We know that overdoses quickened their pace in 2020, according to the CDC. The CDC identified over 81,000 drug overdoses in the 12 months ending in May 2020, the highest number ever in a 12-month period. And while those numbers were increasing prior to COVID-19, the latest data indicate the numbers accelerated further during the pandemic.
A host of additional snares have arisen during the past year, but Rose points out that, pandemic or not, patients struggle with three main medication adherence challenges: The patient never takes a prescribed medication at all. This can occur for a number of reasons such as misunderstanding their chronic diagnosis or the need for taking a medication.
It is evident that many underlying causes of flu vaccine–related errors could just as easily lead to errors associated with the new COVID-19 vaccines and the hundreds of millions of doses that will be given. It will be crucial for any healthcare provider who plans to stock and/or administer COVID-19 vaccines to learn from these prior vaccine-related errors, anticipate that similar errors could happen with the COVID-19 vaccines, and take the necessary steps to prepare their facilities and healthcare teams to mitigate the risk of vaccine-related errors.
When deciding on where to place med rec resources, start by looking at where most of your admissions come from. For many hospitals, admissions largely come from planned surgical procedures or the Emergency Department, so these are prime areas in which to consider having a med rec team collect medication histories.
With recent increases in drug overdose deaths in more than 40 states stemming from COVID-19, combined with potential disruption to the pharmaceutical supply chain, it’s not a leap to see that the healthcare industry is facing incredible risks related to drug diversion.
To support the diversion program effort, refer to the controlled substance- and diversion-related requirements with which facilities must comply. Sources of such requirements include the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), DEA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), survey agencies, state regulations, and professional boards.
Occasionally, a “resource” nurse is available to assist in the ICU. However, too often, the resource nurse is tasked with auditing activities to ensure proper nursing documentation rather than assisting with clinical patient care. Subsequently, nurses have been reprimanded for documentation failures and urged to document care they were unable to provide.
On episode 8 of PSQH: The Podcast, host Jay Kumar talks to Tom Knight, CEO of Invistics, about drug diversion and the impact it has on hospitals.
On episode 5 of PSQH: The Podcast, host Jay Kumar talks to Greg Latham, attending anesthesiologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, and Dan Low, chief medical officer of MDmetrix, about the use of AI to reduce opioid use during surgeries to keep pediatric patients safe.
The Porter Research survey commissioned by Invistics found that nine out of 10 surveyed believe their facility’s drug diversion program is the same or even better than other organizations, and two out of three are confident or very confident that their drug diversion program successfully identifies employees who divert drugs. But there is definitely a disconnect, because 70% of participants said they believe most diversion incidents in the U.S. go undetected.