Background and Challenges
A leading cancer treatment centers with 78 exam rooms and 86 infusion chairs, sees nearly 135,000 adult exam visits each year across 13 different disease centers. In addition to their association with Harvard Medical School, they are known for their dedication to patient satisfaction and world-class providers.
Aligned with the institute’s mission, the pharmacy organization strives for an environment with quality, safety, and operational effectiveness. The inpatient pharmacy clinics handle an increasing annual volume of approximately 200,000 dispenses across chemotherapies, pre-meds, and other types of drugs.
Faced with an annual growth rate of 12% in infusion demand, the inpatient pharmacy clinics performed at an average turnaround time (time between order entry and order dispense) that contributed to a long time-to-dispense (time between infusion appointment and order dispense) and extensive wait times for the patients, as well as nursing concerns regarding resource availability and patient safety.
Tools & Methodologies
The inpatient pharmacy asked Tefen to help it improve its operations. Tefen completed a diagnostic to identify the issues that impacted the performance of the inpatient pharmacy clinics. These issues included:
• Pharmacy orders were processed on a "first-come, first-served" basis, regardless of the appointment time
• Pharmacists could not start processing an order until after the patient was seated in the infusion chair and seen by the nurse
• Communication between pharmacy and nursing staff was unclear with regards to expectations of service levels
• Staffing levels within the pharmacy were misaligned with demand fluctuations, resulting in a shortage of staff during peak hours
Outcomes and Results
Tefen and the pharmacy leadership collaboratively developed the work plan to address five key work-streams:
Delivered Within 3 months, the inpatient pharmacy clinics were able to improve their workflow and create a more efficient environment. The institute experienced the following results:
• Reduction in turnaround time by an average of 35%
• Reduction in time-to-dispense by an average of 20%
• Alignment of resource allocation with demand fluctuation
• Improvement in communication between pharmacy and nursing
• Increase patient and staff satisfaction