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April 28, 2021

Despite Safety and Supply Challenges, Outsourcing IV Compounding Remains High

Stephanie Gallagher, PharmD, MBA
Senior Clinical Product Marketing Manager, Omnicell

The sterile compounding industry has been under great scrutiny due to alarming frequency and severity of adverse events from IV compounding, such as the New England Compounding Center catastrophe in 2012. The patient care concerns related to outsourced compounding go well beyond contamination. With continuing closures of major outsourced suppliers, those safety concerns are compounded by shortages in the supply chain.

Yet, the recent State of Pharmacy Compounding survey found that outsourcing for compounded sterile preparations (CSPs) continues to remain high, especially in hospitals with over 100 patient beds.

With disruption and uncertainty in the supply of outsourced compounded IV medications, insourcing with IV technology is a strategy that health systems need to consider. Adoption of IV workflow management system technology is showing continued growth, up 36% in this year’s survey. But there is still great opportunity for more health systems to rethink how technology can enhance their sterile compounding strategies.

Leading institutions like Allegheny Health Network and the University of Rochester Medical Center have transformed their compounding operations through the adoption of IV compounding automation, improving patient safety and reducing dependency on the outsourcing supply base.

Healthcare safety advocates like ISMP and THRIV continue to lead the call for improving sterile compounding safety through technology adoption. A recent ISMP survey on sterile compounding practices found that 74% of pharmacy practitioner respondents were aware of at least one error within the last 12 months. According to ISMP, “We hope that pharmacies will use the results of this survey to prompt internal discussions about improvements that may be needed in their sterile compounding practices to reduce the risk of errors.” 

It’s an important step as health systems drive toward the fully autonomous pharmacy, a roadmap to improve patient outcomes and operational efficiencies while helping to reduce cost through a combination of hardware, software, and technology-enabled services workflows.

Download our recent infographic detailing ISMP’s latest sterile compounding study to learn more about why sterile compounding technology is critical for ensuring patient safety.


The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author(s). These views are always subject to change, revision, and rethinking at any time and may not be held in perpetuity.

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