Evaluation of STAT medication ordering process in a community hospital

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Drug Prescriptions, Medical Order Entry Systems, Pharmacy Service, Hospital, Clinical Pharmacy Information Systems, United States


Background: In most health care facilities, problems related to delays in STAT medication order processing time are of common concern.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate processing time for STAT orders at Kimball Medical Center.

Methods: All STAT orders were reviewed to determine processing time; order processing time was also stratified by physician order entry (physician entered (PE) orders vs. non-physician entered (NPE) orders). Collected data included medication ordered, indication, time ordered, time verified by pharmacist, time sent from pharmacy, and time charted as given to the patient.

Results: A total of 502 STAT orders were reviewed and 389 orders were included for analysis. Overall, median time was 29 minutes, IQR 16–63; p<0.0001.) . The time needed to process NPE orders was significantly less than that needed for PE orders (median 27 vs. 34 minutes; p=0.026). In terms of NPE orders, the median total time required to process STAT orders for medications available in the Automated Dispensing Devices (ADM) was within 30 minutes, while that required to process orders for medications not available in the ADM was significantly greater than 30 minutes.  For PE orders, the median total time required to process orders for medications available in the ADM (i.e., not requiring pharmacy involvement) was significantly greater than 30 minutes. [Median time = 34 minutes (p<0.001)].

Conclusion: We conclude that STAT order processing time may be improved by increasing the availability of medications in ADM, and pharmacy involvement in the verification process.

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