Background: In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, St. Luke Hospital was built to help manage the mass casualties and subsequent cholera epidemic. A major problem faced by the hospital system was the lack of an available and sustainable supply of medications. Long-term viability of the hospital system depended largely on developing an uninterrupted medication supply chain.
Objective: We hypothesized that the implementation of a new Pharmacy Computerized Inventory Program (PCIP) would optimize medication availability and decrease medication shortages.
Design: We conducted the research by examining how medications were being utilized and distributed before and after the implementation of PCIP. We measured the number of documented medication transactions in both Phase 1 and Phase 2 as well as user logins to determine if a computerized inventory system would be beneficial in providing a sustainable, long-term solution to their medication management needs.
Results: The PCIP incorporated drug ordering, filling the drug requests, distribution, and dispensing of the medications in multiple settings; inventory of currently shelved medications; and graphic reporting of 'real-time' medication usage. During the PCIP initiation and establishment periods, the number of medication transactions increased from 219.6 to 359.5 (p=0.055), respectively, and the mean logins per day increased from 24.3 to 31.5, p<0.0001, respectively. The PCIP allows the hospital staff to identify and order medications with a critically low supply as well as track usage for future medication needs. The pharmacy and nursing staff found the PCIP to be efficient and a significant improvement in their medication utilization.
Conclusions: An efficient, customizable, and cost-sensitive PCIP can improve drug inventory management in a simplified and sustainable manner within a resource-constrained hospital.
Keywords: computer program; global health inventory system solution; inventory; medication management system; pharmacy.