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Customer Anecdote #3 – Solving the case of disappearing medications

Customer Profile

Size: 300+
Status: Non-Profit
Type: Medium Metro
IDN Member: Yes
Kit Check use: OR trays, crash carts, transport bags & miscellaneous kits
Drugs Tracked Annually: 45,000+

Background – Provider hoarding resulted in compliance citations and safety risks

At this particular hospital, an anesthesia technician was responsible for managing the drug inventory for L&D. Unfortunately, the technician resigned and the decision was made to not backfill. In order to meet their needs, providers began hoarding drugs in the L&D area of the hospital for more convenient access. These drugs effectively fell into a black hole and lacked any real oversight. As a result, expired drugs weren’t removed from the supply chain, drugs were often stored insecurely and inventory was managed suboptimally.

This practice was brought into focus after accreditation auditors found expired drugs and drugs in unsecured areas for which the hospital received several citations. Even though L&D nurses were the ones “managing” the inventory, Pharmacy was still ultimately responsible and needed to take action. However, they had to do so in a way that met the needs of L&D providers while, at the same, time didn’t require additional Pharmacy staffing.

Solution – L&D kits, tracking and behavioral changes

Having used Kit Check in other areas of the hospital, one of the Pharmacy Operation Managers saw an opportunity to leverage this technology to help address the issue. Pharmacy worked with L&D providers to design an L&D kit that met daily usage demands. Kits were swapped daily which not only ensures providers have access to the medications they need but also provides Pharmacy a better way of tracking medications. In exchange for Pharmacy committing to swapping these kits daily, L&D providers agreed to end their hoarding practice.

In addition, Pharmacy managers leverage Kit Check Analytics and Reporting to identify any kits haven’t been processed within the last several days which usually means those kits have been misplaced. When this situation occurs, Pharmacy can quickly partner with providers to locate and retrieve missing kits to ensure all drugs are appropriately secured.

Results – No more citations and more time for providers to focus on patient care

As a result, auditors no longer find expired or unsecured medications in the L&D area and providers always have access to the medications they need. In addition, given the speed at which these kits can be processed, Pharmacy was able to solve the problem with their existing staffing levels. Lastly, L&D providers are no longer spending time retrieving medications from other areas of the hospital or managing inventory which allows them to focus on patient care.

Conclusion – Better inventory management doesn’t require expensive technology or increased staffing

Pharmacies are constantly being asked to do more with less. With these often conflicting pressures, some organizations feel there is no choice but to compromise by allowing non-pharmacy staff manage drug inventory. This customer, however, faced these same pressures and was able to create a solution that allowed Pharmacy to maintain control of the drug supply to ensure compliance without taxing Pharmacy resources.