An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Penny-wise and pound-foolish. Either of these adages apply perfectly to the topic at hand on this episode of Inventory Nation. Dr. Lauren Forsythe â€“ a controlled substances expert and Pharmacy Service Head at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital â€“ highlights for Host Nicole Clausen how risk mitigation can prevent costly regulatory compliance issues before they start. Their conversation focuses on why itâ€™s important to establish dispensary protocols as well as concrete strategies to get the job done at your particular practice. Youâ€™ll learn about common mistakes and how to get around the reflexively fearful response many of us have when it comes to taking on the management of controlled substances.
â€œI never found an area of human pharmacy that I really loved. Then halfway through my schooling my compounding professor said, â€˜Hey, have you thought about vet pharmacy?â€™ I didnâ€™t know that was a thing, but it sounded perfect!â€ (Lauren)
â€œIt doesnâ€™t matter who delegated the responsibility (for controlled substances), the responsibility still lies with them and a lot of (license-holders) fail to ask whatâ€™s going on.â€ (Lauren)
â€œWhile itâ€™s frustrating that (FDA) regulations are so grey and leave so much open for interpretation, it is also on the flip side a blessing because it gives us the flexibility to determine what is practical and appropriate in a setting.â€ (Lauren)
â€œAs veterinary professionals we want to trust our staff and I think thatâ€™s super-important, but itâ€™s also important to have systems and processes in place so if something happens we know about it.â€ (Nicole)
â€œI felt like I was looking into Pandoraâ€™s Box (of compliance issues) and never seemed to reach the bottom â€¦ I did eventually get to the bottom and start to build back up. But itâ€™s been a process.â€ (Lauren)
â€œControlled substances especially, and inventory, are not really things you can kind of set and forget. You have to continually re-evaluate to see if itâ€™s working. Are there gaps? Are we missing things? Are we being compliant?â€ (Nicole)
â€œSometimes when youâ€™re focusing day-to-day on patient care it can feel like youâ€™re just trying to make it through the day â€“ let alone keep these processes revamped.â€ (Nicole)
â€œI say if itâ€™s important enough to document and has to do with controlled substances, itâ€™s important enough to keep.â€ (Lauren)
â€œI think of controlled substance logging as like a diary. From the second it arrives in your practice to the second it leaves â€¦ your record-keeping is that diary from start to finish.â€ (Nicole)
â€œ(DEA compliance) is a lot and might require investment in technology or extra staff to manage it, but â€¦ itâ€™s worth the cost because criminal issues and fines are so expensive. Itâ€™s way less expensive to prevent them in the first place.â€ (Lauren)
â€œI learned a lot from human health care and supply chain management and it gave me a lot of inspiration for the systems Iâ€™ve created in vet med.â€ (Nicole)
â€œAs you get more (controlled substances systems) in place, it becomes less intimidating. And then you can fine tune. The blank page is the worst part, so start defining that!â€ (Lauren)
Dr. Forsythe is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Pharmacy and the Pharmacy Service Head at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital. She is also a diplomat of the International College of Veterinary Pharmacists. Dr. Forsythe graduated from the University of Findlay, College of Pharmacy in 2015 and completed her veterinary pharmacy residency at Purdueâ€™s Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Following completion of her residency, Dr. Forsythe spent three years at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital as a Clinical Pharmacist before coming to UIUC in 2019.