Pharmacists Key to Health System Savings – Part 3

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Reducing costs in a health system is critical. I’ve often blogged about the need for hospitals to streamline their costs across all their departments. The central pharmacy is in a unique position to do this.

In a recent article in Pharmacy Practice News (PPN), “More Smart Savings From ASHP Meeting,” several pharmacists discussed their methods to reduce costs. I have previously blogged about the out-patient pharmacy and reducing medication cost and waste. This post will focus on inventory management.

Implementing an inventory management system can help hospitals reduce their overall medication costs. With detailed tracking of a medication inventory, hospitals are able to increase their turns and have real-time inventory management at all times.

The Yale-New Haven Hospital implemented an automated anesthesia dispensing system to improve inventory management, medication charge capture and patient safety in surgical suites.

Before employing the automated system, a manual billing process was used. An evaluation of manual charge capture for 324 surgical cases (inpatient and outpatient) over five days revealed a charge loss of $6,570 ($1,314 per day). Extrapolation to a full year equated to a loss of more than $427,000—nearly 40% of the pharmacy’s annual anesthesia medication purchases and about 8% of the total pharmacy budget.

Thirty-seven automated anesthesia-dispensing carts were installed, covering all operating rooms (ORs) and procedural areas. About 80 surgical procedures are performed daily in the main OR alone. During a four-month period after implementation, the new protocol led to an average daily increase in outpatient gross revenue of $8,700—the annual equivalent of about $696,000. There was also a one-time inventory savings of $11,500 from the reduction of duplicate anesthesia trays.

Automation allowed Yale-New Haven to track their anesthesia closely and ensure there were not duplicate anesthesia trays. With financial pressures mounting on health systems, hospitals need to find ways to cut cost throughout their organization. This is just one example of how a central pharmacy found ways to reduce costs and contribute to overall cost savings for their health system.

Is your pharmacy playing a key role in reducing your hospital’s costs? Do you deploy pharmacy automation to reduce cost and improve your inventory management? How are you deciding which cost saving method works best for your hospital?

Further Reading:
Pharmacists Key to Health System Savings – Part 1
Pharmacists Key to Health System Savings – Part 2

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