Hospitals are under increasing pressure to improve the quality of patient care while also cutting operational costs. This often results in conflicting responsibilities for the hospital pharmacy. On the one hand, the drive to improve patient outcomes means spending more time on clinical activities. On the other hand, it means tighter control on hospital pharmacy budgets that are already stretched thin from dealing with increasing drug prices and drug shortages.
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These challenges are compounded further by the ongoing need to complete everyday manual tasks like pharmacy kit restocking. St. Rita’s Medical Center felt these impacts acutely. The pharmacists were frustrated because they wanted to spend more time with their patients yet two hours of each shift was spent manually restocking pharmacy kits.
Cutting Labor and Inventory Costs
St. Rita’s discovered that automating manual processes like pharmacy kit restocking could simultaneously cut costs and increase the time available for clinical work. By implementing Kit Check, St. Rita’s cut kit processing time by 76.5%. That is the equivalent of saving 730 man hours per year or gaining more than one-third of an additional pharmacist.
“We just felt like we could use our time in a more clinical manner. We could be out visiting patients or clinical dosing. We needed to free up pharmacist time spent double checking medications and expiration dates.”Lisa Brady, Pharmacy Supervisor, Pharm.D., St. Rita’s Medical Center
But the benefits St. Rita’s gained from implementing Kit Check went beyond time -savings. The solution also enabled St. Rita’s to track kitted medications across the hospital by improving its kit location accuracy. In the past, kit location information was inconsistent. That meant retrieving drugs that were recalled or nearing expiration involved a physical search and validation process because very often the kit that was needed wasn’t where it was supposed to be.
The improved location accuracy turned out to be more than just a convenience. In addition to saving staff time, the Kit Check Expiring Soon report enables St. Rita’s to identify kit medications in the hospital that will be expiring within the next 30 days. This reduces medication waste because the hospital pharmacy staff can easily retrieve and reallocate these medications to other areas of the hospital where there is an immediate need. This report coupled with the saved labor costs for restocking and retrieving medications led the hospital to a 75% ROI in just the first year with a projected ROI of 90% over seven years.
Eliminating the Pharmacist Double Check
The majority of St. Rita’s labor savings came from eliminating the pharmacist double-check previously used to verify the accuracy of restocked kits. The Ohio State Board of Pharmacy approved the use of Kit Check’s automated verification in place of the pharmacist verification. Eliminating this step has led to tremendous labor savings for other hospitals as well. New York Methodist was able to completely eliminate the need for a pharmacist to check its trays and allocated the entire process to pharmacy technicians. This translated into huge savings for the hospital, resulting in a 100% ROI in just six weeks after implementing Kit Check.
A Proven Solution for Time Savings and Improved Accuracy
Hospital pharmacists are highly trained and highly compensated employees. Their time is better spent on clinical activities than on repetitive manual processes like pharmacy kit restocking. By automating these manual processes, hospital pharmacies can capture substantial savings today and improve the accuracy of their kit contents. Brigham and Women’s Hospital reported in 2015 that it had tracked over 240,000 kit medications without a single error by using Kit Check. Scripps Health and Salinas Valley have also reported zero kit stocking errors since implementing Kit Check. An independent, peer-reviewed pharmacy journal study confirms that the time and cost savings experienced at St. Rita’s and New York Methodist are the norm. The study reported that $4.20 to $9.30 can be saved per kit restocked by using Kit Check.
Pharmacists at St. Rita’s are now spending more time with their patients and less time on tedious manual processes. “We just felt like we could use our time in a more clinical manner. We could be out visiting patients or clinical dosing. We needed to free up pharmacist time spent double checking medications and expiration dates…We were excited to see the Kit Check video and that is pretty much how it works,” said Pharmacy Supervisor Lisa Brady, PharmD.