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Technology Assisted Medication Inventory Management

Pharmacy staff managing drug inventory are among the unsung heroes of health-system Pharmacy Services. Day-after-day these staff procure drug inventory to sustain supply of the medications patients need. Pharmacy procurement staff are requested to report on existing drug supply and predict future drug supply while simultaneously offering guidance to pharmacy staff for proper handling and storage procedures. More health systems are turning their attention to implementing a technology solution to support these staff in their important work.

“Walking the shelves” should be a thing of the past. In most settings there is not enough time in the day, nor available staff, for this to be an effective approach. For managing drug inventory, a technical solution is required to tie “drug in” with “drug out.” A perpetual drug inventory management application allows a health-system pharmacy to report on and manage drug inventory across locations, which is particularly helpful for geographically distributed sites.

Drug shortages are a significant burden to health-system pharmacies from a financial, as well as process, standpoint. (Baumer, et al., 2004) With a perpetual inventory application, the pharmacy can more easily characterize a perceived or actual shortage of a drug, allowing for movement of inventory, and contingency planning. Furthermore a study by the American Hospital Association noted an average 18.5% rise in drug spending for hospitals and health systems between 2015 and 2017. (Baxter, 2020) A drug inventory management application offers pharmacy leaders a tool to confidently demonstrate careful management of the expense.

TRG is positioned to support health-system pharmacies in the pursuit of a drug inventory management application. An initial assessment offers an objective perspective on departmental and enterprise readiness for change, including recommendations around clinical systems configurations, interplay with automation, and best practices for personnel and workflows. Subsequent partnership through an implementation provides for ongoing experience-based recommendations, as well as fulfillment of short-term staffing needs.

TRG welcomes the opportunity to facilitate a successful implementation of a drug inventory management application for your organization!

References

Baumer, A. M., Clark, A. M., Witmer, D. R., Geize, S. B., Vermeulen, L. C., & Deffenbaugh, J. H. (2004). National survey of the impact of drug shortages in acute care hospitals. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, 2015-2022.

Baxter, A. (2020, May 29). Hospitals deeply impacted by rising drug prices. Retrieved from HealthExec: https://www.healthexec.com/topics/healthcare-economics/hospitals-deeply-impacted-rising-drug-prices

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