Can the search for efficiency lead to carelessness?

There is a old saying “..the faster I go the behinder I get …” over the last couple of decades the pharmacy profession has been throwing both ancillary staff and “electronic helpers” to allow us to be more “efficient”. We seem to now reached a point that we are continuing to “tweet” the efficiencies of the electronic helpers while pulling back on the staffing levels.
Have we – or will we soon – reached the point where the capability of the electronic helpers have outstripped the capability of the human component of keeping up in the Rx dept equation?
At what point does trying to keep up with the electronic helpers end up in being careless and causing harm to some patient. Contrary to popular belief, human beings are not designed to run at 100% for 12-14 hrs a day.
We are no longer in total control of the input of the Rx data, We can never be sure of the quality/qualifications of the person inputting the information into a EHR, eprescribing or “printed Rx” from a prescriber’s office. The prescribed information can be delivered to us in numerous and a growing number of different formats. No longer can we expect a fairly standardized Rx blank, with the various data points in the same relative position on the form.
How much “efficiency” and how many variables can be expected to deal with, before the number of patients that we harm starts to increase. Right now healthcare kills 100,000 annually from medical mistakes and 1.5 million are harmed by medication errors.. that is our acceptable “standard of care”.

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