Using Software to Detect Diversion

I was speaking to my husband about my work in drug diversion detection, and he made the insightful observation that there aren’t many jobs where you consider it a success when you find someone who is doing something so wrong that it leads to termination. More and more hospitals are looking to find ways to get the addicted healthcare worker help without without having to terminate them, but nonetheless, “success” in my area typically means termination. Hopefully, it also means help for that person. That, and safer patient care, is my focus.

Many of you have read my blogs on the diversion software options. There are a handful out there (Protenus, BlueSight, Flowlytics, HelioMetrics, FairWarning) and many facilities have taken the steps to purchase them. I have been given the opportunity to dig in and become really familiar with one of these, as I was contacted by a facility who brought Flowlytics by Invistics on board. Because of my years in diversion detection, I was asked to work with the staff and build a more robust program. I was excited because that meant a facility is taking the steps necessary to create a safer environment, and I would get to learn first hand how Flowlytics works.

Well, it worked to say the least. During a routine training session while running a report, a nurse presented with a high number of dispenses compared to his/her peers, which prompted me to dig in and investigate further. The number of dispenses was much higher than his/her peers for more than one med, all in a related drug class. Then it happened again. Another nurse popped up with numbers that warranted a further look.  Between the number of dispenses and other charting patterns for controlled substances only, diversion looked likely. Fortunately, both nurses admitted to diversion after being interviewed. The best kind of outcome in this situation. This was a learning opportunity for the managers involved. They walked away with definitive confirmation that the software works, and with something tangible to look back on and gain a deeper understanding of what to look for with drug diversion. We all gained affirmation of the return on investment for the software. And, very importantly, two healthcare workers who have been pushed into getting the help they need to heal.

Only in the darkness can you see the stars.–Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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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