Objective: To institutionalize an evidence-based policy/protocol adapted from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) national medication standards for managing telephone medication orders (TMO) and determine the impact of the policy/protocol on the number of telephone medication errors (TME) on two medical units of a small private hospital in Jamaica.
Methods: Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model was used to facilitate organizational change among nurses and physicians by teaching and implementing the TMO policy/protocol adapted from AHRQ standards and collecting pre-policy and post-policy frequency of TMEs. A convenience sample of 80 nurses and physicians participated in training about the policy/protocol, took post-instructional tests and participated in the implementation of the policy/protocol. Chart audits over six weeks monitored adherence to the policy/protocol. The annual monthly mean of TMEs for the prior year was compared with the number of TMEs just prior to implementation of policy/protocol and at the end of the first six weeks of implementation.
Results: One hundred per cent of the convenience sample of 80 nurses and doctors passed the post-instructional test; the workforce adhered fully to the protocol during six weeks of implementation, and there was a 100% reduction in TMEs between the prior year and six weeks after policy/protocol implementation.
Conclusion: Kotter’s 8-step framework of organizational change was a successful strategy in institutionalizing and sustaining adherence to the TMO policy/protocol, reducing the number of TMEs and positively influencing the organizational culture.