The term “STAT” is very familiar in our industry, as it’s the official term for urgent prescriptions. The word ‘STAT’ comes from the Latin word “STATim” which translates to “immediately” and it means that the order should be prioritized first as it is needed urgently. A STAT medication order should generally be administered within 30 minutes of it being ordered.
The word “STAT” takes less time to say than “right now”. It’s shorter, only one syllable, and in urgent and life-threatening circumstances, communication needs to happen extremely quickly.
In the medical world, “STAT” became known as a need for urgency and can’t be misunderstood when compared to terms like “hurry” or “do it now”. In situations when “STAT” is required, it’s very important to convey the message as quickly as possible without any doubt.
There’s also a time difference between “STAT” and “right now”. While they’re very similar, “STAT” means immediately, while “right now” is intended to be an order of meds that should be given within a time frame of 60-90 minutes. Delivering the right medications extremely quickly when warranted is important and can – and does – save lives. Some medical experts argue that the speed of a STAT order shouldn’t be more than 15 minutes from the time the order is given until the patient is administered the medications. Unfortunately, often it is no easy task for a pharmacy to deliver ordered medications in that time frame, but automated eKITs and dispensing systems are the keys to managing such orders for immediate use meds onsite.
How can you improve the STAT order time?
Recent research established that it takes about 30 minutes on average to deliver a STAT medication to a patient. In many cases, a quick delivery time can be the difference between life and death. However, a different modern study demonstrated that by improving the quality of interventions, the time for delivering STAT medications can be reduced. In other words, by reducing factors that slow the process, necessary medications are able to be delivered to the patient in less than 30 minutes. Not only that, but doctors in that same study increased the percentage of medications delivered within 30 minutes from 20% to 67% – a significant decrease in the wait time for “STAT” meds.