Pharmacy Root Cause Analysis

What is a Pharmacy Root Cause Analysis (RCA)?

This page discusses what a pharmacy root cause analysis is, and, among other things, why it is important for technicians and other pharmacy staff to understand how helpful it can be.

According to statistics, the accuracy rate of pharmacy dispensing is estimated to be 98.3% which at first seems like an enviable number compared to the accuracy rate of many other professions.

However, the percentage translates to roughly 4 errors for every 250 prescriptions that are filled daily. Taken to national levels, it means that about 51.5 million errors occur for every 3 billion prescriptions.

While many errors turn out to be non-issues, that still leaves many of them that cause serious complications or worse. Thus, the need to control the risk factor becomes greater for pharmacy techs to get every prescription correct as one mistake may have dire consequences.

While many state have a Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) as part of their regulatory oversight, they use Root Cause Analysis (RCA) to help them in case an error in filling out a prescription causes a serious injury or death.

The RCA is a process that is used to identify the factors which caused the injury or death to occur because the prescription was mistakenly filled out.

The focus is not on the performance of the individual, but rather the process and systems used that led to the mistake occurring.

By identifying the root causes, it provides insight into the underlying factors that led to the unfortunate event occurring.

The goal of RCA is to do a full examination of what happened, examine the current systems in place, identify the specific reason and root causes so that such an event does not occur again.

The analysis itself captures the specific cause, but also the big picture in the conditions that created the environment for this to occur.

For example, if the specific cause of a mistaken prescription was that the pharmacy tech was tired and misread the information, the big picture might reveal the working conditions of the pharmacy contributed to the specific cause.

How is a RCA Helpful for Pharmacists?

For pharmacists, the RCA is a proven system that helps get at the cause of prescription mistakes and reduces their frequency.

While RCA is the standard response when a serious injury or death occurs from a mistaken prescription, it is also a system that pharmacists can use when examining their procedures to help them become more efficient and make fewer errors.

Unfortunately, it has not been until the past few years that pharmacists have been able to access the tools and programs so they can conduct a Root Cause Analysis on their own to improve the overall system they use in their daily work.

It allows them to step back and see the big picture of their working environment so they can work more efficiently and help avoid making errors.

Being proactive helps avoid making mistakes, but that is only if the specific error can be foreseen. This is because changing a system to avoid one type of error may lead to other types of mistakes being made.

RCA helps avoid that by looking at the entire system so that changes can be seen in the big picture. RCA is the tool to use when an error has occurred, whether the consequences are small or large.

Until an error is made, the pharmacists should employ a system of checks and balances so they can work at peak efficiency while taking the necessary steps to avoid errors from occurring.

Why do PharmTechs need to know about RCA?

Pharmacy techs need to know that RCA is not designed to blame an individual for an error, but rather to find the root causes as to why the conditions in the pharmacy created the error.

The environment, working conditions, and systems present create the conditions for errors to occur, which is why techs need to be as dispassionate as possible when undergoing an RCA.

In most cases, the errors that led to injury or death that are focused on an individual tech were at least in part created by their working environment.

Positive changes to that environment means reducing the likelihood of the error from reoccurring. There are exceptions, of course, but techs should view the RCA process in a positive light as it highlights the conditions of the workplace, not the individual.

How is RCA Beneficial? & How Does It Prevent Errors?

First and foremost, RCA works because it focuses on the environmental conditions of the workplace in terms of the systems, expectations, and overall atmosphere of the pharmacy itself.

In the old days, the suspension or firing of a pharmacy tech because of an error rarely altered conditions in the pharmacy itself as the same systems remained in place and more errors occurred.

By looking at the big picture and taking steps to correct the systems in place, the RCA brings everyone together in looking for the root causes.

The type of error that caused the mistake to occur is now addressed so that its chances of reoccurring are greatly reduced.

Why Does Every Tech Need to Take Medication Safety Seriously?

Pharmacy techs are usually well-schooled in medication safety, but it is important to keep up the training and emphasis on safety in every prescription that is filled. While no system can eliminate all errors, instituting changes that come recommended from an RCA means lessening the chance of the same type of errors from occurring.

For pharmacy techs, self-evaluation combined with a focus on the daily routine to spot potential errors in advance should be a part of their daily activities.

