Anesthesiologists and Pharmacists Should Team Up

19 Oct

In an effort to improve patient safety, anesthesiologists should partner up with pharmacists to better the outcomes in operating rooms and improve the hospital’s bottom line. At least that was the conclusion of some attendees at last summer’s meeting of the American Society for Health-System Pharmacists.

Michael Chappell, RPh, operations supervisor at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, said he was having a difficult time reconciling what anesthesiologists say they were using and what they were actually using. So, he and his colleagues got proactive with the anesthesiology and surgery departments at his medical center, creating a universal anesthesia kit that would cover 95 percent of their surgery patients. It included various dosages of fentanyl, hydromorphone, midazolam and morphine.

“We put everything in one place,” said Mr. Chappell, lead researcher (poster 3-M), noting that anesthesia providers, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians each had clear responsibilities. “The kits would come back to us from the provider along with the anesthesia record,” he added, “so pharmacists could look at them and see what they used, what they put on the record and then reconcile any waste.” Technicians would then validate and refill the kits’ contents.

After implementation, they found that tracking medications became much more accurate. In fact, the discrepancy rate dropped from 6.8 percent to 2.7 percent. The team linked most of the discrepancies to drug waste due to mislabeling of waste syringes or lack of documentation.