Use of “Performance Metrics” May Increase Total Number of Pharmacy Errors

Pharmacies are businesses. And, like all businesses, the number one goal of a pharmacy is to remain profitable. Of course, most pharmacists are good people and truly care about their patients. However, the pharmacists are rarely the ones making the staffing policies that can lead to pharmacy errors.

drugs-i-183490-mIt has been argued by some sources that many, if not most, of the prescription errors that occur today are caused by overworked pharmacists. An understaffed pharmacy is much more likely to send out a prescription with an unprescribed medication, an incorrect dose, or a wrong number of pills.

This trade-off between the profit and safety has caused some concern over the past few years in the field. However, one new trend that is appearing in pharmacies across the country threatens to worsen the already imperfect system by applying another set of pressures on already overworked pharmacists.

Performance Metrics in Local Pharmacies

“Performance metrics” is a system that measures the amount of work a pharmacist completes in one day. For example, a pharmacist’s total number of consultations, prescriptions, phone calls, and flu shots are measured against a “quota” for the day. The time it takes for a pharmacist to fill a prescription is also noted.

If a pharmacist is lagging in completing the amount of work that is expected of her, or she is taking too long to fill prescriptions, she will hear about it from management. This, of course, pushes pharmacists to perform their work even more quickly.

If an already overworked pharmacist is told that she must complete more work or hear about it from her supervisor, she is likely to attempt to comply. However, in doing so the concern is that she may put her patients at risk.

Filling Prescriptions in Haste

The process of filling a prescription is not one that should be rushed. In fact, one of the most important things a pharmacy patient can do is to ask to talk to the pharmacist about the medication they are supposed to be taking. This gives the pharmacist another opportunity to catch any error, and allows him or her to explain the medication to the patient in detail.

However, under the pressures of “performance metrics,” the pharmacist may spend more of their time on the more profitable and observed tasks they can be perform. This potentially decreases a pharmacist’s desire to engage in conversations with patients, double-check their work, and perform other potentially life-saving measures.

Have You Been Injured After Being Provided an Incorrect Prescription Medication?

If you or a loved one has recently been provided the wrong medication by a local pharmacy, and you suffered injury as a result, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Keep in mind that pharmacists are for-profit enterprises and they will do everything they can to ensure they don’t have to pay out unless they are forced to do so. Therefore, having a dedicated pharmacy error attorney on your side early on in the process is critical to your case’s success. To set up a free initial consultation with a dedicated pharmacy error attorney, call 410-654-3600 today.

More Blog Posts:

Woman Hospitalized for “Poisoning” After Pharmacist’s Error, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, February 23, 2015.

California Costco Pharmacy Mis-Fills One Patient’s Prescription Twice in One Year, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, January 22, 2015.

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