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Total Quality Management in Hospital Pharmacy

Introduction

Hospital pharmacies in the present day context face various issues including cost containment, productivity and leadership, patient safety, medical-legal and ethical considerations, human resource management and application of new technological developments in the functioning of the pharmacies. The pharmacists employed by the hospitals are expected to attend to a number of different functions that include writing down therapy management plans and desired patient outcomes, monitoring the drug-based therapies, educating patients and counseling them and writing medication histories. Despite these many different functions being discharged by the pharmacists, hospitals find it difficult to recruit pharmacists (Smith). At the same time many of the hospitals take initiatives like staff reductions due to lower patient concentration, reorganization of the hospital facilities, carrying out recommendations of external consultants, implementing automation in drug distribution and mergers and acquisitions of hospitals. In this context, a methodological review of the operations of a hospital becomes necessary for improving the efficiency and functioning of the healthcare settings. One of the recommendations is to apply Total Quality Management (TQM) for improving the performance of pharmacies in the hospitals.
Although TQM has been practiced in manufacturing industries for quite some time, it is relatively a newer concept in the healthcare industry. Interest in the idea of TQM in healthcare settings started to take off during late 1980s. Even though all the hospitals that introduced the system of TQM have not proved successful many of the institutions could streamline their functions applying the concept (Zablocki). In this context this paper describes the application of Total Quality Management in the hospital...

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