Pharmacy automation in Navy Medicine: a study of Naval Medical Center San Diego
Merkl, Abbie J.
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In August 2012, Naval Medical Center San Diego implemented a state-of-the-art pharmacy automation system in an effort to reduce cost and improve efficiency. The objective of this study is to quantify the increase in efficiency after installation through a focus on observed post-automation prescription fill times during calendar year 2014 (CY2014) and a simulated pre-automation process. With a response of average daily prescription fill time, automatic prescription fills in CY2014 are quicker than manual prescription fills in CY2014 by 6.97 0.97 (standard error) minutes, and post-automation prescription fills are quicker than pre-automation prescription fills by 4.4 0.34 minutes. The difference between pre-automation and post-automation prescription fills is used as the response in a linear regression to determine which factors most contribute to the decrease in prescription fill time. The proportion of prescriptions automated is influential: if this proportion is held constant at 0.37, the workload for each pharmacy technician can be reduced by an estimated 2.34 0.03 (standard deviation) hours per day. A cost analysis of the pharmacy automation system is conducted, and it is estimated that a lower bound on the annual cost savings after implementation is over $300,000.
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