Hospital Pharmacy Operations Report Shows Half of All Hospitals Have Experienced Drug Diversion in the Last Six Months and Points to Lack of Visibility, Tools and Resources

  • Kit Check’s State of Hospital Pharmacy Operations data helps
    pharmacy leaders gain insight into drug management, shortages, recalls
    and diversion within the hospital
  • More than two-thirds of respondents say that ten or more
    medications are on shortage within their organization

, the leader in automated medication management solutions for
hospitals, today announced the findings of its 2018
Hospital Pharmacy Operations Report
, which surveyed pharmacy leaders
affiliated with over 1,000 hospitals across the United States. The
findings are published on the heels of a recent analysis of 1 million
controlled substance cases which was executed utilizing Kit Check’s
artificial intelligence solution for drug diversion, Bluesight for
Controlled Substances. The findings of that extensive audit uncovered
discrepancies in 12% of all controlled substance cases and point to
major issues related to governance and dispensing of highly addictive
medications, including opioids, within hospitals. Elucidating on the
audit findings, Kit Check’s hospital pharmacy survey shines light on
various challenges within the hospital, including drug diversion.

According to Kit Check’s survey, 47 percent of respondents report having
a confirmed diversion event in the past six months, while 80 percent say
at least one has occurred in the past two years. Adding to this, more
than 35 percent of respondents say that they still do not have a
diversion response plan in place and 45 percent of respondents say the
diversion event was identified by manual investigation efforts. A single
high-profile diversion event can cause significant reputational damage
for a hospital, put patients at risk, and incur substantial fines from
the DEA. Most hospitals are only able to audit around five percent of
controlled substance dispensing and administration pairs due to a lack
of resources required for manual auditing.

“Diversion within a hospital is a tough problem to solve. Most medical
professionals that decide to steal drugs are masters at covering their
own tracks and few hospitals have the money, time, or staff to manually
audit what generally equates to reams of data. This leads to a diversion
gap that allows abusers to slip through the cracks,” said Kevin
MacDonald, co-founder and CEO of Kit Check. “This is why we are working
to perfect Bluesight for Controlled Substances, a real breakthrough in
diversion detection and control that can identify diverters within a
matter of days using AI and pattern recognition to find anomalous
behaviors. We want to empower 100 percent auditing of controlled
substances in hospitals through AI and automation, so that we can stop
the scourge of theft that ultimately results in addiction and or threats
to patient safety.”

Hospital pharmacies are responsible for stewarding the controlled
substances used in their facilities, but most lack the necessary tools
to manage the process or provide adequate visibility. As a result, the
reality today is manual intervention, incomplete audits, and undetected
diversion. In fact, nearly half (48%) of those surveyed said that their
pharmacy is spending anywhere between an additional 5-20 hours per week
identifying and resolving discrepancies related to controlled substances
administered in the operating room and the nursing floor—valuable time
that could be focused on patient care.

In addition to diversion, other challenges uncovered include:

  • Lack of Drugs Needed for Care: Over 70 percent of hospital
    pharmacy professionals report that 10 or more medications are
    currently on shortage. Every hospital reported at least one shortage
    and one-third have more than 20 individual drugs on their list. The
    survey showed that finding, purchasing and sourcing alternate
    medications and informing clinical staff of the lack of medication are
    the most time-consuming aspects of the rampant drug shortage they are
  • Drug Recalls Continue to Pile On Unplanned Downtime: The
    average recall consumes over 10 hours of staff time per incident, and
    32 percent of respondents stated 4-6 recalls impact their pharmacy
    each year. All of this leads to an additional 70 hours of work
    annually. Most pharmacies can absorb this extra work, but recalls are
    one of many unplanned events like drug shortages that chip away at
    staff time and make it harder to balance the need for both dispensing
    activities and clinical support.

Kit Check’s Hospital Pharmacy Operations Report respondents include a
variety of medical professionals involved in hospitals’ pharmacy.
Specifically, two-thirds of survey respondents had more than 10 years of
pharmacy experience, and almost half had greater than 20 years. Most
survey respondents (75%) were Directors of Pharmacy (DoP), while the
remaining respondents comprised managers, associate directors, and
senior directors, or held other senior roles.

“Given that I’ve spent almost five decades arresting drug diverters, it
is not surprising to see this research pointing to such widespread
challenges with theft in hospitals,” said John Burke, president and
co-founder of the International Health Facility Diversion Association
(IHFDA). “That said, amidst the national opioid epidemic, and with the
onus of stewardship being placed increasingly onto the shoulders of
providers, drug diversion must be made a top priority in our hospitals.”

To learn more about the current state of hospital pharmacy leaders, the
full Hospital Pharmacy Operations Report can be found here.

About Kit Check
Kit Check is the leading provider of
automated medication management solutions for hospital pharmacies. Our
solutions blend powerful machine learning and advanced tracking
technology to streamline medication inventory, workflow, and auditing
processes and help hospital pharmacies cut costs, reduce risk, and get
more done. To date, our more than 400 U.S. and Canadian hospital
partners have tracked over 50 million medications using the Kit Check
and Bluesight™ for Controlled Substances software.

More information about Kit Check and our software solutions can be found


Meredith Krim

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