Objectives: This study assessed the attitudes of Emergency Department (ED) staff regarding the introduction of an automated stock-control system. The objectives were to determine attitudes to stock control and replenishment, speed of access to the system, ease of use and the potential for future uses of the system. The study was carried out in the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (COCH) ED, which is attended by over 65,000 patients each year.
Methods: All 68 ED staff were sent pre-piloted, semi-structured questionnaires and reminders, before and after automation of medicines stock control.
Key findings: Pre-implementation, 35 staff (66.1% of respondents) reported that problems occurred with access to medicine storage keys 'very frequently' or 'frequently'. Twenty-eight (52.8%) respondents 'agreed' or 'strongly agreed' that medicines were quickly accessed, which rose to 41 (77%) post-automation (P < 0.001). Improvement was reported in stock replenishment and storage of stock injections and oral medicines, but there were mixed opinions regarding storage of bulk fluids and refrigerated items. Twenty-seven (51.9%) staff reported access to the system within 1 min and 17 (32.7%) staff reported access within 1-2 min. The majority of staff found the system 'easy' or 'very easy' to use and there was a non-significant relationship between previous use of information technology and acceptance of the system.
Conclusions: From a staff satisfaction perspective, automation improved medicines storage, security and stock control, and addressed the problem of searching for keys to storage areas. Concerns over familiarity with computers, queuing, speed of access and an improved audit trail do not appear to have been issues, when compared with the previous manual storage of medicines.