As any experienced manager knows, there is no end to the volume and scope of practice challenges and process breakdowns that can derail initiatives designed to optimize workflow and ensure quality operations. In the hospital pharmacy setting, this is particularly true given the number of concurrent functions and activities that must be performed to enable safe medication management.
Often, changes in the pharmaceutical procurement market can lead to a juggling act of shifting priorities, which makes it difficult to maintain not only a safe environment, but also conscientious practices. These shifting concerns often require prioritization of pharmacy activities, with precedence obviously given to those considered necessary for patient safety and operational efficiency, while others deemed optional may only receive focus in times of financial and market stability. Among the operations often seen as less pressing are activities tied to environmental protection and waste reduction.
This has been an interesting year from this standpoint, as the issues surrounding outsourced medication compounding have forced many hospitals to alter—in some cases drastically—the manner in which they procure and prepare compounded sterile preparations. As these developments influenced many facilities to ramp up in-house compounding and purchase new hardware and software to deal with uncertain access to outsourced products, efforts to curb waste and ensure environmentally sound disposal methods may have taken a backseat. Having to choose or create a distinction between activities that benefit the department or the facility, and activities that are meant to make a long-term impact on the environment is an unenviable task. It is our hope at PP&P that both viewpoints can be taken into account when facing expanded workloads. While patient safety always should be the number one priority, maintaining an environmentally friendly workflow also must be given its just consideration. As managers, you will continue to face challenges that will seek to erode the principles of common good. At PP&P, we hope to face those challenges with you.
All the best,
R. Mitchell Halvorsen
P.S. PP&P would like to make a correction to the author list for last month’s article, Making the Switch to Robotic IV Preparation. Three authors should have been listed: Steven J. Ciullo, BPharm, MS, MPS; James Zahra, BPharm; and Irina Pustovalova, PharmD, BCPS. In addition, Healther Aldrich, CPhT, and Samuel Kumar Velpula, CPhT, should have been acknowledged. PP&P regrets the error.
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