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Use of protocol-driven medication refills by pharmacists decreases rheumatologist in-basket work and improves rheumatologist satisfaction

Authors
  • Rottmann, Eva I
  • Cote, Jonida
  • Thomas, Swana
  • Grassi, Dante M
  • Chronowski, Joseph
  • Schroeder, Lisa L
  • Pugliese, David
  • Newman, Eric
Type
Published Article
Journal
BMJ Open Quality
Publisher
BMJ Publishing Group
Publication Date
Jan 10, 2022
Volume
11
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1136/bmjoq-2021-001566
PMID: 35012933
PMCID: PMC8753415
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
Disciplines
  • 1506
License
Unknown

Abstract

Burn-out among US physicians has been on the rise in the past few decades. Similarly, rheumatologists in the Geisinger Health System have experienced professional dissatisfaction through significant administrative burden and in-basket work. We embedded pharmacists into our rheumatology team in 2019 with the aim of reallocating medication refills to pharmacists, trained professionals in this domain, to help reduce physician workload and burn-out and increase satisfaction. Protocol-driven medication refill parameters per the American College of Rheumatology guidelines and new refill workflows for disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and non-DMARDs were created for use by our rheumatology pharmacists. Monthly data on medication refill volume and time saved for rheumatologists were collected from 1 January 2019 to 31 March 2021. Statistical analysis was completed via Shewhart p-charts. The volume of refills by rheumatologists decreased by 73% and the time saved per month for all the rheumatologists increased to 41.5 hours within 6 months. Physicians’ feedback was obtained via anonymous electronic surveys preintervention and postintervention. The statistical difference between the presurveys and postsurveys was calculated via two-tailed unpaired t-testing. It demonstrated reduced burn-out and improved workplace satisfaction. This study showed that the integration of rheumatology pharmacists into our practice can help improve the work life of the rheumatologists. It is important for physicians’ well-being to practice at the top of their scope and achieve work–life balance.

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