In this pilot study, the aim is to detect dispensing errors and eventually reduce them by using a think aloud technique. The think aloud technique is one of the strategies in human factors engineering, which is a framework for efficient and constructive thinking that are developed for healthcare teams to perform patient safety at all times (Gosbee, 2002). It has been used in clinical decision-making, and has been found to have favorable effects especially during situations wherein there are rapid and overlapping decision making processes (Lundgren-Laine, 2010). Hypotheses This study aims to find out whether using a think aloud technique will help in detecting dispensing errors. It is hypothesized that participants using a think aloud technique while dispensing drugs in the pharmacy practice lab will be able to detect their dispensing errors significantly more than participants who are silent while they carry out their dispensing activities. The null hypothesis states that there will be no significant differences in the amount of dispensing errors detected by those using the think aloud technique and those who are silent. In this study, the independent variable to be studied is the use of think aloud technique. The experimental condition is thinking aloud while dispensing drugs, while the control condition is keeping silent while dispensing drugs.
The dependent variables to be measured are the time it takes to dispense the drugs, the number of actions the participant makes, and the number
of mistakes detected. All of these variables can be measured using an interval scale.A possible confounding variable is in difficulty in reading the prescription or drug information.
These can be addressed by making sure labels are legible and the drug used is one where all participants have equal familiarity with. A possible extraneous variable is varying levels of fatigue in the participants. This can be addressed by subjecting the participant to both conditions. Selection of Participants The population selected for this study comprise of the users of the pharmacy practice lab. If the users amount to 200 individuals and the confidence level is set at 99% due to the sensitive nature of medication errors, the sample size needed is 90. Participants will be selected by simple random sampling. For this pilot study, however, the researchers will only be selecting six participants. Allocation of participants The design chosen for this study is within participants. Participants would be subjected both to the experimental condition (using think aloud technique) and the control condition (keeping silent). This is to eliminate possible confounding variables, such as level of familiarity with drugs, fatigue of participants, and vigilance. The participants, however, will be divided into two groups by randomization. The first group will undergo the experimental condition first, then the control condition after a number of days have passed. The second group will undergo the control condition first, then the experimental condition after same number of days have passed. This is to minimize carryover effects. Data analysis A within participants study with dependent variables that can be measured using an interval scale can be statistically