Case Study: Mathematical Analysis of Prescription Filling Process

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Mathematics -- Statistical Thinking in Health Care

The pharmacy is incorrectly filling prescriptions. The workers are blaming each other for the pharmacy's failure: the medication prescribers fault the pharmacy's assistants; the pharmacy's assistants fault the pharmacists; and the pharmacists fault the medication prescribers. Examination of their processes show areas that can be changed to enhance accuracy in filling prescriptions and several measures that can be taken to significantly improve the pharmacy's performance.

Process Map & SIPOC Analysis

Process Map

Process Map of Prescription Process

Prescriber decides patient requires medication

Prescriber chooses type of medication

Prescriber determines dosage

Prescriber writes prescription by hand

Prescription conveyed to pharmacy

Pharmacy Assistant enters prescription into pharmacy computer system

Pharmacist accesses and reads prescription from pharmacy computer system

Pharmacist chooses medication

Pharmacist calculates medication dosage

Pharmacist advises patient about medication usage and consequences

Medication conveyed to patient

ii. SIPOC Analysis of Business Process

SIPOC Analysis of Business Process

Supplier

Input

Process Steps

Output

Customer

Prescriber

Patient information

Decides there is a need for medication

Decides type of medication

Calculates dosage

Writes prescription by hand

Conveys prescription to pharmacy, usually via patient

Handwritten prescription

Pharmacy Assistant

Pharmacy Assistant

Handwritten prescription

Receives handwritten prescription

Enters prescription into computer system

Computerized prescription data

Pharmacist

Pharmacist

Computerized prescription data

Reads computerized prescription data

Chooses medication

Calculates dosage

Advises patient about medication usage and consequences

Conveys medication to patient

Fills prescription

Counsels patient

Patient

3. Main Root Causes of Difficulties

a. Special Causes

The problem that must be corrected is incorrect filling of prescriptions. "Special causes" are produced by external or specific factors (Bright Hub Project Management, n.d.), and here involve the messy handwritten prescriptions and inaccurate/incomplete instructions by prescribers, the incorrect entry of prescription information into the computerized system by pharmacy assistants and the pharmacists' mistaken assumptions about pharmacy assistants' grasp of medical terms, drug interactions, names, and other important medication information.

b. Common Causes

"Common causes" are intrinsic in the process (Bright Hub Project Management, n.d.), and include poor communications from the prescribers to the pharmacy assistants to the pharmacists to the patients. Prescribers may also choose the incorrect drug, miscalculate the dose, may misinform the pharmacy about the prescription, and may misinform the patient about the medication. Pharmacist assistants may also misunderstand the prescriptions, make typing errors when entering the prescription information into the computerized system, misjudge medical terminology, drug interactions, drug names and other important medication information. Pharmacists may also misread the computerized prescription data, use the incorrect medication, miscalculate the dosage, and fail to advise the patient about the medication altogether or give too little information or give the incorrect… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Mathematical Analysis of Prescription Filling Process.  (2015, July 21).  Retrieved December 7, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/mathematical-analysis-prescription/3491342

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"Mathematical Analysis of Prescription Filling Process."  Essaytown.com.  July 21, 2015.  Accessed December 7, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/mathematical-analysis-prescription/3491342.