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Purpose The current status of external and internal workload and productivity measurement systems and strategies to improve their use to maximize overall pharmacy department operational performance and staffing effectiveness are described.
Summary The use of operational benchmarking is increasing within health systems as a tool for continuously measuring and improving departmental performance and evaluating departmental success. Unfortunately, software used for benchmarking purposes is available through a limited number of commercial vendors and consultants, and these systems are unable to effectively measure department operations and overall performance. The theoretical value of benchmarking and productivity measurement systems, including a description of the various definitions, tools, and data sources for comparing pharmacy productivity data, is summarized. The limitations of commercially available vendor productivity monitoring systems and desired strategies for improving their use are also reviewed. Preferred productivity and cost metrics for measuring pharmacy department effectiveness are suggested, and strategies for obtaining value from external and internal productivity monitoring systems are explored.
Conclusion Challenges with external operational benchmarking and internal productivity monitoring systems are numerous. These systems rarely measure the quality of pharmacy services provided and their effect on patient care outcomes and the total cost of care. Benchmarking vendors must modernize their software and develop internal checks to confirm data integrity in order to make their products more useful and reliable. In addition, data supporting the patient care role of the pharmacist should be integrated into all productivity monitoring systems and be used to demonstrate the positive impact of pharmacy services on the total cost and quality of patient care.
- Patient care
- Pharmaceutical services
- Quality assurance
- Work load
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