Time and motion study of pharmacist prescribing of oral hormonal contraceptives in Oregon community pharmacies

J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2019 Mar-Apr;59(2):222-227. doi: 10.1016/j.japh.2018.12.015. Epub 2019 Feb 8.


Objectives: The aim of this time and motion study was to evaluate the procedural time and steps of performing an oral hormonal contraceptive pharmacist prescribing service in an Oregon community pharmacy.

Methods: A standardized patient seeking oral hormonal contraception visited 13 community pharmacies throughout February 2018 in the tri-county Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area for pharmacist-prescribed hormonal contraception services for a total of 26 patient encounters. An observer was present at each encounter to record the time for each step and the total encounter time. Each pharmacist was asked to perform assessment procedures and prescribing for each of 2 standardized patient presentations: in cohort 1 (n = 13), the pharmacist's assessment resulted in a hormonal contraception prescription written; in cohort 2 (n = 13), pharmacist's assessment detected contraindications and resulted in a medical referral to another health care prescriber.

Results: The average total patient time from arrival at the pharmacy to the generation of either a written prescription for hormonal contraception or referral to another health care provider was 17.9 and 14.1 minutes, respectively. Without accounting for documentation or dispensing the prescription, the average total pharmacist time to perform the service and issue a prescription, or refer the patient, was 7.8 and 5.4 minutes, respectively.

Conclusion: The results indicate that the pharmacist prescribing service for oral hormonal contraception requires a modest amount of pharmacist time. Incorporation of practice into regular workflow appears to have an impact similar to other clinical services, such as immunizations and point-of-care testing. The patient time spent with the pharmacist was similar to other health care provider visits.

MeSH terms

  • Community Pharmacy Services / organization & administration*
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Oregon
  • Pharmacists / organization & administration*
  • Professional Role
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors
  • Time and Motion Studies


  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal