Clinical pharmacists in Silver Cross Hospital’s intensive care unit optimized their workflow and reduced aggregate time spent reviewing the department’s target drug list by 50 percent.
When Silver Cross Hospital’s 20-bed intensive care unit (ICU) implemented the CareAware® Pharmacy Infusion Management Dashboard in June 2013, its clinical pharmacists used near real-time information to optimize their daily workflow and to more quickly provide care by proactively dispensing intravenous (IV) medications (“drips”) to the most critical patients. In addition, optimization efforts in regards to automated tasking over the past two years led to a 50 percent reduction in aggregate time spent by clinical pharmacists reviewing the department’s target drug list — without compromising on quality of care.
As anyone who has experience caring for critical patients can attest, a delay in administering IV drips can potentiate negative patient outcomes. Clinical pharmacists at the New Lenox, Ill., regional hospital optimized their workflow using the CareAware Pharmacy Dashboard, which displays in near real time the remaining drip volume, allowing nurses to focus on bedside care. This seamless workflow reduces the burden on the nursing or pharmacy teams to scramble when a drip runs out.
“IV drips are titrated to patient-specific parameters; this means the drip rate can fluctuate at any time, making it difficult for us to know how much time is left until the bag is dry,” said Parth Patel, PharmD, BCPS. “The dashboard allows us to control for this fluctuation and do a better job anticipating what the patient needs, which helps eliminate delay in therapy of these critical medications.”
In addition to the CareAware Pharmacy Dashboard, Silver Cross pharmacists use a novel approach to automated pharmacy consults that drives clinical workflow and target drug monitoring. Using an automated rule that places a consult (or task) for designated target drugs, clinical pharmacists can access their task list in PowerChart® and have a fresh list of patients and drugs to review and document daily. This helps standardize workflow while driving patient safety and departmental initiatives.
Optimization efforts over the past two years to reduce redundancy in these automated consults led to a 50 percent reduction in aggregate time spent daily by clinical pharmacists reviewing the task list without impacting the overall quality of clinical interventions. Between March 2015 and September 2016, the combined amount of time the four decentralized clinical pharmacists needed to review task lists fell from a monthly average of 20 hours per day to just 10 hours.
“This ‘leaner’ workflow has allowed for expansion of our pharmacy consulting services and given pharmacists more flexibility to tackle other important hospital initiatives like readmissions, medication reconciliation and pain management,” said Frank Butler, PharmD, BCPS, director of pharmacy.
Going forward with continued support from Silver Cross pharmacy staff and IT leadership, Pharmacy Clinical Informatics Analyst Ronnie Gandhi, PharmD, hopes to explore more innovative opportunities in technology that enhance pharmacists’ role in the ever-changing field of health care.
“Being one of the first Cerner clients in the country to implement the CareAware Pharmacy Dashboard, we’ve seen firsthand how profound real-time data can be in optimizing workflow, which in turn can lead to better patient outcomes,” Gandhi said. “In addition, utilizing automated tasking in lieu of paper reports has helped pharmacists to work smarter in providing optimal patient care. The growing demand on improving quality metrics only means technology will play a bigger role in assisting pharmacists to meet these demands. I’m confident we’ll be able to expand on our efforts and continue making strides improving patient care, quality metrics and cost efficiency.”