy and carried out in Riyadh by some researchers of the Prince Sultan University (Arwa Alodan et al) was published last year on a well-accomplished scientific website (https://www.sciencedirect.
The paper investigated the principles behind the reduction of the Waiting Time in Outpatient Pharmacies throughout a quality assurance.
A few interesting factors were pointed out, and plenty on them revolve around the concept of having a well-organized internal layout with a right allocation of footage for all the pharmacy flows to be implemented.
A survey conducted within the Medical City Outpatient Main Pharmacy in Riyadh, serving all the outpatient clinics within the area, showed that the average waiting time for the patients is between 90 to 120 mnts.
The internal layout and the allocation of spaces within any Pharmacy are relevant factors that keep on making the difference. Pharmacy footage is often not big enough when compared to the number of medicines stored or patients to be served. In addition to that, the functionality of spaces is in the majority of cases very uncomfortable for both patients and pharmacists too.
Inpatient Pharmacies are certainly more easily manageable, as opposed to the Outpatient ones. The averaging timing for filling prescriptions and coping with patients’ flows are actually getting close to ideal scenarios.
An accurate study led within a local hospital in Pakistan with the aim of finding methodologies to reduce patients’ waiting time, underlines a range of tailor-made actions which can be set in place in order to reduce such a waiting time by 50% (Arafeh et al., Six Sigma applied to reduce patients’ waiting time in a cancer pharmacy, 2014).
In particular, in accordance to an article published a few years ago on “The Bulletin of the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists” ( M.H.Rim et al, Implementation and quality assessment of a pharmacy services call center for outpatient pharmacies and specialty pharmacy services in an academic health system, 2018), it is evident that a range of well-accomplished strategies (such as improving the speed of answer, labor efficiency and pharmacy capacities) are the keys to improve the workplace satisfaction, retain outpatient pharmacy staff even longer, and give the patients a sense of experience, efficiency, and quality. The Design and the implementation of the pharmacy internal layout as a whole constitute a distinctive factor to meet all the aforementioned goals.
Three high-incidence strategies finally seem to be ones representing a huge breakthrough:
1. Automated Prescriptions throughout an online system;
2. Patient Categorization with different access windows;
3. Mini Pharmacies to serve each floor in the case of multi-storey premises.
Considering a good implementation of all these conditions, the waiting time can be reduced to a maximum of 15-20 minute per prescription.
In the case you have a perfect Inpatient or Outpatient Pharmacy, each client accessing your premises will be there for a minimum of 20 minutes.
Arch. Fiona Sartoretto Verna