IV Compounding and the Five Rights: A Nursing Perspective

Post Date: Mar 9th 2016

Author: PJ Manni

It’s time for nurses to ask the question: How safe are the IVs I’m administering to my patients?

Pharmacists and nurses share common patient safety goals—summarized nicely within the Five Rights of Medication Administration. In a nutshell, the expectation is that clinical processes will work together to reduce medication errors by ensuring administration of:

  • The right drug
  • At the right dose
  • To the right patient
  • By the right route
  • At the right time

Nurses often trust that this oversight of medication administration on the patient floor will deliver complete medication safety. Yet the reality remains that each year roughly 7,000 deaths are directly attributed to medication-related errors. Unfortunately, manual processes during the high-risk process of sterile compounding  can result in medication errors, even when verification methods are used during the medication administration process.

That’s why we are advancing technology to ensure that the same principles of the Five Rights are achieved with regard to compounded sterile preparations—the most dangerous and complex medication management process within the pharmacy.

More than four times as many IV dispensing errors have been detected through the use of automated IV compounding workflows as opposed to relying on the pharmacist alone.

Yet error-prone, manual compounding processes are still employed by many hospital pharmacies today. At least one in 100 IVs is mislabeled, and inaccuracies related to overfill in IV bags, syringe accuracy and medication reconstitution range between five and 15 percent in commonly-used manual compounding procedures. It has also been well-documented and publicized that these manual processes have contributed to contamination issues.

Nurses aren’t the only hospital professionals unaware of these issues. Hospital and health system stakeholders at all levels often make presumptions about the safety of patient IVs – resulting in sterile compounding mishaps that occur all too regularly.

It’s time to start the conversation. High-risk IV compounding remains one of the last areas of the pharmacy to be considered for electronic safeguards and technology-enabled workflows.

Our partners are advancing accuracy, sterility and safety for their patients through IV compounding infrastructures that provide:

  • a completely isolated ISO class 5 environment that eliminates human error and contamination;
  • bar code verification to confirm ingredients and final product verification;
  • digital imagery to offer visual confirmation of steps taken during preparations;
  • gravimetrics, the industry gold standard for ensuring dose accuracy.

For more information about our full suite of medication management solutions to support sterile compounding, visit www.aesynt.com/iv-solutions.

Have a question or comment regarding sterile IV compounding strategies to enhance patient safety? We’d love to hear from you: You can leave us a comment here, or chat with us on Facebook, Twitter (@aesynt) or LinkedIn.

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