People who work in the manufacturing industry may have more experience with supply chain management, but healthcare systems’ supply chains are a matter of life and death, especially when drug diversion prevention programs aren’t implemented across the whole system.
Most health systems have very complex supply chains for controlled substances, expensive oncology drugs…even drugs in the headlines, such as COVID-19 therapies. All are vulnerable to theft at most of the links in the healthcare supply chain, not just patient care.<
The U.S. Government Accountability Office recognized this threat in its January, 2020 report to the congressional committees.” Although prescription drugs are intended for legitimate medical uses, the prescription drug supply chain may present opportunities for drugs to be averted and abused.”
Considerations for your drug diversion program
Does your team have a strategy for drug diversion prevention and monitoring?
If not, you need to begin now. This study, including data from other hospitals, will help you understand the scope of the problem and see how other organizations are addressing drug diversion prevention.
Does that strategy address cross-functional departments other than patient care?
Healthcare organizations are starting to realize that data from Automated Dispensing Cabinets (ADCs) and Electronic Health Records (EHRs) give just a sliver of the big picture. Information from systems in the pharmacy department, purchasing, billing, employee time systems, and more can provide valuable intelligence on the movement of controlled substances through the organization, exposing possible diversion incidents that might not otherwise be discovered.
Does your organization have effective processes for gathering the complicated reporting mandated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) or other regulators?
For so many organizations, this is one of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks associated with controlled substances. Some records are on paper; others are locked in departmental systems that don’t share data with one another. Automating reports so that DEA and other regulatory boards’ reporting is simplified and faster may be one of the organization’s biggest wins, especially initially.
Do your diversion specialists spend a lot of time reviewing reports from various systems, and when diversion incidents are discovered, they are weeks to months old?
This is the main issue with relying on ADCs for drug diversion intelligence. While ADC reports flag possible issues, it’s likely after diversion has occurred and is dependent on data as much as four weeks old. Moreover, it is fairly easy for someone who is diverting to avoid detection on these reports, e.g., by spreading their diversion across multiple medications, dosage forms, strengths, and/or locations.
The bottom line is drug movements, from the time your organization receives controlled substances until they are used, wasted, or returned, create vulnerabilities that can only be discovered by solutions that surface high-risk scenarios for immediate investigation. To do that, you need a drug diversion prevention program that spans the whole system, uses machine learning to sift through mountains of data for potential drug diversion incidents, and integrates data from various disparate systems from every link in the supply chain.
To learn more about Sentri7 Drug Diversion, visit our solution page.