A growing problem, drug recalls have proven to be especially challenging for pharmacists, now that the average annual number of drugs recalled by the FDA is over a thousand. According to an article by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drug recalls have increased greatly nearly every year for over ten years. What’s worse, a study conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that “drug recalls aren’t usually limited to a few pills here and there.” In fact, of the 91 Class I recalls studied (Class Is being those drugs that have the greatest potential to harm or kill patients), 34 percent affected more than 100,000 units of a drug, and 64 percent had been distributed nationwide, meaning hospital pharmacies everywhere were affected.
Best Practices for Managing a Drug Recall
To keep up with the high volume of drug recalls, many hospitals have developed standards and best practices to help ensure patient safety. One of the best examples of drug and device recall standards for hospitals was developed by the California State Board of Pharmacy’s Subcommittee to Evaluate Drug Distribution in Hospitals. Their guidance document included recommendations for hospital pharmacies to:
- Control all drug storage areas in the hospital and prohibit storage outside those areas
- Allow no drugs in the hospital without the knowledge and approval of the pharmacy
- Conduct regular inspections (minimum monthly) of all medications and devices
- During inspections, double-check that recalled drugs have been removed from hospital supplies
- Establish RFID or bar code technology so recalled products can be identified
Ensuring Patient Safety Through Drug Recall Automation
A key benefit of automating your drug inventory through Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems is that it allows hospitals and pharmacy staff to quickly identify and locate expired and recalled drugs, as well as those that need to be reordered, or are in danger of supply shortages.
Using RFID to manage drug inventories gives hospital pharmacies the ability to track and view all drugs in the system in real-time. Because of the visibility and accuracy RFID provides, medications are easier to find —and easier to remove in the event of recalls, expirations, etc. In short, RFID removes much of the stress from the recall process, reduces the risk for errors and saves pharmacists and staff a significant amount of time and energy.
How IntelliGuard® Pharmacy with IntelliGuard® Logbook Capabilities Aid Drug Recalls
Drug inventory management solutions, like the IntelliGuard® Pharmacy, feature RFID technology that enables hospitals and pharmacists to gain instant visibility of all drugs in the system. Users can search for recalled drugs by lot number or medication name. When a search reveals a recalled drug, users can flag the medication in the system and run a “Recalled Medication Report” that provides the location, quantity and status of all instances of the recalled drug in the hospital.
- The location of drug kits, trays and carts throughout the hospital
- The status of individual trays, including which trays are in which cart
- The employee(s) in control of a kit, tray or cart
Because the IntelliGuard® Logbook stores and provides instant access to all of this information, pharmacists and technicians are able to quickly and easily locate any drug, kit, tray or cart – anywhere, anytime, for any reason, whether there is a drug recall, expired inventory, or it’s simply time to conduct monthly inspections.
The IntelliGuard® Logbook has recently been upgraded so it allows the flexibility of two options: a) direct access from the IntelliGuard® Pharmacy application, or b) remote access from a tablet. This option is particularly helpful for those who use a two-step process, where the second step occurs outside of the pharmacy in areas such as central processing.
The IntelliGuard® Logbook allows users to locate any kit or tray that contains a recalled medication by creating tray and cart reports that list all recalled drugs. The reports not only list which trays and carts have recalled medications, they show the exact locations of the kits and trays in the hospital, regardless of whether the drugs are in a cart or a storage unit.
>> See IntelliGuard® Logbook
Increase the Safety of Patients and Hospitals with Intelliguard®
Smart and intuitive, Intelliguard® RFID Systems feature multiple safety measures that help prevent recalled medications from ever being included in kits and trays. For example, if there is a recalled medication in a tray, a detailed warning will pop-up to let the user know the tray contains a particular recalled drug every time they scan any drug from that tray. Hospitals that use RFID technology to automate, validate and manage drug inventories reduce the risk of human error from their drug management processes and increase patient safety.
To learn more about how RFID technology can benefit your hospital pharmacy, download our free whitepaper, The Risk of Relying on Human Perfection.