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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Sizzling Airplane Food in Phoenix

Sizzling Airplane Food in Phoenix

Unsafe temperatures in the transport of airline food are even more reasons to dislike it.

During the summer months, the temperature on the tarmac of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is often well above 100 degrees. As food is transported from catering facilities to airplanes, it may reach unsafe temperatures. LSG Sky Chefs’ management and the union representing the catering company’s workers offer different perspectives on the issue and, in the absence of recent FDA inspections, it is difficult to determine whether passengers are actually at risk of food poisoning.


Video Spotlight: Grave Concerns About Airline Food Safety


This post is based on the NBC News article, Airline Catering Workers in Phoenix Say Food Is Getting Too Hot on the Tarmac, by A. Kaplan, L. Bomnin, and V. Nguyen, December 28, 2019, and the YouTube video, Is Airline Food Safe to Eat? What You Need to Knowby NBC News/TODAY, December 27, 2019. Image source: Kasto/123RF.

Discussion Questions:

1. What factors contribute to potentially unsafe temperatures before the food is loaded on a plane?

Guidance: Temperatures in the air and on the tarmac are very high during the summer months. According to some workers, the delivery Continue reading

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Nutella Spreads the Word About Quality

Nutella Spreads the Word About Quality

A quality defect was detected in samples of Nutella spread and Kinder Bueno candy bars that led to a shut down of the Nutella factory in Normandy, France.

Despite the shut down of the factory, which produces one-quarter of the world’s chocolate-hazelnut spread, the supply of Nutella has not been interrupted.  Ferrero, the parent company of Nutella in Italy simply wants to take extra precaution to maintain its high quality standard.


Video Spotlight: Nutella is the driving force of Italy’s richest man


This post is based on the Fortune article, World’s Biggest Nutella Factory Shut Down Over ‘Quality Issues’, by Grace Dobush, February 21, 2019, and the YouTube video, Nutella Driving Force of Italy’s Richest Man, by Bloomberg, May 19, 2014. Image source: lynx/iconotec.com/Glowimages

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the costs related to the decision to shut down the Nutella factory when a quality defect was detected?

Guidance: The potential costs include production interruptions, production delay, quality investigation, scrap, rework, supply disruption, demand shortage, and customer dissatisfaction.

2. What kind of control chart will be appropriate to ensure Nutella’s production process is in control?

Guidance: This question can be used to prompt discussion of Continue reading

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