INDUSTRY WATCH: July/August 2015

Kirby Lester announced the results of a national study showing that community pharmacies using scan verification and counting technology prevented an average of 2.7 potential prescription-filling errors a week.

In addition, three in four pharmacies reported a significant rise in staff awareness of the potential for dispensing errors after using technology to fill prescriptions, versus manual filling.

Participants in the second-quarter 2015 research used the Kirby Lester KL1- Plus, a combination scan-verification and counting device. The KL1Plus matches NDC and prescription information to force the pharmacy technician to choose and count the right drug and quantity. Pharmacies used the KL1Plus for a 10-day period and recorded every instance where the device alerted them that an error was about to occur.

The most common error caught was wrong drug (46%), followed by wrong quantity (29%) and wrong strength (25%). On a 5-point scale, pharmacies rated the importance of scan verification during technician filling as 4.5 after participating in the study.

Pharmacies participating averaged a little more than 1,100 prescription a week, with 54% using counting technology such as a robot or tablet counter. The majority (77%) did not previously use any scan-verification technology during technician filling through their pharmacy management system.

“This research confirmed that mistakes can and will happen in pharmacies and a simple way to reduce the potential of a dispensing error is via scan verification,” says Garry Zage, R.Ph., president of Kirby Lester. “I cannot see any reason why a pharmacy would prefer to have technicians filling prescriptions without this protection.”