Report shows COVID-19 related issues such as drug shortages and staffing issues still remain a top challenge.
ALEXANDRIA (March, 24) –Kit Check, the leading automation vendor in Medication Intelligence™ solutions that bring cost savings, efficiency, and patient safety to hospitals, today released the findings of its eighth annual Hospital Pharmacy Operations Report (HPOR), which surveyed 118 hospital pharmacy professionals in the fourth quarter of 2021. This annual survey selectively surveyed a diverse panel of participants of which 89% have worked in the hospital space for over 10+ years. This year, the survey aimed to address current trends still affecting hospital systems related to COVID-19 as well as gain insight on how to offer better solutions to combat these challenges.
While drug shortages have been an ongoing issue even before COVID-19, it is no surprise 91% of pharmacists agree the pandemic has exacerbated the issue. For the fourth consecutive year, over half of pharmacists rank drug shortages as their number one challenge facing pharmacies. Hospital pharmacies continue to experience year-over year drug shortage increases. For context, the percentage of hospital pharmacies experiencing 10 or more drug shortages increased 14% from 2020.The findings of the survey found COVID-19’s impact to be much more far reaching than just drug shortages and supply issues.
Some standout statistics that the survey include:
- 57% of Hospital Pharmacists reported that each medication shortage typically consumes 3 or more staff hours, adding more pressure to an already strained staff.
- Nearly 1 in 4 IDNs (integrated delivery network) have reduced the services that they offer.
- Over half of hospitals report their ICU’s are more often at capacity.
- The top three tech initiatives that hospitals are looking to take on in 2022 are controlled substance tracking technology, automated dispensing cabinets and IV prep tracking software.
Outside of normal COVID-19 trends, the survey also found drug visibility is still considered a challenge area for most hospitals. Drug diversion continues to be an issue, hospital pharmacists that report it would be “easy” or only “somewhat difficult” to divert opioids increased 30% from last year. This report also found that one in four hospital pharmacists report they are aware of a colleague who has diverted opioids and yet, even with these rates, less than half of hospital pharmacists have a post-diversion response plan in place. This issue is especially problematic in procedural locations such as operating rooms or transfer areas in-between storage and dispensing of drugs. Without full visibility, pharmacies are more susceptible to drug diversion and less prepared to manage drug shortages.
Taking this information and looking ahead to 2022, many new technology initiatives are consistent with the years prior. As hospital pharmacists continue to navigate staffing shortages, many are turning their focus to operational efficiency. While reducing drug spend was the top cost savings initiative in last year’s survey, improving operational efficiency became the number one initiative this year. One area of demand has been inventory management software. Over two-thirds of hospital pharmacists believe software solutions that provide full visibility are helpful to their operational efficiency.
However, the demand for controlled substance tracking has now outpaced automated dispensing cabinets as the number one initiative in 2021. It is projected that within the next two years, 61% of hospital pharmacists will invest more resources to improve controlled substance tracking and diversion analytics.
While the report revealed COVID-19 caused changes in the market landscape, I wasn’t surprised to see drug shortages rank as the top challenge hospital pharmacies are facing for the fourth year in a row”, said Kevin MacDonald, Kit Check CEO and co-founder. “This area continues being a top issue for our customers. As hospital pharmacy staff continue to focus on improving operational efficiency, the demand for technological solutions rises. At Kit Check, we are always up to the challenge and we strive to meet those demands by providing new software solutions and expanding on our products to better help these organizations through any challenges or shortages they may face”.
About Kit Check™
Kit Check® is the leading provider of automated medication tracking and diversion detection solutions for hospital pharmacies in the U.S., bringing visibility, simplicity, and predictability to the complex world of medication supply management. Our groundbreaking Medication Intelligence™ solutions provide item-level visibility, workflow simplicity, and actionable analytics, empowering stakeholders to deliver the right medicine to the right patient at the right time, every time. To date, our more than 800 U.S. and Canadian hospital partners have adopted Kit Check solutions to solve the most challenging of healthcare problems. Kit Check Solutions help providers save time, manage inventory, prevent diversion at their facilities, save money on medication spend, and ensure patient safety. More information about Kit Check and our software solutions can be found at kitcheck.com.