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How Video Surveillance Can Help Combat Drug Diversion


On February 22, 2017 By admin

Hospitals implement video surveillance to help reduce drug diversion problem

A hospital is an institution that is unique in it’s need to adhere to safety standards, security protocols, and hazardous waste guidelines, and as such,there are a number of mechanisms that are used to meet these requirements. The security of a hospital includes not just the sterility and safety of the building which are both paramount to keeping all patients and staff safe from disease and danger, but also the accurate and legal movement of drugs throughout the hospital.

Special precautions must be taken for controlled substances

Typically, a hospital pharmacy will take a range of precautions when it comes to protecting controlled substances from the major problem known as drug diversion. Drug diversion refers to the process that occurs when someone with a legally prescribed medication transfers that prescription to another individual, illicitly. This continues to be an issue that hospitals and pharmacies must deal with across the nation and as a result, they have been given the responsibility of abiding by and maintaining the federal and state laws and regulations that govern the transfer and processing of controlled medical substances.

Some of the standards set for hospital pharmacies regarding the handling of controlled substances include:

-Controlled substances must be kept in a separate and secured area that only a licensed pharmacist has access to.
-Physical barriers must be maintained between the controlled substances and patients and non-credentialed individuals.

-Those with authorization to the controlled substances must be clearly identified with credentials at all times.

That final standard listed above, the one that deals with having identifying credentials for all hospital staff and personnel with access to the controlled substances, is of particular importance because this is where surveillance comes into play when combatting the drug diversion problem. Video surveillance and security measures are especially valuable in this circumstance for hospital pharmacies for two primary reasons: first, a video surveillance system working with a cooperating access control unit can decrease unwarranted persons from accessing the controlled substance area, and second, video recordings can assist in cases of fraud and theft.

Video surveillance works simultaneously with other security methods for strict access control

Illegal handling and transferring of controlled substances in a hospital setting (drug diversion) is greatly reduced when there are a limited number of people who have access to the drugs, while controlling and monitoring entry points at all times. One way to accomplish this is with the strategic use of high resolution network video surveillance cameras, connected with an access control system to grant entry to privileged areas based on whether or not someone has the appropriate credentials.

If a drug diversion incident occurs, video surveillance systems can dramatically improve odds of finding the culprit

Since it’s practically impossible to eliminate all issues related to the mishandling and illicit transferring of controlled substances in a hospital setting, it’s important to have resources that will help come to a conclusion in cases of drug diversion. A video surveillance system is the ideal resource in this instance as well, because using the footage from the surveillance recordings you can see who had access to the substances, at which time, for how long, etc.

The information provided by a video surveillance camera could prove invaluable in a drug diversion investigation, which perhaps is why organizations like the International Association of Healthcare Safety and Security, and the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists publish guidelines recommending that hospitals take similar steps to protect the management of controlled substances.


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