Research Study Finds Two in Five Hospitals Lack Formal Drug Diversion Programs

Press Release

Research Study Finds Two in Five Hospitals Lack Formal Drug Diversion Programs

A study on the state of drug diversion in America reveals healthcare professionals are losing confidence in traditional drug diversion detection methods.

March 19, 2020

Invistics, the leading provider of cloud-based software solutions that improve inventory visibility and analytics across complex healthcare systems and global supply chains, has released a new study on the state of drug diversion in America. Conducted by Porter Research, the results reveal that nearly all healthcare professionals agree that drug diversion is occurring across the country, yet almost half of the professionals who participated in the research still don’t have drug diversion detection programs.

The term drug diversion refers to crimes that involve a prescription medication – this includes drug-seeking behaviors, corrupt prescribing practices and the theft of drugs by healthcare workers. Nearly all survey respondents believe that drug diversion negatively impacts quality of care, has an adverse impact on patient safety and jeopardizes compliance, putting their organizations at risk. At the same time, almost two-thirds say they are only “somewhat confident” in the effectiveness of their organization’s drug diversion program.

“Drug diversion is a tricky issue in today’s healthcare industry. In comparing this year’s survey with the survey results from two years ago, we hoped to find that more progress was being made toward early detection and prevention. Unfortunately, that was not that case,” said Cynthia Porter, CEO of Porter Research. “Too much has stayed the same – over 40 percent of the healthcare facilities represented in this survey still do not have drug diversion programs. Of those with diversion programs, many are still not highly confident in the efficacy and efficiency of their programs.”

Key findings:

  • Nine in ten surveyed say they believe their facility’s drug diversion program is the same or even better than other organizations, and two out of three are confident or very confident that their drug diversion program successfully identifies employees that divert drugs; yet, 70 percent of participants said they believe most diversion incidents in the U.S. go undetected.
  • When asked to rate their confidence levels on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being very confident), slightly less than half (47 percent) said they are very confident that the drug diversion program at their facility meets audit requirements for DEA, Board of Pharmacy and Joint Commission.
  • A vast majority (86 percent) have met or know someone who has diverted drugs, and 43 percent feel their organization could be at risk from fines, bad press, lawsuits or overdoses due to past or potential drug diversion at their facility.
  • Survey respondents are losing confidence in traditional drug diversion detection methods. In the last two years, the percentage of respondents who said ADC reports are effective or very effective at the identification and/or prevention of drug diversion dropped from 78 percent to 52 percent.
  • The survey found that healthcare professionals recognize the value of machine learning and advanced analytics solutions. Sixty-five percent say that machine learning software is an effective tool to uncover drug diversion and 84 percent think advanced analytics solutions are effective.

“Despite the awareness of the issue, drug diversion is notoriously difficult to detect,” said Tom Knight, CEO of Invistics. “It’s exciting to see that healthcare executives who want to create stronger drug diversion programs recognize that emerging technologies like advanced analytics and machine learning can help them achieve more accurate, timely results.”

Survey Methodology
235 healthcare professionals were surveyed in October and November 2019, 138 of whom have a diversion program at their healthcare facility. Survey participants included directors of pharmacy, nursing executives, compliance executives and drug diversion specialists. Porter Research completed this study on behalf of Invistics.

About Invistics
Invistics is the leading provider of cloud-based software solutions for healthcare inventory visibility, providing advanced analytics and actionable insights for hospitals and health systems who want to detect and prevent drug diversion. Invistics’ solution, called Flowlytics®, tracks the movement of drugs across the complex supply chain – from the time they are shipped from the wholesaler to a healthcare facility, then each time drugs are moved throughout the hospital and administered to patients. Atlanta-based Invistics Corporation also provides inventory visibility for manufacturers, distributors, re-packagers and controlled substance registrants, helping to reduce inventory costs and compliance risks within a single facility or across the extended enterprise. Please note any research reported for publication was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R44DA044083. Content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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