Medication safety and security are critical in healthcare – but the scope goes far beyond hospitals and community pharmacies. Surgery centers, veterinary clinics, behavioral health clinics, and long-term care (LTC) facilities frequently rely on access to sensitive and controlled medications. However, these non-acute environments often use outdated manual storage processes, which increases the risk of missing doses, drug diversion, DEA audits, and a misstep that can lead to a myriad of consequences.
Case in point, the DEA recently issued a safety alert warning the public about the increased trafficking of xylazine-laced fentanyl. The DEA states that 23% of fentanyl powder and 7% of fentanyl pills seized in 2022 were laced with xylazine (a common euthanasia medication used by veterinary clinics). Concerns nationwide about medication security from every angle only heighten the exposure of care facilities that don’t keep a tight lid on their onsite controlled medications.
With scrutiny so high, the need for improved medication management systems has become even more urgent. Innovative products such as Capsa’s NexsysADC Automated Dispensing Cabinets (ADC) are one solution that improves workflows, protects against diversion, and promotes medication safety and compliance in non-acute settings.
The Challenges of Medication Loss and Diversion
Almost all facilities take steps to prevent medication diversion, yet industry norms and budget constraints often hinder non-acute care facilities from fully immersing themselves in available technological safeguards. They follow the minimum standards their state or pharmacy board sets and use manual systems to physically store narcotics. The non-tech approach, however, makes it harder to track activity and inventory and exposes security gaps. So, when a discrepancy surfaces or an audit occurs, facilities with manual procedures and incomplete paperwork are often left scrambling and digging for backup data – if it can be found.
On rare occasions, a lax security protocol can lead to an internal diversion of doses (e.g., underdosing, “wasting,” or back-count alteration). These are not the norm, but they can and do happen in an atmosphere without oversight.
Locked closets with a shared key or mobile “tackle boxes” are easier to breach compared to electronically safeguarded systems. These systems employ numerous carefully designed defenses, such as biometric scanners, cloud-based inventory software, and single-dose access to deter unauthorized entry.
Outdated Storage Processes
Manual processes and paper records are often time-honored, unchallenged, and require minimal financial resources. However, these status quo processes lack security and can be the root of an audit nightmare.
There can be many obstacles with paper records, especially in medication management. While easy to maintain, there is little to mandate that all fields are completed accurately, which would challenge future audits. Paper records are also error-prone and time-consuming. They can also be falsified and may contribute to an environment that encourages cutting corners and work-around procedures.
Manual drug inventory has many challenges. Expired medications are often not flagged in time for efficient replacement. Physical counts are subject to human error and are tedious and often put off or only performed when mandated by regulations. Additionally, pre-ordering cannot be automated to prevent under- or over-stocking, which can disrupt cash flow.
The Superiority of NexsysADC
Compared to an all-manual process, an automated dispensing system is superior in every aspect; controlling individualized access to medications, ensuring doses are onsite when needed, discouraging diversion, managing all paperwork electronically, and giving management 24/7 visibility and oversight.
Ideal for non-acute settings like veterinary, behavioral health, senior care, and surgery centers, NexsysADC offers remote medication control and oversight. With enhanced security and automated dispensing, clinics, surgery centers, and care facilities gain tighter inventory control, reduced costs, and streamlined billing. All with technology that’s designed with non-acute budgets in mind.
Photo caption: NexsysADC is an assurance against diversion, out-of-stock, expiration, and staff inefficiency, available in countertop size (left) or main cabinet.
The NexsysADC main cabinet, and the countertop version NexsysADC 4T, tracks each medication and interaction from biometric scan sign-in to sign-out. Controlled Access Modules (CAMs) allow you to automate high-value or controlled drug doses or stock bottles within individual locked cells.
Each cabinet is HIPAA-compliant and uses cloud-based solutions for electronic ordering, user activity, inventory management, and pharmacy software integration. Your data is securely stored without the stress of backup failure or loss, allowing you to review user history and run audits retrospectively.
They feature remote monitoring functions, so offsite pharmacy or facility management can track medication authorization, dosing, and timestamps without being directly in front of the device. Both models are also ISO 27001:2013 certified for cyber security.
NexsysADC uses guided access to dispense medications. High-value and controlled medications are held in Controlled Access Modules (CAMs) and are only accessible with prior authorization.
Capsa Healthcare has three sizes of CAMs to efficiently manage any size unit dose, stock bottle, IV bag, etc. Cabinets can include any combination of:
- 3” CAMs (hold up to 25 individual doses)
- New 6” CAM Drawer (up to 12 individual cells for larger items)
- New 10” CAM Drawer (up to 12 individual cells for larger items)
For instance, veterinary clinics have a secure method to store large stock bottles of tramadol and Euthasol solution. Surgery centers have a secure method to store pre-filled syringes and propofol vials, no matter how large the dose or container is.
Once the nurse or clinician processes the order, only the specific CAM location illuminates, and the medication cell lid unlocks to allow the clinician access to that particular dosage. The device uses on-screen and light prompts to ensure the staff knows where to find the requested medication.
Long-term care/senior care homes have unique medication needs in the form of first doses/Stat doses, and medications are traditionally held in emergency kits (e-kits). NexsysADC includes specialized workflows for these resident populations’ medication needs. Additionally, NexsysADC eliminates the need for 24-hour pharmacies or courier runs, saving an average of $108 per run.
A complete track and trace system like NexsysADC gives care facilities and clinics in-depth documentation and valuable data organized by user, billing, patient, inventory, and activity. Clinic directors and pharmacies can easily access reports, monitor activity, and quickly run audits for comprehensive supervision of medication activity. With cloud continuity, NexsysADC helps you manage information and stay ahead of DEA or internal audits.
Medication Safety with Capsa Healthcare’s NexsysADC
Medication security and safety are essential in any care facility that stores controlled substances or high-value doses onsite. However, many healthcare facilities and clinics still use outdated manual storage processes or lack technological safeguards.
These systems put clinics and professionals at high risk for diversion, but it’s feasible and economical to transform your operations. Modern technology is now more accessible and affordable than ever. With solutions like Capsa Healthcare’s NexysADC, you can securely store sensitive medication doses, control access, and monitor inventory from anywhere. Contact us to learn more.