Health system pharmacy teams are charged with accurate medication inventory and distribution management, prioritizing patient care and safety, and also controlling costs. Balancing these demands is made more challenging when it comes to high value medications, which often have strict security and storage requirements. To reduce medication waste and control costs, effective inventory optimization strategies can be employed by pharmacy teams using innovative RFID healthcare technology.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) healthcare technology enables item-level visibility to all medications throughout a facility. The Intelliguard® Controlled Temperature Cabinets combine pharmacy-grade temperature controlled (cold or ambient) cabinets with RFID technology to provide ideal storage conditions, real-time item-level tracking, and detailed usage data for optimization of high value inventory.
Reduce Drug Waste: from Temperature Excursions
Many high value medications have strict storage requirements, and must be kept in temperature-controlled cold or ambient cabinets. Any deviation from the manufacturer’s recommended storage conditions can result in lost efficacy and put patients at risk; Therefore, if there is a doubt as to the storage conditions of a specific item, the pharmacy will generally err on the side of safety and discard the items. As you’ve likely heard, the adage is “When In Doubt, Throw It Out.”
“The losses associated with temperature excursions in healthcare come to $35 Billion,” says Cargosense, which breaks down the costs to include lost product, root cause analysis, clinical trial, replacement and waste logistics costs. Beyond managing the logistics of transport and shipping, once the product is in the hospital facility the pharmacy must ensure that:
- The items are stored in pharmacy-grade, temperature controlled cabinets
- The cabinets are monitored
- The pharmacy is alerted to any deviation from recommended storage temperatures
- Temperature excursions are tracked and documented, by item
How Intelliguard® RFID Helps:
Many pharmacy refrigerators monitor cabinet temperature, but lack the inventory tracking capabilities to identify the items impacted at the time of a temperature excursion. The Intelliguard® RFID cabinets use advanced RFID technology to identify not only when a cabinet was out of range, but what was in the cabinet – down to the individual item – when the excursion happened. This real-time item-level visibility gives pharmacists the confidence to know exactly what items were impacted by the temperature excursion and should be discarded, reducing unnecessary waste.
Reduce Drug Waste: from Expiry
Ensuring that drugs don’t expire unused is an important step in inventory management that can help to reduce medication waste and control costs. Unfortunately, the process of tracking expiration dates for individual medications across various locations is often manual, difficult and time-consuming.
“Pharmacy staff should be aware of the waste caused by medicines expiring within the pharmacy itself. Thorough stock control procedures will minimise wastage but, with the pressure of other activities, it is easy to forget routine tasks (such as stock rotation and checking expiry dates).” According to the Pharmaceutical Journal article “How to Reduce Medicines Waste.”
The article goes on to say: “With rapidly increasing drug spends in hospitals the cost of wastage within pharmacy may only be a small percentage of the total drug budget; however, this does not alter the fact that expensive drugs are expiring (sometimes needlessly) within pharmacy departments. Staff need to be aware of the drugs held within their department that are about to expire. Ideally, any procedures for expiry date checks should be linked to a list of critical drugs for the hospital.”
When managing inventory and expiration dates of high value drugs, the pharmacy team should be able to:
- Track lot numbers and expiration dates
- Proactively run reports on soon-to-expire items by date and location
- Know where each item is at any point in time, and compare to par levels so inventory can be rotated and optimized for maximum usage
How Intelliguard® RFID Helps:
With the Intelliguard® RFID System the pharmacy team is not required to track expiration dates manually. Customized limits can be set to trigger alerts and notifications for soon-to-expire items. Reports show where each item resides throughout the facility, and real-time inventory and par levels for each cabinet at each location; therefore items can be shifted and moved to maximize usage based on need and prior to expiry.
Reduce Drug Waste: from Diversion
Drug Diversion “…is a significant problem that has a direct impact on drug spending.” According to Erica Lindsay, PharmD, MBA, JD in an article in the Pharmacy Times. “The estimated cost of controlled prescription drug diversion and abuse to both public and private medical insurers is approximately $72.5 billion a year.”
Pharmacies employ many strategies for curbing diversion including secure storage. When it comes to high value medications that have multiple requirements such as temperature control and security, all the demands must be considered. The challenge for the pharmacy team is to:
- Securely store each item
- Track each item that is removed from a secure storage area
- Know who removed what item, when, and if the item was returned
How Intelliguard® RFID Helps:
Intelliguard® RFID Controlled Temperature Cabinets offer secure badge-controlled access. In addition, granular usage tracking and visibility make continued diversion nearly impossible. Every time the cabinet door is closed, the system automatically records who accessed the cabinet, the exact item/s removed, length of time and whether or not any items were returned. The pharmacy can use these reports to identify and thwart diversion.
Learn More About Intelliguard® RFID Controlled Temperature Cabinets
The Intelliguard® Controlled Temperature Cabinets are a valuable solution for pharmacies that need to secure high value medication, optimize inventory and reduce waste. Staff simply maintains their current workflow - open the door, remove what’s needed, close the door. Inventory data is automatically updated every time the cabinet door is closed.
>>View a brief demonstration of the controlled temperature inventory management system
>>Contact us to learn more.