grey arrow to go to previous Omnicell webpage or forward to next Omnicell pageBack to Blog

September 23, 2020

Why Intelligence and Analytics are Key to Curbing Diversion

Jennifer Symon, PharmD, MBA 
Director of Clinical Solutions, Kit Check

It’s no secret that drug diversion is one of the top healthcare challenges—resulting in a $72.5 billion impact every year. Studies show that 1 in 10 healthcare workers will experience substance abuse at some point during their lives. Yet despite being the hardest hit by diversion, many health systems lack the necessary tools to detect these incidences in real-time.

Historically, hospitals have relied upon cumbersome reports to stop diversion. The main problem is that using error-prone manual processes to track a dose of a medication’s complicated journey to uncover suspicious activities is near impossible—even with the most diligent teams. There are additional complications that arise from hyper-vigilante manual processes that can sometimes result in false positives and uncomfortable staff conversations due to documentation errors.

A recent report by Kit Check determined that—in addition to patient safety, drug shortages, and recalls—eliminating drug diversion was a top priority for hospitals. The survey found more than 53 percent of hospitals reported a diversion event within the last year, and 37 percent of workers knew a colleague who has diverted controlled substances.

A medication’s journey from the dock to the bedside generates millions of transaction data points that make the manual tracking of it nearly impossible. The good news is that through data analytics systems, every dose of medication now becomes a node on the network that carries valuable data about patients, inventory, and more. The application of intelligence to this data can predict risks, achieve closed-loop traceability, and superior inventory management to dramatically curb diversion. 

Health systems need to take advantage of these cloud-based intelligence solutions to gain real-time visibility across the pharmacy supply chain to identify, investigate, prevent, and support diversion activity. These sophisticated surveillance tools, built on machine learning and AI, can track user behavior and detect workflow anomalies that are red flags for diversion or common patterns that indicate a need for retraining.

Using AI, pharmacy or diversion teams can study a more complete picture of what is happening in their organizations. AI and compliance analytics develop a story and timeline from data streams across many sources, such as ADCs, time and attendance systems, electronic health records, diagnosis, clinical events, and more.

In the midst of a widespread national opioid epidemic, stewardship across the industry is needed to mitigate the crisis and protect professionals and patients. The best strategy to divert diversion is to adopt cloud-based intelligence solutions that give health system leaders holistic visibility across the entire medication supply chain.


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.

Omnicell events

Subscribe to receive updates today.

Join our blog community to receive updates when new articles are posted.