Kirby Lester Technology Prevents 2.7 Potential Pharmacy Errors Per Week

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Kirby Lester announced findings of its national study showing that community pharmacies that used scan-verification and counting technology prevented an average of 2.7 potential errors per week. Errors were incorrect medication, strength, or intended quantity for a patient’s prescription.

Kirby Lester's KL1Plus was used in a national study of the benefits of scan-verification technology

Using this technology, my techs got direct and immediate feedback that a mistake occurred before they moved on.

Kirby Lester, a leading pharmacy automation provider, announced the results of a national study showing that community pharmacies that used scan-verification and counting technology prevented an average of 2.7 potential errors per week. Errors were incorrect medication, strength, or intended quantity for a patient’s prescription.

Additionally, 3 in 4 pharmacies reported a significant rise in their staff’s awareness of the potential for dispensing errors after using technology to fill scripts, versus traditional manual methods.

Participants in the Q2, 2015 research used the Kirby Lester KL1Plus, a combination scan-verification and counting device for dispensing medications. The KL1Plus matches NDC and prescription information to force the pharmacy technician to choose and count the right drug, strength and quantity. Pharmacies used the Kirby Lester KL1Plus device for a 10-day period and recorded every instance that the KL1Plus device alerted the technician that an error was about to be committed.

Findings of the Kirby Lester research program over the 10-day study period:

  • The most common error caught by the KL1Plus was wrong drug (46%), followed by wrong quantity (29%) and wrong medication strength (25%).
  • 72% of pharmacy managers/owners reported that their technicians’ awareness of the potential for medication errors significantly increased after participating in the study.
  • Only 57% of pharmacy managers/owners were aware that dispensing technology with scan-verification was available.
  • On a 5-point scale, participating pharmacies rated the importance of scan-verification during technician filling as 4.5 after participating in the study.

About the participating pharmacies: Participants were geographically diverse community pharmacies. They averaged 1,156 prescriptions per week. 54% used counting technology such as a robot or tablet counter. 77% did not previously use any scan-verification technology during technician filling (e.g., through their pharmacy management system).

“This research confirmed that mistakes can and will happen in pharmacies nationwide, 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.”

The Druggist Pharmacy in Laguna Niguel, CA was one of the study’s participants. Owner Nihar Mandavia, Pharm.D., has since adjusted his pharmacy’s workflow and strengthened their safeguards. “Before we started the study, our staff was generally aware that errors can happen. But unless something significant happened, it didn't impact them directly. Using this technology, they got direct and immediate feedback that a mistake occurred before they moved on. I’m glad we participated in this research.”

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Mike Stotz
Kirby Lester
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