Intradepartmental hospital pharmacy groups can play a key role in helping to identify and troubleshoot problem areas, according to a presentation at the ASHP Midyear 2016 Clinical Meeting and Exhibition.
Nathan P. Wirick, PharmD, Nicholas A. Link, PharmD, and Frank S. Rigelsky, PharmD, discussed the role intradepartmental groups play in the context of their 500-bed regional hospital located east of Cleveland, Ohio.

The pharmacy department at their hospital consists of 75 full-time employees, with 25 full-time pharmacists, 5 part-time pharmacists, and a host of support staff, including technicians, clerks, and a technical supervisor.
The group projects were an outgrowth of the ASHP’s Practice Advancement Initiative in 2011 to increase patient-pharmacist interaction by involving all members of the department.

The 8 intradepartmental groups consisted of equally distributed clinical pharmacists, staff pharmacists, and technicians who met monthly for a half hour.
The groups tackled a number of projects, including improving IV to PO conversion rates in the hospital by developing a process map, eliciting pharmacist feedback, and collecting data before and after the map. That initiative yielded a standardized work process for IV/PO conversions, and an increase in the number of employees who were engaged in facilitating those changes, Link explained.
Another group project focused on reviewing process to ensure medication delivery rounds were leaving the pharmacy in a timely fashion. Rigelsky said that growth in the size of the hospital prompted interest in improving this process. This program yielded the approval of 6 new full-time employees as well as increased use of technology to collect data on medication round delivery.
Both initiatives demonstrated the absolute necessity of a staff buy-in to implement changes to improve the processes, as Link noted, “maintaining the same level of attendance and engagement on all projects is proving to be a continued challenge.”
Offering advice to hospitals interested in starting intradepartmental groups like this, Link noted that “a motivated group facilitator is necessary to keep the group moving forward, and administration needs to support them, projects need to be manageable and accomplished in a realistic time frame,” and he added, staff recognition and flexibility are both key.
Wirick NP, Link NA, Rigelsky FS. Small intradepartmental groups drive pharmacy improvement process in a large community hospital. Presented at: ASHP Midyear 2016 Clinical Meeting & Exhibition. Dec. 4-8, 2016. Las Vegas.