Safety First Blog

Top 5 Reasons USP <800> Is Important to Your Health

Posted by Laura Paxton on Feb 3, 2021 1:02:25 PM
Laura Paxton
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The USP <800> isn’t just another standard meant to make healthcare organizations scramble and comply; it actually provides benefits that protect the health of your staff. Here are the top five ways USP <800> is good for your health: 

  1. The Healthcare Worker is Protected from Harm.
    At its very core, USP <800> is focused on protecting the healthcare worker where other mandates protect the patient. When you consider that the CDC says a shocking 8 million U.S. healthcare workers are potentially exposed to hazardous drugs (HDs) each year, these standards are long overdue.
  2. We Now have Clear Methods for Protecting the Healthcare Worker.
    USP <800> lays out HD programs that healthcare organizations need to put into place to protect all healthcare workers - which includes anyone that receives, prepares, administers, or handles the drugs.

    For example, in the receiving of HDs one of the USP <800> guidelines requires healthcare organizations to designate and identify an area for the sole purpose of  unpacking all HD products. Also, employees must be alerted to the risk of exposure to HD residue through signage in this area. The guideline goes on to outline specific supplies in the receiving area, labeling instructions, PPE to be worn when unpacking HDs, and more.

    These specific instructions take the guesswork out of all of the specific procedures needed to protect healthcare workers who handle HDs.

  3. The Healthcare System Itself Is Protected
    While the USP does not enforce its standards, OSHA, the Joint Commission and state agencies can enforce the guidelines laid out in USP <800>. Failure to comply could lead to fines and sanctions. By protecting the healthcare worker, the larger organization is also safeguarded against risk and litigation.   

  4. A Human Approach to Protecting Healthcare Workers.
    There are three levels of care:

    1.  Technical - Terms and language that can confuse healthcare workers attempting to comply.
    2.  Documentation - “Read this three-ring binder, check it off the list and let’s move on.”
    3.  Human Approach - USP <800> requires organizations to put programs into practice to protect healthcare workers, and afterwards    their methods are assessed. 

  5.  Actionable, Searchable Information Must Be Accessible
    The USP <800> requires healthcare organizations to create an HD communication plan that makes available HD information to all healthcare workers who in some way interact with HDs. The communication plan must include the HD inventory, the responsibilities of the workers who handle HDs, requirements for labeling drugs, training requirements, and much more. It can be presented in hard and digital formats on an intranet, multiple spreadsheets and documents, as well as binders with printed information. It also must be available in all workplaces where HDs are handled.

    Digital, searchable HD databases like RPharmy’s Rhazdrugs present this important information where healthcare workers can easily access it, like in their EHR, which can drastically reduce the risk of hazardous exposure to healthcare workers. 

Bottom Line: Maintaining USP <800> compliance contributes to the health and well-being of your healthcare workers while also reducing the legal risk of your organization.

To learn more, check out our blog The Human Cost of Not Going Beyond USP 800 Compliance. We’re always here to answer your USP <800> compliance questions. 


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

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