When the topic of consultants is raised among hospital pharmacy directors, many are commonly averse to the idea; too often, consultants visiting the pharmacy are not there at the behest of the pharmacy director, and their goals may not be aligned with those of the pharmacy department. Imagine a series of upending consultant visits, with the end result being a mandate to expand ambulatory services, only to have a new set of consultants visit nine months later, disrupt workflow again, examine the same practices, and announce that pharmacy will be focusing solely on core competencies, so ambulatory services should be discontinued.
Nevertheless, clearly there is value in engaging knowledgeable consultants for pharmacy-driven projects that deliver effective reviews of automation options, build compliant policies and procedures, and deliver improved workflows, among other benefits. The following steps will help you capitalize on the value of pharmacy-driven consultant relationships:
Be in charge of the consultant selection process (or at the very least provide oversight) and remain engaged throughout the entire project. It is tempting to assign a challenging project to a consultant and wash your hands of it until the projected completion date. However, this approach often results in disappointment, missed timelines, and expensive rework. Stay on top of the project by requesting regular (weekly) status reports that include current progress toward the agreed upon goals as well as any new obstacles.
Identify areas ripe for expansion or in need of improvement within your operation. It is okay to not be an expert on every topic, but if you decide to wait to address a new regulation until you have free time to study it, that free time might not come until after you have been dinged by your accrediting body. Therefore, use consultants to provide expertise that may be lacking in your department and ensure that a transfer of knowledge occurs during the consulting period so your staff will increase their proficiency in that area.
Establish a budget. Just as it is vital to project all costs associated with a technology implementation before choosing a vendor, be sure you have outlined an appropriate timeframe and identified all associated costs required to complete the consulting project.
Put your expectations in writing. This is not simply an exercise in organization, as the discipline required to express your vision on paper will result in clarification of your needs and enable the establishment of realistic timelines and goalposts.
To benefit from the consultant’s diverse experiences, remain open to taking new approaches and changing tactics. Although it is easy to become attached to the approach you have always taken, take advantage of the consultant’s breadth of experience and use their knowledge to flatten your learning curve.
Report on the results of your consulting agreements to administration and include key financial factors. For example, if the consultant’s efforts sped up implementation of your automated medication ordering system by six months, include an estimate of cost savings due to that expedited implementation and the resulting error prevention.
Positioning yourself as an effective manager of the consulting process will not only benefit and bring greater efficiency to your department, it also will help you get a seat at the table when organization-wide consulting programs are being discussed.
Deanne Halvorsen is the editorial director at Ridgewood Medical Media, publishers of Pharmacy Purchasing & Products magazine.
Kevin Marvin Consulting, LLC
Kevin Marvin, RPh, MS, FASHP, FHIMSS
89 Brook Dr, Burlington, VT 05408
LDT Health Solutions, Inc
Dave Thomas, RPh, MBA, Principal
38 Cedar Pl, Wayne, NJ 07470
Phone/Fax: (862) 221-9575
LDT Health Solutions, Inc is a medication safety and total quality management firm, specializing in controlled process and quality management strategies for the pharmacy community nationwide.
LDT has more than three decades of experience in extemporaneous pharmacy compounding, cGMP manufacturing, homecare product preparation, and hospital cleanroom applications. LDT is a leader in regulatory affairs and compliance, and can offer its expertise to assist your organization in bringing forth the highest quality preparations and services possible.
LDT specializes in the development of regional compounding strategies for hospital groups or health systems of all sizes under a Pharmacy Practice or FDA registered model. LDT has unique technical expertise in automated compounding devices, software, packaging, and custom compounding methodologies.
Through the use of point-of-failure and “r-ROI” (realistic-ROI) analysis, LDT can develop custom solutions for each unique practice setting and particular application, enlisting a blend of technical, automation, software, and controlled-process thinking.
LDT’s mission is to provide value through experience, expertise, and unsurpassed customer service.
Clinical IQ, LLC
Eric S. Kastango, MBA, RPh, FASHP
184 Columbia Tpk, Suite 4, Florham Park, NJ 07932
(973) 765-9393 Fax: (866) 538-4783
Eric Kastango is the principal of Clinical IQ, an international health care consulting firm that assists clients who require expertise in the areas of sterile liquid and oral solid dosage form preparation, packaging, and distribution; USP Chapter <797>; pharmacy- and pharmaceutical-based aseptic processing; medical device manufacturing; and the implementation of process control and quality management systems.
Since 1980, Eric has practiced pharmacy in a number of practice settings, including hospitals, community, and home care, and in a number of different roles, including corporate vice president of pharmacy services and managing an FDA-registered cGMP manufacturing operation. He served on the USP Sterile Compounding Committee from 2005-2010 and was re-elected to the 2010-2015 USP Council of Experts, Compounding Expert Committee.
Pharmacy Consulting Group, LLC
Ron Burnette, RPh, MBA, PMP
784 West Devonhurst Ln, Ponte Vedra, FL 32081
Pharmacy Consulting Group, LLC is a small, privately owned firm that features consultants with experience in specialty areas, including systems selection and implementation, performance improvement, and operations management. PCG’s goal is to offer highly customized consultant services designed to meet the specific needs of each facility. PCG understands the difficulty in finding pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and nurses with necessary expertise in the technology of medication-use processes. To address this, PCG has developed a network of pharmacists, technicians,and nurses to assist facilities throughout the United States and Canada.
Grifols USA, LLC
Juan M. Cana
2410 Lillyvale Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90032
(323) 227-7018 (800) 379-0957
Grifols is a multinational company specializing in the hospital pharmacy sector. The engineering team has worked with hospital pharmacies for more than 40 years, focusing on the IV room and special automated storage solutions to apply the latest technology and deliver the right storage solution for each pharmacy area, including the IV room, central pharmacy, satellite pharmacies, investigational drug services (IDS), refrigerated drugs, and special inventory management needs. The Grifols’ approach provides efficient design and installation, identifying the optimal design and solution to meet any user’s workflow requirements by performing a functional analysis of all activities, procedures, and location of resources within the pharmacy environment. Grifols’ mission is to provide customers with unparalleled value through knowledge, experience, and worldwide expertise.
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