Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, central pharmacies have encountered several stressful issues in terms of operations, staffing, revenue and supply chain. 70% of pharmacists at hospitals have extended their list of responsibilities during the pandemic as compounding pharmacies were called on to help hospitals obtain more medications and disinfectants. Due to about 86% of hospitals altering their guidelines for medication-use, 15% more Americans were getting prescriptions in 2020.
2020 also saw 75% of pharmacists getting burnt out which the pandemic only intensified even more. Unfortunately, the rate of healthcare workers retiring is higher than the number of new employees being trained, which has led to at least 80% of pharmacies having difficulties with filling open positions. Reduced revenue but increasing costs make it harder for pharmacies to execute solid solutions to fix the staffing shortage. Hospital pharmacists are also experiencing drug shortages, which has increased significantly due to the pandemic. The shortages include medications such as neuromuscular blockers, sedatives, and anesthetics.
Although there are many issues to address, pharmacy automation technologies can help fill many of the gaps. Automation can help with various kinds of operations: drug interaction and allergy checks, barcode medicine identification, and narcotic and controlled substance monitoring. Medication errors during discharge, administration, prescribing, and IV infusion are common while one in 100 medical errors results in a preventable adverse drug event. However, technology can reduce opportunities for errors and instead provide better care for the patient.
64% of hospital pharmacists value full supply chain visibility, and medication management software is able to provide this ability. Technology is also able to provide inventory tracking, which can help distribute medication appropriately, supply drugs to locations that need them the most before they expire, and locate recalled drugs efficiently so they can be easily thrown out.
With the help of automation technologies, central pharmacies can help hospital systems keep in time with the pandemic.