MAC Rx in suburban Chicago is one of the busiest institutional pharmacies in the Midwest, covering almost a 5-hour radius from their headquarters. So Miriam Cho, Chief Pharmacy Officer, frequently travels to the multiple LTC facilities that MAC Rx services. That can be uncomfortable; she cannot always be back in the pharmacy, but her PharmD license is.
Using A High-Performance Controlled Substance Management System to Mitigate Human Error
Therefore, she takes a serious look at anything that can fortify her company’s defenses against possible narcotics errors and diversion. That is why Miriam brought in a Kirby Lester KL1 counting device to support MAC Rx’s installation of the large Omnicell AccuFlex automated dose packaging system. Hundreds of oral solid medications (including meds of high value) are stocked in the AccuFlex to fill thousands of patient punch cards per day. Keeping an ongoing, accurate index of medications would have been challenging, indeed, without a tool for pharmacy inventory counting.
With a pharmacy of MAC Rx’s size, it’s a problem of scale. How can the staff efficiently count thousands of tablets and capsules regularly by hand? Human error is at play; hand-counting by 5’s is proven to be 95% accurate at best. Moreover, the time to count huge quantities of pills that are stored in automation like the AccuFlex would be counter-productive or downright expensive when you consider a pharmacist’s and tech’s time.
Miriam calculates the Kirby Lester KL1 is about 80% faster than the tray-and-spatula method – even after performing a double-count with controlled meds. Her staff feels confident that counts are correct.
“If someone has to manually count 1,000 tablets out of a 5,000-count stock bottle, that can take up to 5 minutes. Plus the size of a counting tray is a pain in and of itself. You’re constantly partial-counting, emptying and tabulating,” she says.
Reinforcing the Narcotics Vault & Inventory Accuracy
MAC Rx also uses the Kirby Lester KL1 in the locked narcotics storage cabinet for daily and monthly inventory counts of controlled meds. The time savings from the KL1 tablet counter allows the team to perform inventory even more frequently than required.
“With all the things happening with opioids and diversion, we have been lucky. No problems. But a lot of pharmacies have had diversion internally,” Miriam says. “Being able to count inventory frequently is a built-in deterrent. It raises awareness. There’s tight monitoring and record-keeping.
“If the staff is able to be faster, more efficient, and confident with the inventory accuracy, then we all have a greater peace of mind.”