Variability of the attention and the perceived workload: analysis by the d2 Test and the NASA Task Load Test of pharmacy technicians in a chemotherapy reconstruction unit

7 October 2016

M. Lefebvre1, A. Dory1, J. Friedl1, J. Bourbon1, J. Detour1, J. Kemp2, B. Gourieux1 1 Service pharmacie-stérilisation, University Hospital of Strasbourg, France
2 Service de Neuropsychologie, University Hospital of Strasbourg, France
Nouvel Hopital Civil : 1, place de l’hôpital BP 426
67091 Strasbourg Cedex, France - Tél : +33 369550760

The areas of pharmacotechnology require pharmaceutical, theoretical and technical expertise which involves managerial and organizational aspects in regards to teamwork targeting the reduction of occurrence of errors. The human factor, heavily studied in aerospace and nuclear, can be a source of deficiencies that must be prevented. Our study focused on variations of attention and/or concentration of pharmacy technicians, the specific time of occurrence and the perceived workload that could contribute to the incidence of preparation errors through an analysis by the d2 Test and the NASA Task Load Test (NASA-TLX).

The assessment is conducted among a team of 8 pharmacy technicians assigned on two different centralized chemotherapy reconstruction units. NASA-TLX tests and d2 tests are carried out regularly at defined intervals during the activity, by each technician on duty, for a period of two weeks. The obtained data is then analyzed statistically (ANOVA and post hoc analysis).

d2 tests on attention have not highlighted statistically significant variation (p=0.05) during the different time slots. However the variation of perceived workload (NASA-TLX) is statistically significant (p=0.05). The perceived workload is higher during the late morning peak of activity and at the end of the working day.

The human factor, often pointed to explain the safety-related malfunctions, is difficult to characterize. Our study suggests a variation of the perceived workload depending on the time slots linked to the activity peaks of the day. A post-assessment, after the implementation of optimization measures of the organizations to streamline the flow of activity during the day and reduce the workload peaks appears as the next step.

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