Noting that about 10% of U.S. healthcare workers abuse drugs, The Joint Commission (TJC) has issued Quick Safety, Issue 48: “Drug diversion and impaired health care workers.”
The advisory encourages hospitals and health systems to establish controlled substance diversion prevention programs. “Availability and access to medications in healthcare organizations can make it difficult to detect and prevent drug diversion — a serious potential threat to patient safety,” TJC said in an announcement of the advisory.
“Patient risk from drug diversion includes inadequate pain relief and exposure to infectious diseases from contaminated needles and drugs, as well as potentially unsafe care due to a healthcare worker’s impaired performance.”
The advisory says the three essential components for addressing drug diversion are prevention, detection, and response. It cites these action items:
• “Prevention: Healthcare facilities are required to have systems to guard against theft and diversion of controlled substances.”
• “Detection: Healthcare facilities must initiate systems to facilitate early detection such as video monitoring of high-risk areas, active monitoring of pharmacy and dispensing record data, as well as staff who are aware of and alert to common behaviors and other signs of potential diversion activity.”
• “Response: Appropriate response for staff should be ‘see something, say something.’ At the institutional level, appropriate responses include establishing a just culture in which reporting drug diversion is encouraged.”
The full advisory is available online at: https://bit.ly/2LbfGRM.