Background The aseptic preparation of oncologic drugs is performed in the centralised, pharmacy-based cytotoxic drugs preparation unit equipped with a biological safety cabinet and the robotic system APOTECAchemo (Loccioni, Italy), installed in 2012. Manual and fully automated preparations run in parallel are operated by two and one pharmacy technicians (PT), respectively. On average, the annual workload amounts to 35 000 preparations, two-thirds of which are prepared with the robotic system.
Purpose The aim of this study was to evaluate the working efficiency of PT after implementing the robotic system and calculate the amount of preparations to be transferred from the manual to the automated process to optimize human resources’ utilisation.
Material and methods Manual and automated preparation were analysed over three years (2014–2016). Full-time equivalents (FTE) required by both processes were calculated for each year. A FTE of 1.0 was equivalent to a PT working full-time 40 hours per week, 1,700 hours per year. The throughput in terms of annual preparations per FTE was calculated including direct activities (compounding) and indirect activities related to production (quality controls and standard operating procedures, e.g. cleaning and gowning). The calculation was performed for both manual and automated preparation processes.
Results On average, the overall working time spent by PT on direct and indirect activities amounted to 4,670 hours/year for the manual process and to 2,441 hours/year for the automated process, resulting in 14 151 and 21 534 preparations, respectively. The annual amount of preparations per 1.0 FTE in the automated process (mean: 15,066) was three times higher than in the manual process (mean: 5,036). The production times were comparable, but the working time spent by PT on indirect activities was reduced by 85% by using the robotic system. Each 7600 preparation transferred from the manual process to the robotic system results in 1.0 FTE made available for different working activities.
Conclusion Results of this study revealed that the automated process with the robotic system improves the working efficiency of PT, thereby allowing the reallocation of human resources and the optimisation of workload distribution in the daily pharmacy practice. Other indirect advantages related to cost and production quality are achieved.
References and/or acknowledgements No conflict of interest.
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