Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hospital pharmacists overworked, provide little advice: survey

From Taiwan News Online:
Pharmacists working in Taiwan hospitals tend to have too heavy a workload, which leaves them little time to advise patients, according to the results of a survey released Saturday by the Taiwan Healthcare Reform Foundation.

The survey, conducted from Jan. 19-21 at 20 medical centers around Taiwan, found that, on average, the pharmacists served 450 patients per day during the three-day period leading up to the Lunar New Year holiday this year.

The results revealed that more than one quarter of pharmacists are so busy that they cannot provide any verbal information to patients.

Among those who could do so, 80 percent only spoke if the patients asked them questions, with the conversations averaging just 35 seconds, the results showed.

Also, 6.3 percent of pharmacists do not verify the identities of patients before distributing medicines to them, which could increase the chances of mistakes, the poll found.

Meanwhile, approximately 60 percent of the patients surveyed thought that pharmacists should explain to them matters such as possible side effects of the medicines and whether there is likely to be any interaction with other drugs or food. However, only about one quarter of pharmacists offer such information verbally to patients, the survey showed. ...more

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