Tag Archives: Pharmacy Practice

“Improving Safety and Efficiency in the IV Room” : thoughts on the ASHP webinar

I previously wrote about a live webinar put on by ASHP – Improving Safety and Efficiency in the IV Room: Key Features of Automated Workflow Systems – on Wednesday, May 20 2015. The webinar was made up of three separate, 20 minute presentations:

  • Medication Error Reduction Strategy Using Dispense Preparation and Dispense Check by Tom Lausten, RPh, Director of Pharmacy at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
  • IV Workflow Systems: Barcode Plus Volumetric Verification by Steve Speth, RPh, Pharmacy Operations Manager at IU Bloomington.
  • Automated i.v. Workflow Systems and Technologies by Caryn Bellisle, RPh, Director of Pharmacy Regulatory Compliance at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Read more …

Upcoming ASHP Webinar: Improving Safety and Efficiency in the IV Room

This caught my attention. ASHP is holding a live webinar – Improving Safety and Efficiency in the IV Room: Key Features of Automated Workflow Systems – on Wednesday, May 20 2015 at 2:00 PM ET.

According to the webinar site “Technology for IV rooms can be used to streamline work processes and support staff.  However, despite the advancements in technology there are still significant challenges in the compounding of sterile products. This webinar will take a look at IV room technologies and how it has improved IV room operations and overall safety for patients.  The speakers will also review the cost benefits, the key safety components including barcode scanning, imaging and gravimetric technology, and the best practices related to implementation and maintenance of these automated processes.

Objectives listed include:

  • Describe the most common IV Compounding Safety technologies available in workflow programs today
  • Describe and contrast the types of errors that the workflow technologies may affect
  • List key benefits of workflow systems beyond the reduction of errors
  • List and describe key considerations when choosing an IV workflow system

I look forward to attending as this is an area of great interest for me. I will be looking for depth of information presented in an unbiased manner. Not sure how deep they can go in an hour, but should be worthwhile nonetheless.

You can register for the webinar here, or by following the link above.

ASHP updates chemotherapy guidelines

ASHP Guidelines for Chemotherapy

It seems as though everyone has chemotherapy on the brain. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is in the process of updating their Alert on Preventing Occupational Exposures to Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Health Care Settings. NIOSH already released a new list of hazardous drugs late last year. The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) is busy finalizing General Chapter <800> Hazardous Drugs – Handling in Healthcare Settings. And now, ASHP has published updated chemotherapy guidelines.(1)
Read more …

More thoughts on USP <797> and pharmacy IV rooms [comment from reader]

A friend and colleague, Ray Vrabel, left a comment on my post from April 20th. I thought what Ray had to say was too good not to post. He raises some good points, which are worth more discussion.

Ray is a sharp guy, and he and I have had some good conversations over the past couple of years. He’s passionate about patient safety and pharmacy practice. While I don’t always agree with everything that Ray has to say, I definitely appreciate his thoughts and opinions.

Make sure to read more of Ray’s thoughts here.

Jerry,

Your post has got me wondering about a number of things: Area 51, The Kennedy Assassination, Obama’s birth certificate, and now USP797.

You raise the question which I have always wondered about: What was the problem that USP797 was attempting to solve? Was there documentation of significant problems associated with pharmacy-prepared IV admixtures by pharmacies who were following the ASHP Guidelines in place before USP797? Did anyone conduct a multi-hospital study to determine if hospitals following pre-USP797 ASHP Guidelines had any clinical problems associated with pharmacy IV admixtures? In other words, what is the science that drove the USP797 standards?

We have effectively turned our pharmacy IV Rooms into GMP-like sterile manufacturing facilities. So now, if properly followed, we have hospital pharmacies preparing a very high quality product from a sterility standpoint. That’s a good thing, but we also have a number of unintended consequences:

(1) Most IV admixtures are now prepared by pharmacy technicians, but they are no longer being directly supervised by pharmacists because of the onerous garbing requirements, making it inconvenient for the pharmacist to move into and out of the IV room.

(2) While there is now a requirement that every pharmacy must follow UPS797 standards, we do not have a technician licensure/certification requirement for all technicians in all states.

(3) While USP797 has required the use of all types of environmental, operational, and testing products, there is no requirement for pharmacies to use barcode checking of the IV admixture ingredients (i.e., Label, bag, and additives). Why do we have excellent sterility requirements with no requirement for accuracy of IV additive preparation?

What’s wrong with this picture? We now have sterile IV admixtures, but we don’t have any standards to make sure that the IV admixture is made correctly (i.e., correct ingredients). I feel that barcode scanning during medication preparation (BCMP) should be the minimum standard for ALL IV admixtures in ALL pharmacies. For more on this, please see my LinkedIn post: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-hospital-gift-shops-more-important-than-pharmacy-iv-vrabel.

What practice area benefits most from increased sterile compounding regulation?

I recently sat through a webinar that was recorded during a live symposium at ASHP Midyear in Anaheim on December 8, 2014. The symposium was entitled “Understanding the New Federal Framework for Oversight of Sterile Compounding” (1) and consisted of three separate presentations, one of which was given by Eric Kastango. (2)
Read more …

Cool Pharmacy Technology – Kiro Oncology System

I’ve recently had conversations with several companies outside the U.S. developing robotic technology for the i.v. room. One of those systems is the Kiro Oncology System. Check the video below.

