In the Clean Room: A Review of Technology-Assisted Sterile Compounding Systems in the US [report]

For the better part of the past year I’ve been working on a project with Mark Neuenschwander of The Neuenschwander Company looking at technologies used in pharmacy clean rooms to prepare sterile compounds.

The research into this area took much longer than originally anticipated. We discovered along the way that this subject is much more complex than it appears on the surface. Information is difficult to find, some of the technologies are little more than marketing material on a company website, and the subject matter is in its infancy.

Mark and I compiled cursory information on approximately 15 different systems in the first few months of the project. As we dug deeper into each system it became apparent that not all of the products being marketed should be included in the report. After much deliberation Mark and I developed a set of criteria for inclusion in Review of Technology-Assisted Sterile Compounding Systems. We required that each system:

  • Have at least one site “live”
  • Be fully operational and be observable by me, Mark, or both of us.
  • Include computerized workflow processes that require bar-code verification scanning of containers and ingredients for CSPs
  • Utilize bar-code labeled IVs for scanning at the point of care. The labels could come from the Pharmacy Information System or directly from the compounding system.

Applying our criteria whittled the total number down to 11 systems; 7 semi-automated manual systems and 4 robotic systems.

The report contains general information on each system as well as detailed information on items such as workflow, system integration with pharmacy information systems, whether or not the system requires dedicated workstations or is web-based, medication formulary and NDC cross reference file availability, imaging functionality, physical requirements, procurement, and so on. Included in the report are “Quick-Look Product Guides” for each system as well as a “Quick-Look Comparative Guide” that gives key system features for each system in a single page for quick reference.

Researching these systems, along with the process of writing this report have been enlightening and invaluable. Even though the report was only completed a short time ago, Mark and I have already begun discussions on how to provide even greater detail into this area and how best to use these technologies.

In the Clean Room: A Review of Technology-Assisted Sterile Compounding Systems in the US can be found here. While not all inclusive, I hope that the report will act as a springboard for future discussions on IV room technology, patient safety, and pharmacy practice.

Only the first few pages of the report are presented here.

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