How healthcare providers distribute their time can impact on the quality and safety of care delivered, and this has been widely studied in hospitals providing care to adult patients. Children are different to adults and the workflow of healthcare providers in paediatric settings is largely unknown. The aim of this study was to quantify how clinical pharmacists working in a paediatric hospital spend their time. A direct observational time and motion study was conducted where two independent observers shadowed seven pharmacists covering eight wards for over 60 hours. Pharmacists spent the majority of time performing medication review (32.6%), followed by communication, non-clinical tasks, supply, medication discussion and in-transit. They were interrupted 3.5 times per hour and spent 4.4% of observed time multi-tasking. This is the first study to quantify how pharmacists in a paediatric hospital distribute their time. These results could act as useful baseline data against which to measure the impact of innovations, such as electronic medication management systems, on pharmacists' workflow.
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