Aim To explore possible alternatives to the current radio-pager communication system following the department of health’s order for their removal by the end of 2021. To analyse the feasibility and practicality of these systems and implement the most appropriate choice into practice.
Method Analytical tools including driver diagrams and process maps were constructed and examined to identify possible alternatives to the current radio-pager system. Systems such as Microsoft Teams® and Whatsapp ® were considered but were discredited due to concerns surrounding information governance. CareFlow, a system already implemented in the adult services at the Trust, was consistently identified as fulfilling criteria to enable its utilisation as an alternative to radio-pager. These criteria being: ease of use (task raising), accessibility and maintaining information governance standards.
The utilisation of radio-pager and CareFlow data were retrospectively collected and analysed for the 10-weeks before and after the implementation of CareFlow. Comparison of this data involved 2-sided T-tests and ANOVA statistical tests, comparing mean data of radio pager against CareFlow tasks, the comparison of workload and efficiency of the pharmacy teams after rollout. CareFlow tasks raised were analysed for time to completion as the accepted limit for radio-pager response is 15 minutes.
Results A statistically significant increase (P = 0.004) of 69.5% in the weekly average number of CareFlow tasks in the 10 weeks post-intervention (71) compared to the weekly average number of bleeps in the 10 weeks prior (42). Additionally, a statistically significant 45% decrease (P = 0.0002) in the number of bleeps in the 10 weeks post-change implementation (23). The median average response times of all three pharmacy teams were shown to be within the 15-minute time limit. Mean average response times were higher. Pharmacy team response times remained below the 15minute limit. ANOVA (F=7.1 fcrit = 3.3) and T-tests showed there were no significant differences in the mean average response times of pharmacy teams (p=0.7).
Conclusion Data and practical use has shown that the transfer of pharmacy communications away from radio-pagers to the CareFlow notification system has been a success. We have shown pharmacy to be more accessible and efficient in their completion of tasks assigned by other members of staff. With noted benefits of receiving tasks out of hours for completion in the morning. Response times remain within the 15minute limit, showing the majority of their tasks are responded to efficiently. However, mean responses were relatively higher. This may indicate tasks that are not responded to within these 15minutes may have been missed, and therefore have far longer waiting periods. This is likely a contributory factor for the continued low-level use of the radio-pagers through the 10 weeks post-change implementation.
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