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Implementing personal digital assistant documentation of pharmacist interventions in a military treatment facility.

Ford S, Illich S, Smith L, Franklin A.
Military Vaccine Agency, 5113 Leesburg Pike, Suite 402, Falls Church, VA 22041-3204, USA.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the use of personal digital assistants (PDAs) in documenting pharmacists' clinical interventions. SETTING: Evans Army Community Hospital (EACH), a 78-bed military treatment facility, in Colorado Springs. PARTICIPANTS: Pharmacists on staff at EACH. PRACTICE DESCRIPTION: All pharmacists at EACH used PDAs with the pilot software to record interventions for 1 month. The program underwent final design changes and then became the sole source for recording pharmacist interventions. The results of this project are being evaluated every 3 months for the first year and yearly thereafter. PRACTICE INNOVATION: Visual CE (Syware Inc. Cambridge, Mass.) software was selected to develop fields for the documentation tool. This software is simple and easy to use, and users can retrieve reports of interventions from both inpatient and outpatient sections. The software needed to be designed so that data entry would only take a few minutes and ad hoc reports could be produced easily. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Number of pharmacist interventions reported, time spent in clinical interventions, and outcome of clinical intervention. RESULTS: Implementing a PDA-based system for documenting pharmacist interventions across ambulatory, inpatient, and clinical services dramatically increased reporting during the first 6 months after implementation (August 2004-February 2005). After initial fielding, clinical pharmacists in advanced practice settings (such as disease management clinic, anticoagulation clinic) recognized a need to tailor the program to their specific activities, which resulted in a spin-off program unique to their practice roles. CONCLUSION: A PDA-based system for documenting clinical interventions at a military treatment facility increased reporting of interventions across all pharmacy points of service. Pharmacy leadership used these data to document the impact of pharmacist interventions on safety and quality of pharmaceutical care provided.