Objective To evaluate the influence of pharmacists’ dispensing workload (PDW) on pharmacy services as measured by prescription suggestion rate (PSR) and dispensing error rate (DER). Method This was an observational study in northern and southern Taiwan’s two largest medical centers, from 2012 to 2018. We calculated monthly PDW as number of prescriptions divided by number of pharmacist working days. We used monthly PSR and DER as outcome indicators for pharmacists’ review and dispensing services, respectively. We used Poisson regression model with generalized estimation equation methods to evaluate the influence of PDW on PSR and DER. Results The monthly mean of 463,587 (SD 32,898) prescriptions yielded mean PDW, PSR and DER of 52 (SD 3) prescriptions per pharmacist working days, 30 (SD 7) and 8 (SD 2) per 10,000 prescriptions monthly, respectively. There was significant negative impact of PDW on PSR (adjusted rate ratio, aRR: 0.9786; 95%CI: 0.9744–0.9829) and DER (aRR: 0.9567; 95%CI: 0.9477–0.9658). Stratified analyses by time periods (2012–2015 and 2016–2018) revealed the impact of PDW on PSR to be similar in both periods; but with positive association between PDW and DER in the more recent one (aRR: 1.0086, 95%CI: 1.0003–1.0169). Conclusions Reduced pharmacist workload was associated with re-allocation of pharmacy time to provide prescription suggestions and, more recently, decrease dispensing errors. Continuous efforts to maintain appropriate workload for pharmacists are recommended to ensure prescription quality.
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