Background The large number of patients for whom medicines are dispensed in our Hospital Pharmacy Service has caused us to seek a system for control, order and proper monitoring. Queue management systems (QMS) are hospital information systems that organise patients in outpatient consulting waiting rooms (OCR).
Purpose To describe and examine ‘Chronos’, the QMS used in our Pharmacy Service OCR, and to present the results after 2 years of use.
Materials and methods Setting and Method Retrospective cohort study. Cohorts A and B: consultations made before and after QMS implementation.
Study period: 1 month/cohort. Variables analysed: activity, patient arrivals, waiting times, appointment compliance. Statistical analysis: data observed using Student’s T-test or chi-squared test as parametric methods for comparing means or proportions.
Main outcome measures General Data (GD). Activity record (AR). Patient consultation (PC). Average waiting time (WT). Appointment compliance (AC).
Results QMS description. Patients arriving at the OCR, for which they have an appointment, confirm their arrival by placing their Health Card in a reader in OCR, which prints out a ticket with the room number and time of the consultation, arrival time and correlative number. The pharmacist checks the patients using the computer screen in the consulting room and clicks on call to notify the patients, who hear an acoustic signal and see their number on a screen. After attending to the patient, the pharmacist records the consultation and any incidents.
GD: 2046 consultations in Cohort A and 1760 in Cohort B.
AR by pharmacist: 0% Cohort A and 100% Cohort B.
Unscheduled patient consultations: 7 per day for Cohort A, and 2 per day for Cohort B (p < 0.0001).
Average WT: 27 min for Cohort A and 17 min for Cohort B (p < 0.0001).
AC: 61% Cohort A and 81% Cohort B (p < 0.0001).
Conclusions The QMS implemented in the Pharmacy Service OCR offers the following benefits:
Hospital: eliminates manual system for recording work done, provides information about opening and closing times, records the pharmacist who dealt with each patient, follow-up consultations, reasons for not attending and produces statistics.
Pharmacy Department: eliminates FIFO queue; provides real time information on the patients in the waiting room (arrival time, advances or delays in relation to their appointment time); increasing compliance with appointments.
Patient: more orderly access to OCR at the Hospital Pharmacy Service; improved arrival flows; reduces unscheduled patients checking in; reduces waiting times.
No conflict of interest.
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