Chemotherapy daycare pharmacy workflow and workspace assessment

January 2007 to May 2007


As treatment options and disease rates increase, oncology centres face a growing need to accommodate greater numbers of chemotherapy patients. Princess Margaret Hospital’s Chemotherapy Daycare Centre (CDC) Pharmacy therefore approached HumanEra to help improve the efficiency of the pharmacy within its limited space. The objective of this assessment was to assess workflow and workspace and to recommend practical solutions for improving the efficiency and safety of the unit.

HumanEra conducted semi-structured interviews with stakeholders to understand the work processes and unit issues, and to gain context for the 30 hours of ethnographic observations. The team also measured the physical dimensions of the workspace, and kept a visual record by taking photographs. Workflow for preparing different chemotherapy treatments were also captured and the physical layout of the pharmacy was mapped.

The team identified several workflow issues that impacted safety and efficiency. Significant issues included:

  • Congested layout
  • Lack of standardization in the workflow for dispensing chemotherapy treatments in preparation
  • Inefficient use of available storage space
  • Undesirable work postures

Recommendations to improve these issues were developed, and included:

  • Modifications to the layout
  • Conducting a standardized clean up
  • Implementing ergonomic adjustments to workstations

The pharmacy immediately implemented most of the recommendations and found that workflow and efficiency were improved. Lessons from this evaluation were subsequently applied to the design of a new, larger pharmacy.

Project Sponsor

Rita Kwong


Princess Margaret Hospital

Project Team

Rachel White
Raquel Lopez (student)
Judith Seary (student)

For more information on this project, contact:

Rachel White