Is Diversion Prevention as Important as Falls Prevention?

I have written before about how it is nearly impossible to prevent all diversion. We do the best we can to tighten the chain of custody and develop solid policies and procedures, and yet we still need to monitor for those who find their way around the system. That is how many of us approach it.

However, there are many facilities that don’t have an effective diversion “prevention” program because they don’t think it necessary or don’t think the costs outweigh the risks.  While at ASHP recently I heard a speaker say that drug diversion prevention should be handled like other patient safety initiatives. She is right, and I really liked the way she compared it to falls and central line-associated bloodstream infections.

Never Events

Facilities do all kinds of work to prevent falls with injury and the entire list of Never Events. Shouldn’t diversion be considered a never event? Is there a way to only target the diversion likely to result in patient harm? Or do we need to work toward preventing diversion period, which will naturally reduce the risk of patient harm? What about the harm to the healthcare worker, which, if the diversion is for personal use, could be considered harm every time they successfully access the medication for themselves?

I understand there is a fight within the healthcare system for resources. However, drug diversion mitigation should not be an optional initiative. Find a way to make it work from within, or hire an outside company to assist. Email or call Rxpert Solutions today to see how we can partner with you to protect our patients, staff, and institution.

Terri Vidals
Terri Vidals

Terri has been a pharmacist for over 30 years and is a drug diversion mitigation and monitoring subject matter expert. Her years of experience in various roles within hospital pharmacy have given her real-world insight into risk, compliance, and regulatory requirements, as well as best practices for medication and patient safety.

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