The effects of mental workload on medicines safety in a community pharmacy setting

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Abstract

Background: Concern has been raised that the workload of community pharmacists (CPs) is linked to the occurrence of dispensing errors (DEs). One aspect of workload that has not yet been measured in this setting, but has been linked to errors in other industries, is mental workload (MWL).

Aims: (1) Measure the relationship between MWL and DEs during a routine pharmacy task, the final accuracy check, which research suggests is critical to DE prevention. (2) Quantify the role that expertise plays in this relationship. (3) Explore CPs and pharmacy students’ experiences of MWL and DEs.

Methods: A mixed methods approach was taken and three studies were conducted. In study one, CPs (n=104) and students (n=93) checked dispensed items for DEs. Participants took part in one of four conditions (distraction, no distraction, dual-task or single-task) and their DE detection and MWL was measured. Study two was a diary study of CPs’ (n=40) MWL during a day in their “real-life” practice. Study three presented an interpretative phenomenological analysis of CPs’ (n=14) and students’ (n=15) experiences of MWL and DEs.

Main findings: Study one found that high MWL was related to reduced DE detection, but only for students, confirming the important role of expertise. Distractions did not affect DE detection but was linked to increased MWL. Study 2 highlighted specific times of the day when CPs’ MWL was exceptionally high. Study 3 found several factors which increased MWL, including the lack of control CP’s had over their workload, difficulties communicating with prescribers and targets.

Conclusions: MWL has been found to be a useful tool for measuring the impact of workload on pharmacy safety. The findings are linked to current work design and human factors theory and suggestions are made for how CPs’ work could be redesigned to reduce their MWL and improve safety.

LanguageEnglish
QualificationPh.D.
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Sutton, Jane, Supervisor
  • Weiss, Marjorie, Supervisor
Award date11 Dec 2013
StatusUnpublished - 2013

Fingerprint

Pharmacies
Workload
Safety
Pharmacists
Students
Pharmacy Students

Keywords

  • Mental Workload
  • Medicines Safety
  • Human Error
  • Dispensing Errors
  • community pharmacy

Cite this

@phdthesis{c9ec6efde579453d9c3e1b176d77778b,
title = "The effects of mental workload on medicines safety in a community pharmacy setting",
abstract = "Background: Concern has been raised that the workload of community pharmacists (CPs) is linked to the occurrence of dispensing errors (DEs). One aspect of workload that has not yet been measured in this setting, but has been linked to errors in other industries, is mental workload (MWL).Aims: (1) Measure the relationship between MWL and DEs during a routine pharmacy task, the final accuracy check, which research suggests is critical to DE prevention. (2) Quantify the role that expertise plays in this relationship. (3) Explore CPs and pharmacy students’ experiences of MWL and DEs.Methods: A mixed methods approach was taken and three studies were conducted. In study one, CPs (n=104) and students (n=93) checked dispensed items for DEs. Participants took part in one of four conditions (distraction, no distraction, dual-task or single-task) and their DE detection and MWL was measured. Study two was a diary study of CPs’ (n=40) MWL during a day in their “real-life” practice. Study three presented an interpretative phenomenological analysis of CPs’ (n=14) and students’ (n=15) experiences of MWL and DEs. Main findings: Study one found that high MWL was related to reduced DE detection, but only for students, confirming the important role of expertise. Distractions did not affect DE detection but was linked to increased MWL. Study 2 highlighted specific times of the day when CPs’ MWL was exceptionally high. Study 3 found several factors which increased MWL, including the lack of control CP’s had over their workload, difficulties communicating with prescribers and targets.Conclusions: MWL has been found to be a useful tool for measuring the impact of workload on pharmacy safety. The findings are linked to current work design and human factors theory and suggestions are made for how CPs’ work could be redesigned to reduce their MWL and improve safety.",
keywords = "Mental Workload, Medicines Safety, Human Error, Dispensing Errors, community pharmacy",
author = "Hannah Family",
year = "2013",
language = "English",
school = "University of Bath",

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T1 - The effects of mental workload on medicines safety in a community pharmacy setting

AU - Family,Hannah

PY - 2013

Y1 - 2013

N2 - Background: Concern has been raised that the workload of community pharmacists (CPs) is linked to the occurrence of dispensing errors (DEs). One aspect of workload that has not yet been measured in this setting, but has been linked to errors in other industries, is mental workload (MWL).Aims: (1) Measure the relationship between MWL and DEs during a routine pharmacy task, the final accuracy check, which research suggests is critical to DE prevention. (2) Quantify the role that expertise plays in this relationship. (3) Explore CPs and pharmacy students’ experiences of MWL and DEs.Methods: A mixed methods approach was taken and three studies were conducted. In study one, CPs (n=104) and students (n=93) checked dispensed items for DEs. Participants took part in one of four conditions (distraction, no distraction, dual-task or single-task) and their DE detection and MWL was measured. Study two was a diary study of CPs’ (n=40) MWL during a day in their “real-life” practice. Study three presented an interpretative phenomenological analysis of CPs’ (n=14) and students’ (n=15) experiences of MWL and DEs. Main findings: Study one found that high MWL was related to reduced DE detection, but only for students, confirming the important role of expertise. Distractions did not affect DE detection but was linked to increased MWL. Study 2 highlighted specific times of the day when CPs’ MWL was exceptionally high. Study 3 found several factors which increased MWL, including the lack of control CP’s had over their workload, difficulties communicating with prescribers and targets.Conclusions: MWL has been found to be a useful tool for measuring the impact of workload on pharmacy safety. The findings are linked to current work design and human factors theory and suggestions are made for how CPs’ work could be redesigned to reduce their MWL and improve safety.

AB - Background: Concern has been raised that the workload of community pharmacists (CPs) is linked to the occurrence of dispensing errors (DEs). One aspect of workload that has not yet been measured in this setting, but has been linked to errors in other industries, is mental workload (MWL).Aims: (1) Measure the relationship between MWL and DEs during a routine pharmacy task, the final accuracy check, which research suggests is critical to DE prevention. (2) Quantify the role that expertise plays in this relationship. (3) Explore CPs and pharmacy students’ experiences of MWL and DEs.Methods: A mixed methods approach was taken and three studies were conducted. In study one, CPs (n=104) and students (n=93) checked dispensed items for DEs. Participants took part in one of four conditions (distraction, no distraction, dual-task or single-task) and their DE detection and MWL was measured. Study two was a diary study of CPs’ (n=40) MWL during a day in their “real-life” practice. Study three presented an interpretative phenomenological analysis of CPs’ (n=14) and students’ (n=15) experiences of MWL and DEs. Main findings: Study one found that high MWL was related to reduced DE detection, but only for students, confirming the important role of expertise. Distractions did not affect DE detection but was linked to increased MWL. Study 2 highlighted specific times of the day when CPs’ MWL was exceptionally high. Study 3 found several factors which increased MWL, including the lack of control CP’s had over their workload, difficulties communicating with prescribers and targets.Conclusions: MWL has been found to be a useful tool for measuring the impact of workload on pharmacy safety. The findings are linked to current work design and human factors theory and suggestions are made for how CPs’ work could be redesigned to reduce their MWL and improve safety.

KW - Mental Workload

KW - Medicines Safety

KW - Human Error

KW - Dispensing Errors

KW - community pharmacy

M3 - Doctoral Thesis

ER -