Prevent Common Issues With Med Delivery

Delivering meds to patient care units is a critical function you can think of as "crossing the finish line."

It's because the pharmacy prep work has been done...and med delivery is your last step. Use strategies to get it done right.

Handle meds properly on your way to patient care units. For example, secure controlled substances to prevent theft...and keep patient labels out of sight to stay in compliance with HIPAA.

Don't carry injectables in your pockets...due to contamination risk, temperature changes, and other potential problems.

Take precautions to reduce exposure to hazardous meds...such as by transporting them in a special bag or case.

Continue to deliver meds to the right place...automated dispensing cabinet, fridge, patient-specific bin, etc. A nurse may think a med is missing if it isn't where they expect.

Be aware of special situations. For instance, you may need to hand an investigational drug to a nurse...if it's not replaceable.

Or you may need to take a med to a different unit than what's on the patient label...such as an antibiotic dose that's due while a patient is in the dialysis unit.

Double-check labels when placing meds in patient-specific bins or drawers...to prevent wrong-patient mix-ups.

Try not to deliver meds to automated dispensing cabinets during common med administration times (9 AM, noon, etc)...tying them up could lead to interruptions, late or missed doses, etc.

Follow pharmacy policies for tubing meds...such as first or STAT doses. But usually avoid tubing controlled substances, certain hazardous meds, heavy items, and meds damaged by shaking.

Also consider a med's container when deciding whether or not to tube. For example, tubing may depress syringe plungers.

Call the nurse or patient care unit if needed to alert them that a med is being tubed, a STAT dose has been delivered, etc.

Use our new resource, Tech Talk: Troubleshooting Med Delivery, to brainstorm solutions to issues that come up in your pharmacy.

Key References

  • www.ashp.org/-/media/assets/policy-guidelines/docs/draft-guidelines/draft--guidelines-on-safe-use-of-ADCs (1-31-20)
  • www.ismp.org/guidelines/timely-administration-scheduled-medications-acute (1-31-20)
  • www.apic.org/Resource_/TinyMceFileManager/Position_Statements/2016
    APICSIPPositionPaper.pdf (1-31-20)
  • www.ashp.org/-/media/assets/policy-guidelines/docs/technical-assistance-bulletins/technical-assistance-bulletins-hospital-drug-distribution-control.ashx (1-31-20)
  • https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/tjc-and-carrying-syringes.1089307/ (1-31-20)
Hospital Pharmacy Technician's Letter. February 2020, No. 360224



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