Product Spotlight: CriticalPoint, LLC’s Sterile Compounding Curriculum

July 2008 - Vol.5 No. 7

By Bill Turner, RPh

Operated by the Palomar Pomerado Health, the largest public health system in California, Pomerado Hospital is located in Poway, California, and is licensed for 107 beds. The hospital offers a 24-hour emergency department, a birth center, a level two neonatal intensive care unit, cardio-pulmonary services, a behavioral medicine center, a wound management program, and general medical/surgical services. Our pharmacy compounds 100 to 150 compounded sterile preparations (CSPs) per day, including total parenteral nutrition, large volume parenterals, chemotherapy, antibiotics, and insulin and erythropoetin syringes.

The Challenge
Staff training and education is a key requirement of the updated USP <797> guidelines, and we knew we had to move forward with more training in order to remain in compliance with the chapter. Because we are a fairly small hospital with limited staff, we needed to identify a compounding education program that would offer our staff ease of use and flexibility. Furthermore, in just a few months’ time, we will have completed the construction of a fully remodeled, USP <797>-compliant IV room; with this in mind, we deemed it necessary to upgrade our compounding personnel’s skill level.

The Solution
After viewing an online demonstration of CriticalPoint’s sterile compounding curriculum, we determined it to be a viable option for training our compounding personnel. It meant a lot to us that CriticalPoint’s authors are international experts in sterile compounding who have put the principles set forth in the modules into use in actual cleanroom environments. The online modules would allow our staff to complete training at their convenience – either at home or work. Since our staff usually completes the modules while at work, where they are frequently interrupted, we found CriticalPoint’s ability to remember where students leave off a very useful tool. The program’s pictures, incorporated into slide-show style lessons, made the modules easy to view and understand. In particular, I found the “Cleaning and Disinfection of Pharmacy Controlled Environments” module to be most useful module so far. Its contents have been shared with our hospital’s environmental services department, so we can partner with them in making sure our IV room stays clean. The fact that CriticalPoint offers ACPE pharmacy continuing education credits has also been an added bonus for staff. 

Our license allows us to add as many users as we need to, which is particularly important as we add to our staff. The system set-up was very easy; all I needed to do was fill out a simple employee template, which CriticalPoint used to establish user profiles for our staff.

We have found CriticalPoint’s curriculum to be useful in augmenting our daily practices to meet USP <797> requirements. For instance, using information gleaned from the modules, we will be making changes to our garbing procedures upon moving into our newly remodeled IV room. Our staff now better understands the reasons for needing to wear masks, hair and shoe covers, and gowns and gloves, as well as the correct order for garbing.

As a director of pharmacy, I appreciate the fact that I am able to easily assign multiple staff members the modules I want them to study. Then, I can track my staff’s progress towards completion of the assigned training activities in CriticalPoint’s Learning Management System. I can also remind them through the system’s “Blast E-mail” function when assigned modules are coming due. Lastly, the program prints out certificates of completion, which we place in the employees’ personnel files.   

Since beginning the CriticalPoint program, our employees are more cognizant of the strict guidelines for the preparation of CSPs and of the reasons for our new processes surrounding compounding. We certainly believe that, given these improved processes, our patients will be safer in the long run.


Bill Turner, RPh, is the director of pharmacy for Pomerado Hospital. He has served as a pharmacist for 28 years, 14 of which have been spent in both clinical and operational management. Turner obtained a BS in pharmacy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.



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