Diversion of Controlled Drugs in Hospitals: A Scoping Review of Contributors and Safeguards.

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Diversion of Controlled Drugs in Hospitals: A Scoping Review of Contributors and Safeguards.

J Hosp Med. 2019 Jun 19;14:E1-E10

Authors: Fan M, Tscheng D, Hamilton M, Hyland B, Reding R, Trbovich P

Drug losses and theft from the healthcare system are accelerating; hospitals are pressured to implement safeguards to prevent drug diversion. Thus far, no reviews summarize all known risks and potential safeguards for hospital diversion. Past incidents of hospital drug diversion have impacted patient and staff safety, increased hospital costs, and resulted in infectious disease outbreaks. We searched MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Scopus, and Web of Science databases and the gray literature for articles published between January 2005 and June 2018. Articles were included if they focused on hospital settings and discussed either: (1) drug security or accounting practices (any drug) or (2) medication errors, healthcare worker substance use disorder, or incident reports (only with reference to controlled drugs). We included 312 articles and extracted four categories of data: (1) article characteristics (eg, author location), (2) article focus (eg, clinical areas discussed), (3) contributors to diversion (eg, factors enabling drug theft), and (4) diversion safeguards. Literature reveals a large number of contributors to drug diversion in all stages of the medication-use process. All health professions and clinical units are at risk. This review provides insights into known methods of diversion and the safeguards hospitals must consider to prevent them. Careful configuration of healthcare technologies and processes in the hospital environment can reduce the opportunity for diversion. These system-based strategies broaden the response to diversion beyond that of individual accountability. Further evidence is urgently needed to address the vulnerabilities outlined in this review and prevent harm.

PMID: 31251158 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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