Safety First Blog

Reducing Risk: From Binders to Digital Medication Safety Solutions

Posted by Laura Paxton on Aug 22, 2023 10:05:00 AM
Laura Paxton
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As a healthcare risk management professional, you are responsible for safeguarding patients, healthcare workers, and the facility or system. This protection spans from physical injuries and deaths to costly fines and lasting damages to the hospital’s reputation. That’s a lot of ground to cover. 

One area that can affect all groups listed above is medication safety. From ensuring accurate dosing for patients to guaranteeing healthcare workers' protection, potential hazards loom large—missteps can result in injuries, lawsuits, and fines.

The Digital Transition of Medication Safety

Once upon a time, medication safety guidelines were simply printed and kept in binders throughout healthcare facilities. This manual system was rife with risk, such as outdated data or information inaccessibility at crucial moments.

Drug safety information then evolved to the computer era and was available online - most likely in spreadsheet form on the intranet. While this made updating drug safety information easier and faster, it didn’t always mean it was easily accessible. Nurses, clinicians, and definitely environmental services still face barriers to locating and implementing safety protocols at the point of care or, in the case of environmental services, when they clean up a spill or engage in other disposal activities. 

In addition, the past systems were more prone to medication errors. Over the last decade, concerns also grew about the handling and disposal of hazardous drugs. Regulations like USP <800> were introduced to enhance workplace safety for those encountering hazardous drugs.

Birth of Rpharmy: A Personal Journey to Combat Medication Errors

Our commitment to improving medication safety became deeply personal when John Paxton, COO and Co-Founder of Rpharmy, tragically lost his mother due to a med error. 

In response, we introduced Formweb—a tool designed to safeguard patients from similar errors. Formweb offers pharmacists an all-encompassing medication resource platform. With immediate access to Black Box warnings, REMS, high alerts, and updates on look-alike/sound-alike drugs, it streamlines the compliance process and ensures patient safety.

Another integral product, Rhazdrugs, empowers healthcare professionals with comprehensive information on hazardous drugs. With simple visuals and text, Rhazdrugs quickly and easily communicates the steps nurses, clinicians, environmental services, shipping and handling need to take to protect themselves from the harmful effects of hazardous drugs. 

Kate Farthing, Rpharmy client and Pharmacy Manager at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center, aptly stated, "Information is only as good as its availability and utilization."

With this vital safety information at their fingertips, clinicians and nurses are able to better protect themselves and the patients they care for. Formweb and Rhazdrugs also help meet the documentation and communication requirements of different regulatory bodies reducing the chances of costly fines. 

"I have avoided tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines because I could immediately show the Board of Pharmacy, OSHA, or any other regulatory body that we know how to safely handle and dispose of these products," Farthing said.

Reduce Risk, Improve Safety, Comply with Regulations

Medication safety is one of countless potential risks within a healthcare system. However, it may be one of the few risks that can affect patients and healthcare workers equally. While the key to protecting both groups is comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date medication and safety information, it must be accessible to the right people at the right time.  

Rpharmy can reduce the risk inherent in handling and administering medication, including hazardous drugs. Our Safety First Blog is chock full of valuable information on our solutions, how they’ve helped pharmacies protect patients and healthcare workers while also meeting USP <800> compliance requirements.  

Also, we’ll be at ASHRM23 in October, supporting your efforts to identify and reduce risk within the healthcare industry. Make plans to visit our “Bite Size Theatre” session on Monday, October 2nd at 8:40 a.m. where we’ll share how our cloud-based medication safety solutions can improve safety within your organization and significantly reduce risks associated with the compounding and administration of hazardous drugs. 

Topics: Rhazdrugs, Policy, USP <800>, Formweb

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