Productivity vs. Patient Safety at Walgreens and CVS

Productivity vs. Patient Safety at Walgreens and CVS

Tired employees at Walgreens and CVS are making mistakes that may threaten patient safety.

For some time, pharmacists have argued that understaffed and high-pace work environments are contributing to medication errors and compromising public safety. Management has challenged these allegations but is planning to review the standards used to evaluate pharmacists’ performance.


Video Spotlight: Medication Errors at 24-Hour Pharmacies


This post is based on The New York Times article, At Walgreens, Complaints of Medication Errors Go Missing, by E. Gabler, February 21, 2020, and the YouTube video, Prescription Drug Dispensing Errors Kill 100,000 People Per Year in USby CBSDFW, May 14, 2018. Image source: fstop123/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. How do Walgreens and CVS try to ensure high levels of productivity from their pharmacists?

Guidance: The productivity index is measured by the ratio of output to input. In this article, the efforts mentioned to boost productivity involve a reduction of inputs through increased quantitative workload and multi-tasking. The high pace of work, lower staffing levels (e.g. elimination of overlapping pharmacists, reduced work hours for technicians), and longer hours contribute to quantitative overload. Answering the phone, filling drive-through and in-store orders, and giving flu shots Continue reading

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Dream Time Limits on a Qantas Boeing Dreamliner

Dream Time Limits on a Qantas Boeing Dreamliner

Qantas is testing record-breaking, 19-hour flights from JFK to Sidney.

Although the direct flights substantially decrease total travel time, they stress passengers’ and crews’ physical limits. In order to convince regulators that the flights are safe, Qantas is assessing the impact of extended duty times on its pilots and taking steps to minimize jet lag. The commercial viability of this technological breakthrough will depend on people’s tolerance for discomfort.


Video Spotlight: Fighting Jet Lag on a 19-Hour Flight


This post is based on the NBCnews.com article, Doing the ‘Macarena’ at 2 a.m. on Qantas’ Record-Breaking 19-Hour Flight, by T. Costello, October 21, 2019, and the YouTube video, What a 19-Hour Nonstop Flight Can Teach Us About Jet Lagby the Wall Street Journal, October 21, 2019. Image source: kasto/123RF/Matej Kastelic.

Discussion Questions:

1. For passengers, what are the advantages and disadvantages of taking the 19-hour flight?

Guidance: The advantages include decreased travel time with no layovers, more comfortable seating, larger windows, and pleasant ambient lighting in the Boeing 777x or Airbus A350-1000 planes that will be used for these flights. The disadvantages include physical discomfort and health risks from dehydration and limited movement, jet lag, safety Continue reading

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Bionic Boost in the Workplace

Bionic Boost in the Workplace

September 20, 2019

Robotic shorts offer relief to fatigued workers.

The latest, exciting quest to improve working conditions has produced robotic shorts. Developed by a team of university researchers, the lightweight exosuit and its power system are designed to detect movements and assist their execution, thereby reducing the stress and injury associated with physical demands. The increased strength is expected to boost workers’ productivity.


Video Spotlight: Walking Faster with Robo Shorts


This post is based on the CNBC article, These Robotic Shorts Boost Workers’ Strength and Productivity. Here’s How., by S. Rega and L. Ioannou, August 29, 2019, and the YouTube video, Scientists Built Robo Shorts to Make Walking Easierby Tech World, August 16, 2019. Image source:  Shutterstock / Dm_Cherry

Discussion Questions:

1. What is productivity? How do robotic shorts help improve it?

Guidance: Productivity is the ratio of output to input. In reducing strain and increasing physical strength and speed, the robotic shorts may enable workers to do more work in less time. The shorts thus have the potential to increase output while reducing input, thereby resulting in substantial productivity gains.

2. How are the robotic shorts designed? How do they enhance working conditions?

Guidance Continue reading

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