What was done?: 

At the beginning of each observation period (i.e. 3 months), the intervention wards received detailed information regarding their leading ranking position (TOP 3) and how they compared with other wards, their reorder frequency, the time-consuming impact reordering had on hospital pharmacy processes and logistical advice how to best reduce and avoid reordering. After each of the observation periods, wards with a need for intervention changed (i.e. reorders were reduced) in the TOP 3 ranking.

Why was it done?: 

In the 1,200-bed teaching hospital of Wels-Grieskirchen, Upper Austria, wards place routine orders of formulary medicines online. These orders are then processed by the logistics team of the hospital pharmacy in predefined order between 6:45 and 9:00 am. Any later reorders have to be placed by telephone, leading to considerable extra time needed for processing. It is known that the interruption of an ongoing task leads to an additional 20 minutes needed to return back fully concentrated to the initial task (Besser fix als fertig: Hirngerecht arbeiten in der Welt des Multitasking, Bernd Hufnagl ISBN: 978-3-85485-331-2). The goal was to reduce time-consuming reorders by telephone to free up time for other value-adding tasks.

How was it done?: 

Starting in January 2014 reorders were systematically analysed across all wards by using consumption and ordering data from the hospital logistics IT system. Those three wards with the highest number of reorders received special attention as intervention wards.

What has been achieved?: 

The transparent information and display of those wards leading in terms of reorder frequency and quantity triggered the ambition to no longer stay among those TOP 3 wards. Starting with a total number of yearly reorders of 8,390 (2014), the intervention reduced reorders to 4,781 in 2017 (minus 43%). The most successful ward reduced the number of annual reorders from 472 in 2014 to 230 in 2015 (minus 51.48%). Two-hundred and twenty-nine reorders were placed in 2017 (minus 51.48%). The intervention was repeated for five observation periods and 15 wards were involved. After 1.25 years, these wards were ranked again, not because they had bad results, but because all wards had improved. This information initiative has become self-limiting, as overall reorder compliance stabilised at a low level. Considering the overall time needed for reorder processing (i.e. an average of 32 minutes per reorder, including a relevant process steps) a total of 1,950 hours per year (equivalent to 1 FTE) was freed for more value-adding tasks.

What next?: 

Constant re-evaluation of reorders take place to occasionally identify new needs for action.




Hospital Pharmacy profession
Healthcare Professionals - Doctors
Healthcare Professionals - Nurses
Others Healthcare Professionals



Statement 2.1
Statement 2.2
Statement 2.3
Statement 2.5
Statement 2.7

Evidence status: