VA Facilities: A Plan to Evaluate Medication Management Solutions
April 24, 2018 | by Brian Shoenfeld
In February 2017, the Department of Veterans Affairs issued a directive with specific instructions and procedures for medication management in VA facilities.
The purpose of the directive was to provide direction for the “appropriate storage, handling, and dispensing of all medications and medication related supplies to inpatients.”
Included were specific directions for how the Pharmacy Service department and clinical pharmacists should coordinate medication-related activity to best serve VA patients. Additionally, the directive was approved as the national VHA policy through February 2022.
The directive presented unique challenges to VA facilities, especially facilities that were already struggling to remain compliant with the Department of Veterans Affairs. If your facility is working to meet this challenge and achieve compliance, consider this plan to identify the best medication management solutions for your facility.
Step 1: Involve the Right Departments Early in the Process
Before you can implement the best medication management solution for your facility, you need to start at the beginning of the process involving key stakeholders in the decision-making process.
Involved departments should include, but are not limited to pharmacy, nursing, procurement, finance, biomed, and even IT. Gathering input from each of these departments will help you identify issues that each team member is currently facing and any foreseeable issues if you were to implement a new solution to safely manage medication.
The goal of your discussions relates to one of the primary reasons why the Department of Veterans Affairs issued their directive: to address safety issues related to medication management.
“The use of automated pharmacy systems requires written policy and procedures to be in place prior to their installation to ensure safety, accuracy, security, and patient confidentiality. This policy must define access limits to the equipment and medications.”
Or, there may be other important issues besides medication management safety that your facility is facing. By involving the appropriate departments early in the process, you can identify critical issues that you need to address before choosing and implementing a solution.
Step 2: Discuss Medication Management Solutions with Vendors
After holding internal discussions with key stakeholders, look externally to identify current or potential vendors who could help with a medication management solution.
- Research the capabilities of each vendor.
- Talk to colleagues about vendors they have had success with.
- Attend conferences to identify vendors that match your needs.
Throughout the process of vetting vendors, continue to report progress to your internal stakeholders. They should also continue to do their own research about finding the right solution for your VA facility.
Step 3: Identify KPIs that Tie to a Successful Plan
After identifying the primary issues facing your facility and researching potential vendors, you need to put numbers to your plan of finding the best medication management solution.
Identifying the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that point to success will help you identify which solution can help you drive toward your goals.
- What measure of security improvement do you need to achieve?
- Do you need to reduce the cost of managing your medication?
- Do you need to reduce the number of medication incidents?
- Do you need to improve efficiencies by a certain percentage in your workflow?
- Is the timeline important of ensuring long-term compliance through February 2022?
Depending on the issues you need to address, there could be many other questions that drive toward identifying your KPIs. Then, you can match that information to the vendors that best support your plan.
How Can Talon Support VA Facilities?
Talon takes pride in our “Made in America” products that support VA facilities and, ultimately, support the veterans who deserve the highest-quality care.
Because we work directly with VA facilities to integrate our solutions in workflows, we can help identify areas of need related to your medication management.
We would appreciate the opportunity to discuss your specific challenges and whether one of our products can help address a need in your facility. For a consultation about a custom medication management solution, contact one of our Client Solutions Representatives today!
About the Author
Brian joined Talon in 2014 and brought with him a proven track record for project managing, product development, and increasing operational efficiency. Using his knowledge of STEM, business prowess, and healthcare experience, Brian leads Talon’s operational improvements to create better products and improved customer service. When he’s not in the office, Brian spends time with his wife and two sons and cheers on Syracuse.