Part 1 of this drug diversion blog series focused on the ways healthcare workers gain access to and redirect controlled substances. Part 2 explored the actions hospitals are taking to address the problem. Part 3 examined why some hospitals may be slow to act, and what happens when their response is delayed. In this blog post, we’re taking a closer look at how hospitals are using technology to help detect drug diversion.
Given that many health systems still rely on a largely manual approach to detect occurrences of drug diversion, there is a demonstrated need for effective technology solutions to make the process more efficient. Currently, diversion detection teams at many health systems pull spreadsheet data from multiple systems and undergo time-consuming reconciliation processes such as comparing individual line items to detect discrepancies. When the need for an investigation is identified, several more weeks may be required for staff to comb through historical data looking for patterns. The amount of time it takes to monitor and investigate incidents of drug diversion is a major pain point across the healthcare industry. This is especially true for pharmacy and compliance teams charged with pulling data from disparate sources and manually aligning the information to support any resulting investigations.
Technology solutions provide early warning
Healthcare systems are now turning to technology to manage diversion surveillance by tracking patterns in HCW documentation and medication dispensation and administration reports that can uncover signs of drug diversion. These software tools speed up monitoring and detection processes by allowing timely review of data. The focus of these technology solutions varies based on the expertise of the companies that create them. Some have a background in information security, while others have experience with automated dispensing cabinet (ADC) systems.
Our unique expertise allows us to take a different approach. LogicStream Health’s clinical process improvement platform helps clinical teams drive standardization and high reliability in order to improve quality and safety while reducing costs. We do that by providing visibility into medication procurement, utilization, movement, dispensation, administration and wasting across the clinical continuum. Our clinical process improvement platform and The Drug Shortage App are already being used by hundreds of hospitals around the country. These products deliver valuable insights into some of the most pressing problems that clinical teams face, such as drug shortages and more.
Automated assessment and notification
How are we applying that approach to the problem of drug diversion? LogicStream Health’s solutions can integrate disparate sources of data in near-real-time from multiple technology platforms within a hospital system, including the electronic health record (EHR) system, automated dispensing cabinets, narcotic storage systems, and more. The Drug Diversion App from LogicStream Health™ uses this data to synthesize an assessment of identified signals that highlight potential risk and problem areas including active surveillance of drug ordering, dispensation, administration and wasting activities, and documentation anomalies.
Automated notifications provided by The Drug Diversion App such as alerting health system diversion teams to signals indicating potential risk for diversion are the key. By identifying early warning signs of diversion or irregularities in practice, The App enables hospital systems to respond quickly and determine the need for intervention rather than waiting for the time-consuming reconciliation of ‘old’ data.
When an investigation is warranted, The App facilitates efficient task management and reporting of the process. The App serves as an ‘all-in-one’ diversion monitoring tool for efficient collaboration and communication across distributed health system teams, including views for comparison and benchmarking investigative tools that allow for collaboration across departments and clear roles for follow-up, tracking, archiving, and escalation of investigations.
To find out how The App can help you better manage the problem of drug diversion, visit The Drug Diversion App from LogicStream Health™ page on our website, where you can request an online preview.
About the Author
Patrick developed a passion for innovation re-engineering bicycles to better suit the needs of childhood. He started his career in medical research, then as a Clinical Pharmacist and an Informatician. He developed experience leading innovative teams at Wolters Kluwer Health as the Vice President of Informatics and Clinical Development. There he spearheaded the creation of a solution that established the company as the recognized leader in the market within four years. He also led the informatics team at Hennepin County Medical Center before co-founding LogicStream Health.