Kipwell also realizes that with the increasing use of technology to flag potential drug diversion, the possibility of false positives increases. A false positive that seems to be drug diversion could easily, for instance, be a miscalculation within an automatic dispensing cabinet. Though not indicative of diversion, Hipwell says instances like these are either due to a practice mishap or some other workflow issue that needs to be improved. Either way, the technology should benefit the eventual outcomes.
Healthcare thought leaders participated in a presurvey study and highlighted a few potential causes of drug diversion within healthcare settings. The most prominent cause is the demanding nature of the work itself, and the accompanying stress that healthcare providers experience. In combination, this presents a risky environment for providers, especially those with regular, immediate access to narcotics (ie, nurses, anesthesiologists, and pharmacists). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 300,000 practicing nurses and 30,000 practicing anesthesiologists in the United States, indicating a staggering potential for abuse.
Though reports of drug diversion in healthcare settings remains low, thought leaders point to a combination of factors that may actually be inhibiting workers from coming forward. A recognized gap in training and communication, the social stigma attached to drug diversion and reporting the questionable behaviors of coworkers, and lagging technologies all contribute to a culture of potential suppression.
During the presurvey segment of the study, thought leaders seemed to agree that diversion within healthcare settings is taboo among coworkers; however, 67% of executive respondents said that they believe their employees are comfortable talking about drug diversion at work, and 89% of participating providers said that they are at least somewhat or very comfortable discussing diversion with colleagues.
Among the respondents who said that they would be uncomfortable discussing drug diversion at work, 67% believe that doing so sounds accusatory, 51% fear that it raises suspicions, and 40% believe that bringing up the topic engenders mistrust within their peers.
Access the full report here.