The North York General Hospital (NYGH) oncology pharmacy team prepares over 650 precisely measured doses of chemotherapy per month. The team is under time pressure, because delays in the care of a single patient causes ripple effects to all subsequent patients in the day. At the same time, the team cannot afford to make errors lest patients receive the incorrect drug, dose, etc.
One key challenge is how doses are double-checked for accuracy. In the past, pharmacists used a video-camera to remotely verify doses when asked by technicians in the clean room. This not only interrupted pharmacists who were reviewing other patient’s orders (a potential patient safety risk), but also delayed pharmacy technicians who waited for the pharmacists. This video-check also left no visual record of what was measured, so audits of the paper trail could not provide details on what was actually done.
Recently, the NYGH pharmacy team adopted a new compounding workflow technology, and our research team collected direct observational data before and after the change. This new system verifies that drug is correct with barcoding, verifies the dose by measuring syringe weight, and captures photographs of key stages of the process for audit purposes. Our team quantified improvements in safety before and after implementation of the new system. Pharmacy technicians and pharmacists now work more independently (fewer interruptions), and with better assurances of accuracy and safety. This is to the benefit of patients, and the pharmacy team itself.