How to plan workflow changes: A practical quality improvement tool used in an outpatient hospital pharmacy

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Journal of Pharmacy Practice


Objective: A quality improvement tool is provided to improve pharmacy workflow with the goal of minimizing errors caused by workflow issues. This study involved workflow evaluation and reorganization, and staff opinions of these proposed changes. Practice Description: The study pharmacy was an outpatient pharmacy in the Tucson area. However, the quality improvement tool may be applied in all pharmacy settings, including but not limited to community, hospital, and independent pharmacies. Practice Innovation: This tool can help the user to identify potential workflow problem spots, such as high-traffic areas through the creation of current and proposed workflow diagrams. Creating a visual representation can help the user to identify problem spots and to propose changes to optimize workflow. It may also be helpful to assess employees' opinions of these changes. Conclusion: The workflow improvement tool can be used to assess where improvements are needed in a pharmacy's floor plan and workflow. Suggestions for improvements in the study pharmacy included increasing the number of verification points and decreasing high traffic areas in the workflow. The employees of the study pharmacy felt that the proposed changes displayed greater continuity, sufficiency, accessibility, and space within the pharmacy. © The Author(s) 2012.

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