A couple of things worth noting:

  • The system uses dual robotic arms during the compounding process. This is something that is important for the next generation of i.v. room robots. The current crop of i.v. room robots here in the U.S. use a single arm. Think about the inefficiency of one-armed sterile compounding.
  • The Kiro Oncology System is self-cleaning. This is a concept that appears to be more popular “in Europe” than it is here in the U.S. Kiro Oncology isn’t the first overseas group I’ve dealt with that is pushing the idea of self-cleaning. None of the U.S. vendors have ever mentioned it.

Managing medication trays in acute care pharmacy

Medication trays – a.k.a. med trays, code trays/kits/boxes/bags, transport trays/kits/boxes/bags, intubation kits, C-section trays, anesthesia trays, and so on ad infinitum – are common in acute care pharmacies.  I’ve seen them in every variation you can imagine in every pharmacy I’ve ever been in.

Depending on the situation, med trays can contain a large number of injectable medications. For example: code trays may contain several different neuromuscular blockers like vecuronium, rocuronium, succinylcholine; pressors like epinephrine, norepinephrine, phenylephrine;  other code drugs like atropine, vasopressin; reversal agents like naloxone and neostigmine; antibiotics, etc, while a C-section tray may contain local anesthetics in various shapes and sizes (lidocaine with or without EPI, SDV or MDV, bupivacaine of various concentrations, etc). The list goes on. It’s pretty crazy.

Anesthesia_Tray
Read more …

Cleanroom technology for pharmacy – DRUGCAM

DRUGCAM is an interesting piece of pharmacy cleanroom technology. On one hand it falls into the semi-automated systems category because the person using it has to manually manipulate all the components of the sterile compound they’re making. In other words, it’s not a robot. On the other hand DRUGCAM uses some interesting technology and software to automate some of the steps in the process.

DRUGCAM uses multiple cameras(1) to automatically detect the items being used during the compounding process. As the user passes components in front of the cameras, the system automatically identifies them. No bar code scanning required. That’s probably a good thing outside the U.S. as I’ve learned that not all countries require manufacturers to place a bar code on their drug containers. If the system doesn’t recognize the item, the user is notified via visual cues on the screen.

DRUGCAM uses the same technology to automatically detect the volume of fluid pulled into syringes, and also detect when the same syringe is empty following addition of the contents to the final container. I’m not sure how the system determines the correct syringe position, but it’s pretty interesting.

One other thing that makes DRUGCAM unique is that it takes video of the entire compounding process. I’ve mentioned this idea to several vendors over the past few years, but no one really seemed interested in the idea of using video.(2) I think it offers potential advantages over still photos. For one, if something looks weird you can always move forward or back in the compounding process to see what went wrong.

Check the video below. It shows DRUGCAM being used in a glovebox.

DRUGCAM is not currently available in the U.S. If you’d like more information just follow the link to the DRUGCAM website.

—————-

(1) When I saw DRUGCAM at the ASHP Summer Meeting back in June 2013 the engineer told me that the system utilized two cameras, but I can’t find that information on the product website.
(2) Everyone I’ve talk with was concerned about the storage requirements for the video. My brother works for a company that designs security cameras, software, etc. Those companies have been dealing with high-definition video storage for years.

Drug shortages, whose to blame?

Medscape: “One cause of these shortages, pharmaceutical companies charge, is the amount of time it takes the DEA to approve controlled substance quotas. The DEA has created these quotas for each class of controlled substances and for each manufacturer of drugs containing these agents to prevent their diversion to illegal uses.”

The drug shortage problem is nothing new. It has become an everyday reality of pharmacy practice. ASHP has established a dedicated website for the problem, and the FDA has gone as far as to create a mobile app to help people track shortage information.

For most people the idea of a drug shortage seems silly, i.e. just make more. The problem is more complicated than that, however. The causes of drug shortages are multifaceted.
Read more …

Applications to assist with Antimicrobial Stewardship

A couple of days ago I wrote about The California Antimicrobial Stewardship Program Initiative, and how it’s an opportunity for pharmacists to get out and stretch their clinical legs.

Antimicrobial stewardship requires a lot of real-time surveillance and monitoring of patients, labs and cultures, medication use, and so on. There are basically two ways to accomplish this. One is tedious and inefficient, while the other is smart and efficient.

The tedious, inefficient method is the one used by many healthcare facilities. Pharmacies in these facilities simply throw pharmacists at the problem by having them look at a bunch of patients manually every day in search of anomalies. It’s very time consuming. It’s like looking for a crooked needle in a needle stack.

The smart, efficient method involves the use of clinical decision support systems. These systems are connected to several data feeds from other systems throughout the hospital, such as ADT, pharmacy, lab, and so on. The data is aggregated and analyzed against a set of rules designed to find patients with potential problems. These patients are tagged and referred to a pharmacist for follow up, i.e. the pharmacists are only presented with the crooked needles. It’s a much better way to go about things.

There are several systems on the market designed to perform real-time surveillance and clinical decision support. The list below includes many, but is certainly not exhaustive.