Hospira Inc., a Pfizer company, recently announced a voluntary recall of “...one lot of 25% Dextrose Injection, USP, (Infant) pre-filled syringe to the hospital/user level due to the presence of particulate matter, identified as human hair, found within an internal sample syringe.” Fortunately for patients, hospitals and Hospira, no reports of any adverse events associated with this issue have been received to date. Drug recalls are often a critical patient safety issue. To keep up with the ongoing volume, many hospitals have developed standards and best practices to help ensure patient safety.
Respond to Drug Recalls More Effectively and Efficiently
There have already been a number of drug recalls this year. In this particular recall case, it is recommended that “Anyone with an existing inventory of the recalled lot should stop use and distribution and quarantine the product immediately.” In addition, the article notes “If you have further distributed the recalled product, please notify any accounts or additional locations which may have received the recalled product from you.”
In most cases the time and effort it takes to track the recalled inventory can be daunting but is critical to patient safety. Establishing recall standards and guidelines for a facility is an important step in preparedness. One example 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
- Establish RFID or bar code technology so recalled products can be identified
To protect patients and ensure recalled drugs are removed completely and promptly, many hospitals and pharmacies are using RFID technology, such as Intelliguard® RFID Solutions.
Instant Visibility to Recalled Inventory with RFID Healthcare Technology
Drug inventory management solutions, like the Intelliguard® Kit and Tray Management System, use RFID healthcare technology to enable hospitals and pharmacists to gain instant visibility of all drugs throughout their 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.
The Virtual Logbook feature of the Intelliguard® Kit and Tray Management System electronically records:
- 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 Virtual 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.
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.
>>View a demonstration of the Virtual Logbook
Humans Plus Technology Are More Powerful Than Either Is Alone
In the absence of technology solutions, pharmacy staff are tasked with the time-consuming job of manually checking each tray, cart and location where recalled medications might be. Then, they must compare lot numbers – which opens the door to dangerous and costly human errors. As a customer of the Intelliguard® Kit and Tray Management System noted:
“The system was used when we had a clonidine recall. This medication was in all of our trays. We ran a report and found the trays that had the lot numbers of the clonidine that were recalled. In the past we would have to check every tray, in every location just to see whether the medication was in the tray. It would take hours or days even! This process was so simple and saved hours and hours of search time and paperwork. This is a safety and quality issue for our patients.”
>>Read case studies
RFID technology in health system pharmacies automates, validates and eases workflow processes to cut back on response times and reduce the occurrence of human errors. In recall situations, time is frequently of the essence. Enterprise visibility of inventory and machine verified workflows allow quick response and prevent mistakes or oversights that can cause a hazard.
To learn more about how RFID healthcare technology can benefit your hospital pharmacy, download our free whitepaper, The Risk of Relying on Human Perfection.
If you have any questions about the Intelliguard® Kit and Tray Management System or Virtual Logbook, or how RFID technology can better help you manage drug recalls, please contact us.