Simulated analysis of patient waiting time in an outpatient pharmacy

S Vemuri
American Journal of Hospital Pharmacy 1984, 41 (6): 1127-30
The cost of various options for reducing patient waiting time in an outpatient pharmacy was studied through computer simulation. The time required to complete prescription filling tasks was recorded for a baseline of five pharmacy employees: technicians A, B, and C, a typist , and a pharmacist. A fixed factorial design of 12 configurations was used in which the number of pharmacy employees was varied (one, two, or three technician As; one or two typists ; and one or two technician Bs). Patient waiting time for each configuration was determined through computer simulation. Pharmacy employee salaries were used to calculate the relative cost of six of the configurations that were predicted to reduce waiting time to less than 10 minutes. Configurations with additional technician Bs or typists , or both, exhibited reductions in total waiting time of comparable magnitude. One of these configurations was identified as the least expensive per daily hours saved. Without disturbing the operation of the pharmacy, computer simulation was found useful in identifying the least expensive method of reducing patient waiting time in an outpatient pharmacy.

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