Network Medication Safety Officer, Jessalynn Henney, PharmD, helped us answer some of the most daunting questions related to the safety and security of storing and handling refrigerated medications. There is a wide range of technology to manage, track and secure medications stored at ambient temperatures, but not until recently was this technology available for refrigerated medications. Because of this, hospitals and other healthcare facilities have found it challenging to safely and securely store, dispense, and monitor refrigerated medications.
During our interview with Dr. Henney, we asked her the following questions relating to refrigerated medication storage:
- What are some of the factors influencing dispensing errors?
- How does using automated dispensing benefit the health system?
- Could you please explain the difference between LASA medications and look alike packaging?
- Can you provide a few examples of potential medication errors that are seen in practice?
- How can facilities reduce risk of errors affiliated with medications considered LASA or look alike packaging?
- What refrigerated medications would have the biggest impact on medication management if stored in refrigerated, segregated bins?
- How can facilities ensure these specific drugs are stored safely?
- How can facilities reduce errors around these refrigerated drugs?
Pharmacy leaders have a major impact on improving refrigerated medication management. Leaders should be inquisitive and ask questions, observe the actual management process, and utilize data and outside resources to find gaps in their refrigerated medication storage and dispensing process.
Leaders need to start with a plan, understand current state, how refrigerated medications are organized, what human factors play a role, and what technology is available to mitigate risk for safer and more secure storage and dispensing of refrigerated medications.
While many facilities have discrete, locked lidded bins for medications stored at room temperature, this strategy has not been implemented for medications requiring refrigerated storage. Dr. Heeney recommends reviewing the types of medications stored at refrigerated temperatures and ensuring safety strategies are put into place for these medications. Refrigerated medications having any of these three factors (safety, cost, and clinical value) should be given extra attention when it comes to storage and organization within the refrigerator.
Other Blogs You Might Be Interested In...
- A Medication Safety Officer’s Perspective on Safely Managing Refrigerated Medications: Week One
- A Medication Safety Officer’s Perspective on Safely Managing Refrigerated Medications: Week Two
- A Medication Safety Officer’s Perspective on Safely Managing Refrigerated Medications: Week Three
- A Medication Safety Officer’s Perspective on Safely Managing Refrigerated Medications: Week Four
- A Medication Safety Officer’s Perspective on Safely Managing Refrigerated Medications: Week Five
When it comes to refrigerated medications, it is a bit more complex to gain security and control. New technology is now available to store refrigerated medications in locked bins vs. open shelving. Refrigerated drugs including neuromuscular blockers, antibiotics, biologics, chemotherapy, emergency medications, antidotes, insulin, and vaccines can be stored safely and securely closer to point of care with this technology.