Health care professionals spend up to 27% of their work day addressing interruptions Rivera, 2008, yet little research in this area has focused in community pharmacies. During data collection for our CPF-funded study on e-prescribing errors, we observed that the pharmacist was constantly being interrupted by the technician, frequently without any recognition of what the pharmacist was doing or how the interruption may impact the pharmacists primary task. One study in community pharmacy conducted in 1992 found a significant relationship between interruptions and dispensing errors but no further research has been conducted within the last two decades Flynn, 1999. Despite the fact that community pharmacies now have more technology, more workers, and more medication management responsibilities, it is unknown how interruptions are managed by pharmacists and technicians to efficiently and safely take care of their patients. The overall goal of this project is to improve interruption management between pharmacists and technicians. To do this, our specific aims include: 1. Describe the content of interruptions that take place in the pharmacy in order to characterize necessary and appropriate interruptions from interruptions that might legitimately be addressed by the technician or delayed until the pharmacist is cognitively available, 2. Describe factors that contribute to our understanding of why interruptions take place by studying interruptions from the technicians perspective in order to determine what type of information is important enough to interrupt with.3. Describe how pharmacists respond when interruptions take place in order to understand the strategies and tools they use when transitioning from their primary task to the interruption and back to the their primary task, Ultimately, we hope to share successful strategies that can be widely disseminated to all community pharmacy owners and corporations so that they may be incorporated into training programs and embedded into workflow policies. We also hope to develop tools that can help technicians support the pharmacist better.
University of Wisconsin - Madison, School of Pharmacy