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December 19, 2022

Leveraging Sterile Compounding Technology and Removing Barriers to Improve Safety

Bethany Donato
Director, Product Marketing

Achieving the five rights of medication administration is often a destination without a map, failing to acknowledge human factors and system weaknesses that contribute to errors. And one of the highest areas of opportunity for human error is in the sterile compounding process. 

According to ISMP, the five rights are not a behavioral model for achieving medication safety, but goals for which organizations must accept responsibility and design failsafe ways that they can be achieved. ISMP’s 2022 “Guidelines for Sterile Compounding and the Safe Use of Sterile Compounding Technology” were developed to help healthcare facilities identify best practices to support safe use of technology and automation in sterile compounding and to recommend best practices when technology cannot be used.  The guidelines recognize IV workflow management systems as the minimum safety standard for preparing compounded preparations and IV robotics are recommended for high volume, large batch preparations. 

For hospitals using manual sterile compounding processes, technology implementation can seem a daunting task, but it can be achieved through a progressive approach. 

During an ISMP-led symposium at the recent ASHP Midyear Meeting, Kevin Hansen, PharmD, Director of Pharmacy, Compounding Services at Cone Health in Greensboro, North Carolina shared how Cone Health implemented robotic IV compounding technology through a series of graduated steps, leading to enhanced safety and improved efficiency.

Dr. Hansen was joined by Laura Mark, PharmD, VP of Pharmacy at Allegheny Health Network, who shared her experience with building a successful sterile compounding strategy with IV automation.

Creating clear and concise goals for your compounding operations helps you plan for long-term success, drives progress forward, and gets everyone working toward achieving it. 

Key considerations include: 

  • Partner with a vendor that can support your technology roadmap
  • Communicate across all levels of staff so that everyone understands the vision
  • Educate staff and advocates about the value of iv workflow and robotics
  • Gain advocates outside of the department to champion your goals
  • Clarify that automation does not replace staff, rather, it requires dedicated staff to optimize. 

Since the implementation of compounding technology at Cone Health, Dr. Hansen reports increased confidence in dispensed compounded sterile products, increased engagement by compounding staff, enhanced insights from robust data leading to continuous improvement, a focus on preventing errors that haven’t occurred yet, and a desire to expand use of technology to more compounds and more areas of pharmacy. 

In Dr. Mark’s experience, she encountered many misperceptions about IV automation and shared how AHN had to offset those concerns. She also noted that considering a vendor that offers a comprehensive service approach worked well for their pharmacy. Since implementing a technology-driven sterile compounding operation, AHN has realized $1.5M savings per year.

Omnicell’s portfolio of sterile IV compounding technology, including IVX Workflow, IVX Station, and IV Compounding Service, are designed to enhance patient safety, improve dose accuracy, reduce medication expense, and improve supply chain control to help create a safer, more accurate, and more cost-effective supply of compounded sterile productions in your pharmacy. Explore how you can transform your sterile compounding operations.

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company. Assumptions made in the analysis do not reflect 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.