Simple things like going too fast, feeling the pressure of getting tasks performed, and dealing with customers are all part of their everyday lives.

However, nothing is more important than ensuring the prescriptions are filled out correctly and undergo a checking process so that if a mistake occurs, it is caught before it reaches the customer.

The Root Cause Analysis is the step taken after an error has occurred. However, pharmacy techs (and pharmacists) have the ability to catch most potential issues beforehand by focusing on medication safety first, using the proper techniques, and following a series of procedures to maximize safety.

Top of Pharmacy Root Cause Analysis

Back to Home


Continue Reading Below for a Special Offer Going on NOW


Premium PharmTech Package

Grab this Collection of over 20 E-Books!

Exclusively from 
Pharmacy-Tech-Resources.com ONLY

So, you've found this page and you're wondering "What is the Premium PharmTech Package and Why Am I Going to Invest in it "STAT"?"

Clearly you need to know how this Premium Collection of e-Books and e-Reports has the potential to impact your life, improve your career, your job satisfaction, your workplace relationships, and maybe even your income. Can an collection of digital downloads do that? Read on...

This Fantastic Collection of over 20 e-Books and e-Reports is Hand-picked just for you.  You see, I'm pretty sure I know something about you...

  • Have you made your share of mistakes? (Don't worry, we're all human. Everyone of us has.  Coping with Pharmacy Errors, an e-Book resource I wrote that even I turn back to now and then; is included in this package.
  • are you tired of the head honcho pharmacist getting in your face and micromanaging every little detail of your job?  (Enter My Best Practices for the Assertive PharmTech  e-Book, with proven techniques to help you manage your workplace relationships, included.)
  • are you confused and lost when it comes to the minutia of how to override every last insurance rejection?  (Theres an easier way. Enter Resolving Insurance Rejections (now with Every DUR Code) a quite Handy e-Book, included.

What would you pay to learn...

  • The exact steps to follow to stack the deck in your favor in order to get yourself a raise.  (See Keys to PharmTech Career Success e-Book, included.

Imagine, just for a moment, what work would look like for you, after you invest in yourself and get this VALUABLE, JAM-PACKED e-Book Package... and apply what you've learned...

  1. You now recover and learn from your mistakes faster.
  2. You are now more assertive and know how to better handle coworker and customer relationships.
  3. You understand how to quickly resolve more Insurance Rejections 
  4. Maybe you've even earned a well-deserved raise! (Congrats!)

These examples are just the "tip of the iceberg" on all the stellar content you will soon be reading and applying.  

While you're sitting there reading this page, you begin to understand why you can't afford to waste any more time getting less than everything you deserve in your pharmacy tech career.

As you think about what you need in your career, you begin to realize that you have only one choice to make, and that is to invest in yourself and grab this Premium PharmTech Package.

Scroll down to see all of the resources (PDF digital downloads) included in this UNBELIEVABLE Deal...

This PREMIUM Collection of Pharmacy Tech Resources Might Just Transform YOUR Career! 

Plus... ALL the RESOURCES below:


Add to Cart View Cart
Buy Now

ALL E-Resources below are
included in this Stellar COLLECTION:


Volume #1:
Coping With Pharmacy Errors
(USA) PharmTech Certification Demystified
Pharmacy Technician Settings
Latin Medical Abbreviations
Resolving Prescription Insurance Rejections
(now updated with EVERY(?) DUR Code)

Volume #2
HIPPA and The PharmTech
How to Become a Pharmacist/Roadmap to RPH
Pharmacy Systems of Measurement
Best Practices for the Assertive PharmTech
Keys to PharmTech Career Success


 Additional Reports & E-Books:

Unofficial PTCB Exam #1: Questions & Answers
NEW: Unofficial PTCB Exam #2 (MATH): Questions & Answers
NEW Report: How To Cope With A Hostile Workplace
NEW Report: Managing Overwhelm At The Pharmacy
REPORT: Telephone Etiquette for PharmTechs
NEW: Pharmacy Dosage Forms
NEW: PharmTech Fundamentals & More
NEW: Time Management For PharmTechs
NEW: The Canadian PharmTech's Quick Start Guide
NEW Report:Pharmacy Root Cause Analysis
NEW Report: Improving Pharmacy Safety Culture
NEW: Cough & Cold Remedies AND Decongestants Mini-Guide

GRAB this valuable, Premium Collection NOW!
(Your competition may already have snatched it!) 

