A quantitative comparison of ward-based clinical pharmacy activities in 7 acute UK hospitals
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Background Several clinical pharmacy activities are common to UK hospitals. It is not clear whether these are provided at similar levels, and whether they take similar amounts of time to carry out. Objective To quantify and compare clinical pharmacist ward activities between different UK hospitals. Setting Seven acute hospitals in the Greater London area (UK). Methods A list of common ward activities was developed. On five consecutive days, pharmacists visiting hospital wards documented total time spent and how many of each activity they undertook. Results were analysed by hospital. The range and number of activities per 100 occupied bed days, and per 24 beds were compared. Main outcome measure Time spent on wards and numbers of each activity undertaken. Results Pharmacists logged a total of 2291 h carrying out 40,000 activities. 4250 changes to prescriptions were made or recommended. 5901 individual medication orders were annotated for clarity or safety. For every 24 beds visited, mean time spent was 230 min—seeing 6.2 new patients, carrying out 3.9 calculations and 1.3 patient consultations, checking and authorising 1.8 discharge prescriptions, and providing staff with information twice. Other activities varied significantly, not all could be explained by differences in hospital specialties or Information Technology systems. Conclusion This is the first detailed comparison of clinical pharmacy ward activities between different hospitals. There are some typical levels of activities carried out. Wide variations in other activities could not always be explained. Despite a large number of contacts, pharmacists reported very few consultation sessions with patients.
KeywordsBenchmarking Clinical pharmacy Hospital Pharmacists Secondary care United Kingdom
The authors wish to acknowledge pharmacy staff at participating organisations for their support in data collection.
This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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