Keeping a Watchful Eye: 5 Ways to Reduce Medication Theft

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Medication theft is a serious problem in the medical industry in locations such as clinics or hospitals. Even small amounts of missing medications cost the facility money and are a security risk. Taking effective steps to stop medication theft is important in controlled medication areas. One4 way to stop theft is to store the controlled medications in locked cabinets with tamper-proof technology. When a locked cabinet won’t open without proper identification and specific identification of the patient or procedure, theft is more difficult.

Are Secure dispensing Cabinets the Answer?

Medical facilities are turning to locked, automated medication and dispensing cabinets to avoid dispensing mistakes and theft for controlled medications. An Automated Dispensing Cabinet can serve several important purposes. This type of cabinet can secure storage of controlled medications, tighten inventory management, help with billing control, cut long-term costs, and automate medication dispensing of STAT doses, 1st doses, and electronic emergency kits, and more.

The cloud-based control keeps a record of who is accessing the medications, who is getting them, and what medications is being dispensed or pulled. These cabinets come with different function choices and in different sizes to make it possible to get the perfect size and functions for each facility.

5 Ways to Reduce Medication Theft

There are at least 5 different strategies to reduce Medication theft in pharmacies in hospitals and other facilities.

  1. Use the above mentioned automated secure medication dispensing cabinets.
  2. Give all new employees pre-employment drug screening and education about the dangers of drug addiction and misuse. Then, have zero-tolerance drug use or theft policy that includes failure to report fellow employees who steel medications or are using those drugs illegally.
  3. Work with law enforcement agencies to catch medication thieves with search warrants for cars and houses. Report employees stealing drugs to other facilities. Report to the police when an employee is caught attempting to steal or divert drugs. Make a list of all the locations that drugs can be diverted including the bedside, loading dock, incinerator, and storage cabinets. Secure these areas.
  4. Employ a 24-hour diversion hotline and practice a diversion strategy with a dedicated team to handle education, intervention, and investigation into incidents. This team can also help the guilty party get help after they are fired with addiction treatment. Have cameras recording all sensitive drug storage and use areas.
  5. Don’t forget the drugs taken out of the secure area that are not fully used. Any unused drugs should be returned to a class 2 controlled substances vault with camera oversite. These substances should be reconciled with the anesthesia and Pryxis records.

Improved Security and Record-Keeping

The theft or diversion of controlled drugs affects patient welfare, healthcare workers, hospitals, and the public. The patient may receive substandard care and reduced medications and hospitals lose money and may suffer large fines and loss of reputation. Theft and diversion of controlled medications happen because of organizations with poor drug- handling practices and poor reviews of those practices. Falsification of clinical or inventory records is made easier by slow or insufficient hospital reporting systems.

Accurate and timely record-keeping on things like patient discharges or transfers and inventory management are very important and can help avoid medication theft. Facilities must maintain the physical security of controlled drugs and improved hospital security measures that meet current security standards. The hospital must introduce record-keeping programs that help them compare drug orders with drug dispensing, discrepancies, and financial records. Heightened security measures and better record-keeping can reduce the drug diversion problem in many facilities.