Impact of an automated dispensing system in outpatient pharmacies.J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2008 Nov-Dec; 48(6):774-9.JA
To evaluate the impact of an automated dispensing system (ADS) on pharmacy staff work activities and job satisfaction.
Cross-sectional, retrospective study.
Kaiser Permanente Colorado (KPCO) outpatient pharmacies in September 2005.
Pharmacists and technicians from 18 outpatient pharmacies.
All KPCO outpatient pharmacists (n = 136) and technicians (n = 160) were surveyed regarding demographics and work activities and pharmacist job satisfaction. Work activities and job satisfaction were compared between pharmacies with and without ADS. Historical prescription purchase records from ADS pharmacies were assessed for pre-ADS to post-ADS changes in productivity.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Self-reported pharmacy staff work activities and pharmacist job satisfaction.
Pharmacists who responded to the demographic questionnaire (n = 74) were primarily women (60%), had a bachelor's degree in pharmacy (68%), and had been in practice for 10 years or more (53%). Responding technicians (n = 72) were predominantly women (80%) with no postsecondary degree (90%) and fewer than 10 years (68%) in practice. Pharmacists in ADS pharmacies who responded to the work activities questionnaire (n = 50) reported equivalent mean hours spent in patient care activities and filling medication orders compared with non-ADS pharmacists (n = 33; P > 0.05). Similarly, technicians in ADS pharmacies who responded to the work activities questionnaire (n = 64) reported equivalent mean hours spent in filling medication orders compared with non-ADS technicians (n = 38; P > 0.05). An equivalent proportion of ADS pharmacists reported satisfaction with their current job compared with non-ADS pharmacies (P > 0.05). Mean productivity did not increase appreciably after automation (P >0.05).
By itself, installing an ADS does not appear to shift pharmacist work activities from dispensing to patient counseling or to increase job satisfaction. Shifting pharmacist work activities from dispensing to counseling and monitoring drug therapy outcomes may be warranted in ADS pharmacies.