There are many ways to reduce pharmaceutical waste, and working directly with your clinical staff to identify these simple but powerful opportunities is a critically important aspect of any waste-reduction program. Many hospitals develop committees or task forces that look specifically at these types of opportunities.
4. Manage drug shortages. Drug shortages directly affect drug costs, and when critical drugs are not available, patient care can also be affected. In some circumstances, shortages can even affect hospital labor costs, as staff expends significant time and effort addressing the shortage.
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Actively managing inventory and staying attuned to market dynamics are key to effectively avoiding temporary shortages. It’s important that hospitals have the proper protocols defined to effectively deal with drug shortages. This includes the approval of alternative therapies and, when practical, the identification of approved substitutions in advance of the actual shortage.
Jeff Crudele serves as chief financial officer of Allegheny Health Network, part of the Highmark Health family of companies. His career spans over 30 years, and he has served as a chief financial officer, chief executive officer, and operations executive at some of the nation’s largest and most successful healthcare companies.