While doctors and caregivers are at the front lines of dealing with emergencies, much of the planning and preparation starts with the pharmacy. Pharmacy teams are responsible for ensuring that critical medication is available when and where needed, safe and valid (i.e. not expired or recalled.) Crash cart preparedness plays an important role in emergency preparedness and is markedly improved with the addition of innovative RFID healthcare technology.
Crash Cart Preparedness and Guidelines from The Joint Commission
The April 2017 issue of The Joint Commission QuickSafety newsletter covered the topic of crash cart preparedness, noting that hidden issues could detrimentally effect patient safety. “In a 12-month data review of 2008, the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority identified 56 reports that highlighted emergency or rapid response situations in which supplies or equipment were missing or outdated.” According to the article, some of the crash cart factors that contributed to patient safety events included:
- Medication errors and mix-ups
- Missing, expired, damaged, contaminated, and unavailable equipment or medications
- Carts not checked or inspected according to policy or procedure
- Staff is unfamiliar with procedures regarding how to stock or restock the crash cart
Any delay in providing critical care to patients can create a safety risk. Innovations in RFID healthcare technology can help the pharmacy team ensure that crash carts are complete and reliable, improving patient safety and reducing risk.
>> Learn more about The Joint Commission Safety Standards and Intelliguard® RFID.
Improving Crash Cart Safety and Reliability with Hospital Pharmacy RFID Automation
The combination of humans plus technology improves the safety and quality of care you deliver. In the case of crash carts, hospital pharmacy RFID automation effectively addresses the following patient safety concerns, which were noted in The Joint Commission newsletter:
- Missing medications: Using RFID technology, when a kit, tray, bag or box is returned to the pharmacy for refilling, it is placed in the Intelliguard® Pharmacy Workstation. The system reads all the product inventory and compares it against the precise PAR level specifics. Any missing, expired or soon-to-expire medications are identified. A medication pick-list is generated so replenishment can happen quickly and accurately.
- Expired medications: Intelliguard® Pharmacy identifies expired or soon-to-expire medications so removing and replacing is accurate and timely. As noted by Inova Fairfax Health System: “We don’t have to remember expiration dates, and the machine prints a detailed report list of all the meds and all the expiration dates. It highlights the earliest expiration dates and the whole process takes less than one minute.”
- Confirmation of Cart Inspection, and correct stocking/re-stocking procedures: RFID technology provides assurance that the task of medication replenishment is performed with 100% accuracy – nothing missing, nothing expired. The system does not permit steps in the defined process to be missed or skipped.
>> View the Intelliguard® Pharmacy video to learn more about RFID for hospital pharmacy automation of kits and trays.
Taking Action for Crash Cart Safety
Human beings have common failure modes and certain conditions make it more likely for a human operator to make a mistake. Hospital pharmacy RFID automation eliminates human error, distraction and exhaustion that goes along with manually checking medications.
>> Download “The Risk of Relying on Human Perfection” white paper to learn more.
Contact us to learn more about improving crash cart reliability and patient safety at your facility.