|Abstract or Summary
- Historically, patient days were used to assess pharmacy staffing levels at Albany General Hospital. It was the impression of the director of pharmacy that patient days were an incomplete and therefore unacceptable indicator of personnel requirements. Therefore, a study was initiated to: 1) develop a methodology that would document and measure all activities of the hospital pharmacy department, both distributive and nondistributive, for the purpose of assessing monthly staffing levels, 2) evaluate the methodology through a six month trial, and 3) test the results of the six month trial against the previous indicator, patient days, for statistical significance. Utilizing industrial engineering techniques, time weights, or work units, were developed for 27 predefined pharmacy tasks. Workload data were applied to the work units per task and a productivity index was ascertained. The index was corrected for personal, fatigue and delay time and was then used to assess pharmacy staffing levels. In addition, an attitude survey was conducted to discover the staff's understanding of the methodology and their opinions as to its usefulness in determining productivity. Results of the six month trial yielded two months (October 1977 and January 1978) which were overstaffed. The overstaffing in October probably represented under reporting of workload as the staff became familiar with the workload reporting system. In January, pharmacy personnel hours were increased to implement a new service and the resulting overstaffing situation was reflective of the inefficiencies of implementing a new service. In addition, tabulation of the attitude survey indicated that pharmacy personnel felt that the work unit methodology was valuable in assessing productivity and should be an ongoing process. Application of linear regression analysis to data resulted in a statistically insignificant regression between patient days and the calculated productivity; thus, documenting that patient days were an incomplete and, therefore, inadequate indicator of pharmacy staffing requirements. It is important to realize that no one universal formula will be able to determine the productivity or predict the staffing requirements of every given hospital pharmacy. However, results of the study prove that it is possible to develop a methodology that is more accurate and more complete than gross indicators such as patient days and line items and that such a methodology is applicable to today's hospital pharmacy practice.