According to the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS) and its February 2018 report titled Methods, Trends, and Solutions for Drug Diversion, “Addiction is the primary cause of controlled substance diversion among healthcare professionals, as professions with easy access to controlled substances, such as anesthesiology and nursing, have higher rates of addiction. For example, the American Nurses Association has estimated that one in 10 nurses is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.”
What this all means is that controlled substances are too easy to steal in hospitals, which helps feed addiction, drives up drug budgets and can put patients at risk if the medication they require is missing.
It might surprise you that many hospitals today rely on outdated barcode scanning (vial by vial) to track and manage drug inventory. This technology was introduced in 1974 and hasn’t changed all that much since. It is tedious, slow, often inaccurate, and leads to shortcuts or workarounds. Without proper and precise tracking of these medications, hospitals are allowing these drugs to fall into the wrong hands, and what’s worse, they can’t even uncover who’s hands they fall into. This is a major point of failure in the controlled substance supply chain and one of the more prevalent issues contributing to opioid diversion today.
For these and countless other reasons, something needs to change in the management of controlled substances to reduce or altogether mitigate diversion.
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is changing how controlled substances are managed throughout hospitals and health system pharmacies. With RFID, medical treatment and medication professionals are given an unprecedented level of visibility, accuracy, predictability and control when managing drug inventory. RFID tags are put onto controlled substance vials, and whenever these medications are dispensed to nursing kits, anesthesia trays or crash carts, the tags automatically report to the hospitals’ data network who took the drug, who they gave it to, how much was given, and more.
The use of RFID technology and inventory management software dramatically speeds up drug inventory processing (from minutes or hours to mere seconds), avoids human error (tags are scanned automatically) and reduces risk to the hospital and patients.
See IntelliGuard's RFID-enabled drug inventory management solutions for yourself. Click the blue button below to schedule a live demo.