NIH Research Improves Detection of Drug Diversion and Opioid Theft within U.S. Hospitals

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NIH and Invistics use machine learning and advanced analytics to identify threat of diversion more effectively and efficiently than traditional hospital standards

“What was most impressive is the solution not only detected known diversion cases faster than current methods, it also highlighted recent cases under investigation." - diversion investigator for the Phase I pilot hospital, participant of the blind study.

Invistics, the leading provider of advanced healthcare inventory visibility and analytics software, today announced successful results from Phase I of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grant focused on improved methods for U.S. hospitals to detect drug diversion.

Invistics and the pilot hospital used machine learning and advanced analytics to detect opioid and drug theft across the entire hospital. As a result, 100 percent of drug diversion within the project parameters were identified quickly and accurately, enabling improved patient safety, reduced financial risk and better protection for healthcare workers.

“NIH and Invistics share the same goal for this research grant: To prove new best practices for quickly detecting and ultimately preventing the diversion of narcotics and other medication,” said Tom Knight, founder and CEO of Invistics. “Patients and employees deserve to feel safe when they are within the walls of a hospital, and we’re thrilled with Phase I results and eager to commence Phase II with additional hospitals across the nation.”

In a 2017 study by Porter Research, 96 percent of healthcare professionals acknowledge that drug diversion – the illegal use or theft of prescription medication – occurs frequently in healthcare. Additionally, 65 percent asserted that most diversion goes undetected. Hospitals traditionally have relied on reactive strategies for diversion prevention, including recognizable behavior changes and time-consuming manual investigations – often with a low success rate.

Given these startling statistics and the urgency of the nation’s opioid epidemic, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), an entity of NIH, awarded Invistics the research grant in 2017. Invistics is a unique cloud-based solution that enables tracking of opioids and other drugs through the complex pharmaceutical supply chain and offers near real-time intelligence.

“What was most impressive is the solution not only detected known diversion cases faster than current methods, it also highlighted recent cases under investigation,” said the diversion investigator for the Phase I pilot hospital, participant of the blind study. “The solution also provided a historical baseline view that has allowed us to clean up practice by partnering with all departments involved."

For Phase I of the research program, Invistics aggregated data from across the partnering hospital’s systems including its medical records, employee time clocks, wholesale purchasing, inventory and dispensing cabinets. With this level of interdepartmental transparency, the technology was able to detect drug diversion that would not have been detected with traditional methods focused only on dispensing cabinets.

Knight adds, “Drug diversion puts patients and healthcare providers at severe risk, and the success of these first hospital trials underlines the impact that advanced analytics can have on national priorities such as the opioid crisis.”

Since completing Phase I, Invistics has implemented its solution at additional hospitals as part of Phase II of the NIH research program – all with successful drug diversion detection. As a result, Invistics has officially launched its drug detection software and the solution is now generally available to all hospitals and health systems across the U.S.

To learn more about the NIH research results and Invistics, visit

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number 1R44DA044083-01. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

About Invistics
Invistics is a leading provider of cloud-based software solutions for healthcare inventory visibility, providing advanced analytics and actionable insights for hospitals and health systems who want to detect and prevent drug diversion. Invistics’ solution, called Flowlytics®, tracks the movement of drugs across the complex supply chain – from the time they are shipped from the wholesaler to a healthcare facility, then each time drugs are moved throughout the hospital and administered to patients.

Atlanta-based Invistics Corporation also provides inventory visibility for manufacturers, distributers, repackagers and controlled substance registrants, helping to reduce inventory costs and compliance risks within a single facility or across the extended enterprise. To learn more, visit

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Leslie Kirk
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