Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Nurse-to-Pharmacy Communication


            As I was reading up on tweets one day, I found an interesting article that discussed how a lot nurses spend more time with documentation then with their patients.  At HIPPE, the pharmacy is trying to improve the communication and safety of nurse-to-pharmacy communication.  They are starting to use a program called ‘Pilot’ so nurses can easily order refills, call in ‘retimes,’ or for any other reason if the medication is currently active in the ‘Med Charting’ system.
            This communication technique increases patient safety enormously!  If a nurse were to call in an order, there is a potential for medical errors by miscommunication and misunderstanding.  Also, sometimes the pharmacy is too busy and the nurse is put on hold, which decreases the time the nurse can be helping another patient.  If a nurse uses the pilot program, all the patient information is already in the system!  All the nurse needs to do is say specifically why she is contacting the pharmacy.  After I became familiar with the system, I found that I could complete the order within 30-45 seconds without any effort at all.  Since I work in the pharmacy, I could also see the orders sent in this way.  After reviewing several orders, I realized that it was much easier to understand the nurses this way then over the phone.  Also, now there is a HARD COPY DOCUMENTATION of the nurses directly contacting the pharmacy, so incase there is someone at fault for a specific situation, there is no “he said, she said” subjectivity. 

            Currently, it is my responsibility to train nurses at HIPPE how to use this program.  A third of the nurses already knew how to use it, but did not understand the importance.  Another third of the nurses absolutely loved the program and said with great enthusiasm that they used it “ALL THE TIME!”  The other third had never heard of it, but once I showed it to them, they all seemed highly impressed.  Some of the older nurses did not want to here about new technology and put up a fit.  After showing them one by one, I got responses such as “that was easy.”  I just looked at them and smiled and said “sure was!”  This system is great for nurses, pharmacists, but most of all, the PATIENT!  The hospital is all about patient safety and this system shows everything that everybody currently knows about that individual patient in one program.

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