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St. Rita’s Medical Center Wins Bronze LEAP Award for Combining Lean Innovations and Kit Check to Reduce Waste and Improve Staff Efficiency

by Doug Zurawski

Having worked intimately with almost 300 hospitals to implement Kit Check, we humbly believe that all our customers are innovators but it is great when other industry thought leaders recognize our customers’ innovation as well. On Sunday at #ASHP16, the 7th Annual Baxter Leadership Excellence Awards in Pharmacy (LEAP) committee recognized St. Rita’s Medical Center in Ohio with the Bronze Award for Lean Pharmacy Management for their use of lean principles and Kit Check to improve their crash cart processes to reduce waste and improve efficiency.

St. Rita Pharmacy Team

Improving Efficiency, Reducing Waste, Eliminating Expired Supplies and Enhancing Security of Crash Carts

St. Rita’s submission titled “Utilizing Lean Methodology and Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID) to Improve the Hospital Crash Cart Process” details how Pharmacy assembled a cross functional team including a Lean Black Belt and representatives from Nursing and Central Supply to address three main issues:

  • Decrease the time spent by technicians replacing trays and decrease medication waste by allowing medications to remain on the units for a longer period to increase the potential they would be used before expiring.
  • Eliminate the incidence of outdated non-drug supplies being left in the crash carts for extended periods of time.
  • Improve security and tracking of crash drugs to reduce risk.

Lean Principles and RFID Kit Processing Go Hand-in-hand

Using lean principles and Kit Check, Pharmacy accomplished all three goals in a very aggressive timeframe. Kit Check Analytics allowed Pharmacy to reduce their timeframe for pulling expiring crash carts from 30 days to just 7 days which decreased the number of drugs that were thrown away before they expired. In addition, Pharmacy Technicians knew exactly which trays needed to be swapped before they even left the Pharmacy thus eliminating an additional trip from the old process. Lean process improvements eliminated outdated non-drug supplies managed by Central Supply by leveraging existing unit checks conducted by Nursing and security was greatly improved through the implementation of a thoughtful kit level lock strategy.

“The Lean methodology and Kit Check are a perfect combination for driving efficiency and reducing waste. The real-time visibility Kit Check provides gives us the confidence to leave our crash carts out longer and our Technicians know exactly what work needs to be done before they even leave the Pharmacy. Thus, we reduced the amount of time our team had to process Crash Carts, we threw away fewer expired drugs reducing our overall drug spend and we continued to maintain compliance with Joint Commission standards.” – Lisa Brady, Pharmacy Department Supervisor

Photo by vilipix / CC BY 4.0Photo by vilipix / CC BY 4.0

Challenges with Change Management

The change in process wasn’t without its challenges, however. Staff education was the main hurdle to overcome. Technicians needed to be trained on the new workflow and on how to use Kit Check to track which carts needed to be processed. Kit Check’s ease of use, however, allowed Pharmacy staff to quickly get up to speed. The change also created some initial challenges for Nursing but having received solid training, Pharmacy Technicians provided the support/guidance the Nursing staff needed to adjust quickly.

“Kit Check is really easy to use but the reports/analytics weren’t tools the Pharmacy Technicians had previously leveraged on a day-to-day basis. However, with only a couple of minutes of training you could see the ‘light bulbs’ come on. Our Pharmacists loved Kit Check from the beginning because it eliminated their need to check every tray that went out of the pharmacy. With this new initiative, our Pharmacy Technicians walked away with a newfound appreciation for how Kit Check was helping make their jobs easier.” – Amber Walker, Clinical Pharmacist

What’s Next?

With the success of this initial project, St. Rita’s is looking for additional ways to improve efficiency and reduce waste. Top of the list… leveraging Kit Check’s Advanced Segment Optimization Analytics to identify how they can reduce par levels or eliminate certain drugs based on historical usage to further reduce waste, lower inventory requirements and improve staff efficiency.

Interested in learning more about how Kit Check can help your team achieve similar benefits? Ready to take the “leap” into tomorrow with the leader in / inventor of RFID kit management and join the largest community of practice? Contact Us.

About

The Baxter Healthcare Corporation LEAP awards program “recognizes outstanding leadership excellence within various disciplines in pharmacy management and daily practice. Judges are looking for best demonstrated practices and case study submissions that have improved pharmacy work flow processes, efficiencies and outcomes in daily practice.”

St. Rita’s Medical Center, a 415-bed accredited hospital, was founded in 1918 by the Sisters of Mercy and is part of the larger Mercy Health system. Located in Lima, Ohio, St. Rita’s “comprehensive high-quality medical services include The Henry & Beverly Hawk Vascular & Heart Center at St. Rita’s, St. Rita’s Orthopedic Care Center, trauma and emergency, cancer treatment, women’s health, mother/baby, pediatrics, sports medicine and rehabilitation, addiction and behavioral services.”

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