Impact of value added services on patient waiting time at the ambulatory pharmacy Queen Elizabeth Hospital

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Appointments and Schedules, Pharmaceutical Services, Professional Practice, Pharmacy Service, Hospital, Ambulatory Care, Pharmacists, Malaysia


Background: Value added services (VAS) are an innovative dispensing system created to provide an alternative means of collecting partial drug supply from our hospital. This in turn was projected to reduce the necessity for patient to visit pharmacy counter and thus reduce the burden of prescription handling.

Objective: To evaluate the impact of increased VAS uptake following promotional campaign towards patient waiting time and to explore factors that may affect patient waiting time at the Ambulatory Pharmacy, Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Methods: A quasi experimental study design was conducted from September 2014 till June 2015 at the Ambulatory Pharmacy. During pre-intervention phase, baseline parameters were collected retrospectively. Then, VAS promotional campaign was carried out for six months and whilst this was done, the primary outcome of patient waiting time was measured by percentage of prescription served less than 30 minutes. A linear regression analysis was used to determine the impact of increased VAS uptake towards patient waiting time.

Results: An increased in percentage of VAS registration (20.9% vs 35.7%, p<0.001) was observed after the promotional campaign. The mean percentage of prescription served less than 30 minutes increased from 83.2% SD=15.9 to 90.3% SD=11.5, p=0.001. After controlling for covariates, it was found that patient waiting time was affected by number of pharmacy technicians (b=-0.0349, 95%CI-0.0548 : -0.0150, p=0.001), number of pharmacy counters (b=0.1125, 95%CI 0.0631 : 0.1620, p<0.001), number of prescriptions (b=0.0008, 95%CI 0.0004 : 0.0011, p<0.001), and number of refill prescriptions (b=0.0004, 95%CI 0.0002 : 0.0007, p<0.001). The increased in percentage of VAS registration was associated with reduction in number of refill prescription (b=-2.9838, 95%CI -4.2289 : -1.7388, p<0.001).

Conclusions: Patient waiting time at the Ambulatory Pharmacy improved with the increased in VAS registration. The impact of increased VAS uptake on patient waiting time resulted from reduction in refill prescriptions. Patient waiting time is influenced by number of pharmacy technicians, number of pharmacy counters, number of prescriptions and number of refill prescriptions.

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