**NOW 50% OFF**
Normally $9.99, but now
 Half-Priced at $4.99

FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY

Pay via Paypal for IMMEDIATE Download :)

Click Buy Now to get YOUR COPY of this
Premium PharmTech Package, before this deal is gone!

Add to Cart View Cart
Buy Now

Premium PharmTech Package

Powerful and Invaluable Knowledge from an

Experienced Pharmacy Insider is YOURS


Take Months off your Learning Curve!

Let this Premium E-Book Package

help you NOT have to reinvent the Wheel!

Invest in yourself and your career!

You are clicking on the "Buy It Now" button ;)

and Checking Out Now

(before this SPECIAL OFFER goes AWAY for Good)

Add to Cart
Discount Code:

Back to Home

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.
[?]Subscribe To This Site
  • XML RSS
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!


Didn't find what you were looking for? Use the box below to search this entire site.

Custom Search


Recent Articles

  1. Pharmacy Technician Cover Letters

    Nov 18, 17 07:44 PM

    Pharmacy Technician Cover Letters - The basic format to use when writing your Cover Letter, as well as what to write to make sure your resume gets moved into the "interview" pile.

    Read More

  2. Days Supply Question - #20 pills, 1.5 tablets by mouth daily

    Nov 18, 17 06:16 PM

    If you have 20 pills and you take 1.5 a days what's the days supply

    Read More

  3. Days Supply/Quantity for Stavudine (Zerit) prescription

    Nov 18, 17 06:05 PM

    Your pharmacy stocks stavudine in bottles of 30 capsules. How many capsules would you need to dispense for a 90 day supply?

    Read More

  4. Hospital Pharmacy Technician

    Nov 18, 17 02:17 AM

    Duties and Responsibilities of the Hospital Pharmacy Technician.

    Read More

  5. The Metric System for Pharmacy Technicians

    Nov 18, 17 01:20 AM

    This page discusses how Pharmacy Technicians use the Metric System of Measurement.

    Read More

  6. What is the days supply on Advair 250/50 #1 1 puff q12h?

    Nov 04, 17 10:37 PM

    What is the days supply on advair 250/50 #1 - 1 puff q12h?

    Read More

  7. Pharmacy Root Cause Analysis

    Oct 29, 17 10:40 PM

    Pharmacy Root Cause Analysis (RCA) - What is an RCA? How can it help PharmTechs and Save Lives?

    Read More

  8. Controlled Substance Pharmacy Technician

    Oct 29, 17 10:12 PM

    Controlled Substance Pharmacy Technician - Responsibilities, Qualifications, A Day in the Life, and Work Advantages

    Read More

  9. IV Infusion Calculations Explained

    Oct 29, 17 09:54 PM

    This page explains IV Infusion Calculations you may use in your job as a Pharmacy Technician.

    Read More

  10. Days Supply Question: Norco, #35 pills, 1 tablet every 4-6 hours

    Oct 29, 17 09:41 PM

    How many days should 35 Norco last me if I was given #35 at 1 every 4-6 hours?

    Read More

  11. Improving Pharmacy Safety Culture

    Oct 27, 17 08:01 PM

    This page discusses ways of Improving Pharmacy Safety Culture - Focusing on Work Environment, Processes and Procedures, not Personnel

    Read More

  12. How much dextrose is in D10W in a 250 bag?

    Oct 15, 17 04:54 PM

    In D10W, how much dextrose is in a 250mL bag?

    Read More

  13. WHAT IS 2/3 OF A 45 DAY SUPPLY?

    Oct 15, 17 04:29 PM

    WHAT IS 2/3 OF A 45 DAY SUPPLY?

    Read More

  14. Is the HIPPA law broken when my pharmacist shares what drug class my RX is in while I pick the RX with my friend?

    Oct 01, 17 10:24 PM

    I was at the counter yesterday with a co-worker picking up my prescription. The pharmacist did not like the way I signed my name on the machine. He stated

    Read More

  15. Days Supply Question - #60 pills: Take 2 & 1/2 tablets daily

    Oct 01, 17 10:09 PM

    If I had 60 pills on my rx, and I take 2 and 1/2 tablets daily, how long will the prescription last me (day supply)?

    Read More