Analysis of the Medication Turnaround Time in a Tertiary Government Hospital

Kristine Eves S. Garcia, Antonie Kyna S. Lim, Kenaz Duane Peter A. Segaya, Monet M. Loquias, Lucina Concepcion E. Salazar


Background: Medication turnaround time (MTAT) is the time interval from the time a medication order is written to the time the medication was administered. Literature showed that delays in MTAT were found to cause medication errors which can result in patient harm. At present, there are limited studies conducted about MTAT in the Philippines.

Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the MTAT of Medicine and Surgery Departments and dispensary turnover time of new and stat medication orders of the Central Block (CB) and Payward Pharmacies and identify the common factors associated with delays in MTAT and dispensary over time of the hospital.

Methods: MTAT was collected using MTAT forms distributed to the Medicine and Surgery Departments while time and motion logs were used for the dispensary turnover time of CB and Payward Pharmacies. Interviews with pharmacists and watchers were conducted to gain their insights on the factors and effects of MTAT delays.

Results: The MTAT in the Medicine and Surgery Departments were 303.53 and 114.35 minutes, respectively. Administrative, protocol-based and personal factors that led to delays were identified. The average dispensary turnover time of the CB pharmacy was 35.37 minutes while the dispensary turnover time for non-stat and stat medication orders of the Payward Pharmacy were 31.78 and 10.93 minutes, respectively.

Conclusion: Dispensary turnover time of both pharmacies were significantly different from the protocol times. The short range and low variability of the dispensary turnover time observed suggest that protocols can effectively reduce MTAT. Administrative, protocol-based and personal factors that led to delays were identified which could serve as possible targets for process improvement.


medication turnaround; MTAT; dispensary turnover; pharmacy

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