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Reducing Refrigerated Medication Errors with New Technology

Posted on Aug 23, 2019 by Miranda Schroeder

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:

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.

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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.

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Miranda Schroeder

Written by Miranda Schroeder

Helmer designs, manufactures, and sells reliable medical-grade refrigeration. Miranda specializes in the pharmacy segment in regards to proper cold storage for refrigerated and frozen medications and vaccines.

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