Stock control systems

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Chapter: Hospital pharmacy : Community health services

Perhaps the earliest IT to be introduced into pharmacy practice, stock control systems allowed the production of a clear printed label, often with information support about interaction checking and materials management for medicine procurement.


Stock control systems

 

Perhaps the earliest IT to be introduced into pharmacy practice, stock control systems allowed the production of a clear printed label, often with information support about interaction checking and materials management for medicine procurement. Many systems produced limited management information allowing pharmacists to review the use of medicines – by specialty, for ex-ample. This drug use review was particularly helpful to the financial side of medicines management and it has been extensively used in the USA. There the use of systems for billing purposes has ensured good-quality data capture and reporting.

 

In the UK the provision of drug expenditure information showing month-on-month comparisons and top 50 expenditure items on a trust or specialty level is common practice. We underestimate the ease with which such infor-mation becomes available due to its routine collection during the supply and dispensing process. The advent of payment by results and exclusions, as well as service line reporting to support foundation trust status and hospital at-home services, has forced the development of more detailed reporting. This has created a number of challenges as the information may be required at patient level, necessitating the development of often manual data collection/reporting, as stock control and other IT systems are not always sufficiently developed.

 

The use of patient medication records, common in community pharma-cies, has had relatively limited application in hospital practice but has poten-tial advantages in operational terms which are beginning to be realised.

 

Information is being used to reduce unnecessary redispensing, facilitate one-stop dispensing and also to track individual patient costs to support, for example, payment by results.

 

Sadly, systems are still not as developed or utilised as they might be. This has been particularly challenging as the national programme for IT did not include pharmacy stock control systems for hospitals. Thus there has been no national standard defined for system functionality or development; drug files largely continue to be maintained at each site, interfaces with third-party databases are in their relative infancy and there is no requirement for an up-to-date system to be in place.

 

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