The Future of Pharmacy Medication Kit Storage

DECEMBER 11, 2014
Did you know that one of the Joint Commission’s most common citations for noncompliance is Medication Storage?

Data from 2011 showed noncompliance in this area is 33%. Keeping up with proper medication storage and removing expired medications are critical for hospitals seeking accreditation from the Joint Commission. In addition, drug shortages and recalls have complicated maintaining medication kits in the hospital setting.
 
If only there were technology that could improve efficiency in the pharmacy and maintain proper medication storage, yet reduce medication errors.
 
Good news! Our request for new technology has become a reality. Let me introduce you to Kit Check.
 
Kit Check applies technology to automate hospital pharmacy kit restocking, which increases efficiency and accuracy. In addition, Kit Check helps the pharmacy cut costs while ensuring patient safety. Cutting costs is possible because this technology brings what usually takes 30 minutes to check a kit down to 3 minutes. That is a 90% reduction in time. In addition, hospitals are seeing a savings of about $4.00 per item.
 
Kit Check uses cloud software and radio frequency identification to identify medications that need to be restocked or are nearing their expiration date. Scanning the medication kit only takes 5 seconds and the touch of a button.
 
The pharmacy technician can restock the kit, place it back in the station, and then rescan it for accuracy. The scan station will show stocking errors, if any. The second scan serves as a double check by the pharmacy technician, bypassing the need for a pharmacist’s verification. The technician can then print the screen, which generates the charge sheet. This process also eliminates the need to manually record the expiration dates of the medications. In other words, Kit Check virtually eliminates the chance for human error and removes the need to hand check each tray twice.
 
Bypassing the need for a pharmacist’s verification allows the pharmacist to spend his/her time performing clinical duties such as antibiotic dosing, medication reconciliation, aiding in the transition of care, and counseling patients at discharge.
 
Kit Check can also locate a specific recalled medication by searching the NDC and lot number, versus having to locate the medication manually.
 
As a previous pharmacy director, I have overseen pharmacy operating systems. I understand what the process of restocking medication kits entails. It is time-consuming and can lead to errors and even adverse drug events.
 
If you are not convinced yet, the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) presented its results at the 2013 ASHP Midyear Conference. The results indicated that processes such as pharmacy kit and tray restocking, especially at a high volume, are prone to errors. The results showed 1000 medication-stocking errors annually, with a rate of 250 errors per 5000 pharmacy trays processed. According to the UMMC presentation, errors fell to near 0 with the use of Kit Check. 

Anyssa Garza
Anyssa Garza
Anyssa Garza received her PharmD degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She was later recognized for her research contributions in the area of alcohol dependence. She went on to act as director of pharmacy for a Central Texas Department of Aging and Disability facility where she provided care for underserved patients. Dr. Garza is currently working as the director of Life Sciences Library at RxWiki, where she continues to build on the fundamental belief that providing patients with medication information contributes significantly to the quality of care they receive and improves health outcomes through medication adherence. Dr. Garza’s work focuses on providing patients with the resources needed to navigate the overwhelming and complex health system and care issues.
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