Topics: USP <800>
It seems that you can't turn on the news without hearing about the next wave of COVID-19 that will soon travel across the U.S. Numbers are rising across the nation and there is again a great focus on the capacity of hospital systems to diagnose and treat sick patients, as well as maintain capacity for everyday operations outside of coronavirus care.
While much of the discussion is on the ability to care for the increase in patients, we can't help but focus on the safety of healthcare workers as well.
A shocking 8 million U.S. healthcare workers are potentially exposed to hazardous drugs (HDs) each year according to the CDC. In fact, a report in Pharmacy Times states, “compared with any other occupational setting, the health care setting uses the largest and most diverse array of agents that are hazardous to humans.” Not only are they exposed to a variety of hazardous agents every day, the effects may be compounded over the decades of their career.
Rpharmy is raising the bar in USP 800 compliance with Rhazdrugs, a searchable hazardous drugs database accessible at the point of care improving visibility, frontline healthcare staff safety, and compliance with regulations including USP 800.
Several months ago, in this same space, one of our clients shared her perspective around USP <800>. She discussed the complexity of managing the volumes of critical safety information and the continuous influx of updates, additions and changes. We felt it was a topic worth revisiting as we continue the conversation around the relationship between the cost and benefits of Rpharmy’s Rhazdrugs software.
There is excellent information in the public domain regarding USP <800>. We have compiled a list of frequently used links we see on our FormWeb and Rhazdrugs software customers. We hope that these sites might be useful.
I am so grateful to Angie for being our guest blogger last week and introducing a very important topic – USP <800> compliance.
I realize I am giving away my age, but I am part of a generation that still remembers driving around in a car without seatbelts. Our moms would reach across the front seat and hold you in your seat with her arm. We would slide across the back seat with your brothers and sisters on sharp turns. Then we got lap belts that gave way to three-point seat belts and airbags. And we resisted seatbelts at first, but now we feel unsafe without them.
In the healthcare world we have been using and handling these potentially hazardous medications for years without a seatbelt, so to speak. So why now do we have USP <800>? Because like the invention of seatbelts, we now know better and we can do better. And it’s an enforceable regulation.
There are a lot of ways for organizations to be compliant with USP <800>. An organization can please the inspectors and check the boxes or they can please the inspectors and check the box AND keep their employees safe. It is a choice. Many of the requirements for USP <800> can be met by placing binders and notebooks on shelves in a central location hoping they will be accessed. But wouldn’t it be so much better for everyone if this valuable safety information was accessible to employees at the point of care? That’s where Rhazdrugs comes in.
Rhazdrugs is a comprehensive list of hazardous drugs and a database that communicates hazardous drug disposal and handling to ensure healthcare worker safety across your entire organization. Hospital, pharmacy, veterinary clinic, skilled nursing facility – wherever it may be, Rhazdrugs provides critical information and much needed peace of mind so that healthcare workers can remain focused on their patients.
In my family we have three doctors, five nurses, and others who are employed in the healthcare sector. We are working hard to do our part to keep our loved ones informed and safe from harm. And we want to help you and your organizations to do the same.
Today’s guest blogger is Angie Choiniere, a healthcare consultant specializing in Compliance, Risk and USP <800>. She is also a long time Rpharmy software user.
I am a both a proponent and user of Rpharmy’s suite of software products. In particular, I had the good fortune to be a part of the development of Rhazdrugs while working with Ochsner Health in Louisiana. But before I tell you why I am such a fan, I think it’s important to set some context as to why this type of software is so critical in healthcare today.
The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) is a non-profit organization that is focused on improving global health through public standards and programs to ensure the quality, safety, and benefit of medicine and food. To date, much of the work of the USP has been focused on pharmacies themselves, ensuring strength, quality and purity of medicines as well as providing regulations for things like compounding, and labeling. The first practice and quality standards that protect the safety of healthcare personnel from exposure became effective December 1, 2019 with USP Chapter <800>, an enforceable regulation that focuses on all healthcare personnel and entities that receive, store, compound, dispense, transport or administer hazardous drugs.
All day, every day, healthcare workers are exposed to drugs that are hazardous to their health. It is part of the job. But with USP <800> compliance, entities can minimize the risk and exposure through information, engineering controls, work practice changes, education and training. In an effort to be compliant, I have seen organizations with massive spreadsheets, War and Peace-sized three ring binders, and all methods of attempting to keep relevant information in a single, accessible place. If you are a nurse working with a patient, you don’t have time to flip through reams of paper. You need information fast and you need that information written in clear, easy to understand language.
I was already working with Rpharmy, using their formulary product, when they came to me with their idea for a central, easy to access system for access, storage and maintenance of the information needed to support being USP <800> compliant, including cataloging exceptions through Assessments of Risk. Not only that, but it could be used by all measure of healthcare workers and providers, from pharmacies to hospitals and even veterinary clinics. I was honored to provide feedback and input as part of the development of the software.
Today, that idea is up and running as Rhazdrugs. The software is pure genius and easily the industry standard. Hospitals and healthcare facilities do not have the financial or human resources to create this type of program themselves. If your facility is not yet USP <800> compliant or if your teams are tired of having to search for the information they need, call Rpharmy and ask about Rhazdrugs. It will be the best phone call you make today.