Tech Talk: Troubleshooting Med Delivery
Delivering medications to patient care
units is a critical function for pharmacy technicians. You can think of it as “crossing the pharmacy
finish line,” since all the prep work has been done (e.g., procurement,
compounding, dispensing, labeling) and delivery is the final step. Med delivery can be nuanced at times due to
varying med storage requirements and delivery locations on the units (e.g.,
automated dispensing cabinets, refrigerator, patient-specific bins, etc) or due
to urgent need for med (STAT dose).
Plus, hospitals can vary in terms of how and where meds are delivered to
patient care units. For example, some
pharmacies may send all first doses by pneumatic tube, where others will only
use the tube system for STAT doses.
Use this tool to talk with your pharmacy
colleagues about issues that come up with regard to med delivery. These discussions can help bring out any
problems as well as potential solutions.
Share the information with your medication safety officer, or manager or
your practice setting?
Primary work area(s):
In what situations do you deliver medications to patient care units? To which patient care units do you routinely deliver medications?
For example: You may make hourly deliveries to patient
care units such as to a medicine floor, oncology floor, or intensive care
unit. Or, you may restock medications
for operating rooms during your shift.
policies or procedures impact med delivery?
For example: You may deliver meds hourly to patient care
units, with exceptions for meds that are needed more urgently; certain meds
may need to be placed in the refrigerator on patient care units; or meds may
need to be delivered to a different unit than the one the patient is usually
on, such as to dialysis or to a procedure area.
What other steps do you take to
prevent snags when delivering?
example: If you send a med by
pneumatic tube, you call the patient care unit to tell them it’s on the
way. Or, if you deliver a dose reordered
in your computer system, you send the nurse a message to let them know when
to expect it.
you recently seen any issues with med delivery?
For example: You may get reorders for a med, such as flu
vaccine, and find it was on the patient care unit, but in a location other
than what nurses expect, such as a patient bin rather than the refrigerator. Or, meds may not be ready at the time you’re
supposed to leave the pharmacy for your delivery.
you had an issue with med delivery, how did you address it? Were policies and procedures being followed
For example: If flu vaccine was placed in patient bins
rather than in the fridge, were “refrigerate” labels used as a reminder of the
correct place to put it? Or if a
controlled med came up short for restocking automated dispensing cabinets,
was it secure during your delivery?
How could potential issues with delivery have been avoided in your examples, or in other scenarios where similar issues have occurred?
What additional comments, feedback, or thoughts do you have on this important topic?
[February 2020; 360224]