Pharmacy automation and technology are critical to managing pharmacy inventory and can improve health systems’ bottom lines, but hospitals need more refined tools, according to an industry report released August 10, 2011, by the health research firm KLAS.
The analysis found that most providers use central pharmacy automation software as their primary inventory management tool, and many have realized dramatic savings by switching from manual to automated tracking. “Providers doing enterprise inventory management report it strengthens their buying power and allows them to further consolidate inventory and reduce waste,” the authors wrote.
Despite the noted benefits, however, providers consistently expressed dissatisfaction with the available systems’ performance in 3 key areas: formulary database integration, tracking medication expiration dates and lot numbers, and reporting. Technology vendors should focus on designing integrated solutions to meet these needs, according to the report.
“Automation may not be able to solve all problems,” said lead author Coray Tate, “but it can be a big part of the solution and needs to do better.”