Just a few years ago, a pharmacy error ended in tragedy. An apple-sized tumor in Emily Jerry’s, 2, abdomen responded extremely well to treatment. Prior to the order for her last round of chemotherapy (more or less a precaution), Emily’s tumor all but disappeared. Doctors described her recovery as miraculous. The last round of chemotherapy — or, specifically, an incorrect amount of sodium chloride solution in her chemotherapy bag — cost Emily her life.
Emily’s father, Chris Jerry, began a foundation in her honor, The Emily Jerry Foundation. Jerry tours the country, promoting the advancement of healthcare and pharmacy technology. Here are a few things Jerry is campaigning for:
Advanced Digital Systems For Pharmacies
Improvements in computer systems, including pharmacy point of sale systems, would vastly improve patient care, experts say. Keep in mind that pharmacy POS systems are not responsible for handling cash and credit cards only. Pharmacy POS systems also help professionals carefully track inventory. Technological advancements would ensure that pharmacies are fully-stocked, preventing any substitution that may be dangerous or — in some cases, like Emily’s — even deadly. Software that enables the “real-time visibility into pharmacy inventory, so essential drugs and solutions can be monitored continuously” is also important.
Licensing and Improved Training For Pharmacy Technicians
Another common problem that needs addressing, Jerry and others say, is the lack of training required for pharmacy technicians. Some states require very little training; moreover, pharmacy technicians are not licensed in most states (licenses are not mandatory, either). Jerry released the Emily Jerry Foundation’s National Pharmacy Technician Initiative and Scorecard. “We hope to highlight the states that are doing a great job of protecting their patients through strict controls and educational requirements for pharmacy techs, as well as encourage those that are lagging behind to make improvements in their own standards in order to improve care and potentially save lives,” Jerry says on the Emily Jerry Foundation website.
Pharmacies need to be especially mindful of inventory and handling procedures. Advancements in computer systems and thorough training for pharmacy technicians can improve pharmacy operations — and save lives. Find out more about this topic here: Pharmacy point of sale systems