What are the risks of outdated pharmacy software? Inefficient or outdated software in outpatient, retail, and hospital pharmacies can — in extreme cases — result in inventory shortages and even unnecessary deaths. “My beautiful Emily’s death was senseless and preventable,” one father, Chris Jerry, writes about his daughter. Emily was just two years old when she died from a series of pharmacy errors.
What Happened to Emily?
Emily Jerry was diagnosed with cancer at one and a half years old. “The tumor was the size of a grapefruit inside her tiny little abdomen,” her father explains on The Emily Jerry Foundation website. Against all odds, Emily beat her cancer after several rounds of chemotherapy. The doctors called for one last round — just to ensure that all of the cancerous material was out of Emily’s system. That final round of chemotherapy killed Emily.
What exactly happened? Although the finer details are unclear, the hospital attributes Emily’s death to two causes. First, the hospital’s electronic system failed the night prior to Emily’s treatment. Second, a pharmacy technician prepared a bag of chemotherapy medications — including 23.4% sodium chloride solution — by hand. A standard bag would have contained less than 1% sodium chloride. Although the details are murky, many suggest that the pharmacy technician prepared a bag to compensate for inventory shortages — a problem that was most likely caused by the failing electronic system.
What Can Pharmacies Do To Prevent It From Happening Again?
There are several ways pharmacies can prevent unnecessary deaths — like Emily Jerry’s — from happening ever again. Using the latest pharmacy point of sale systems — or pharmacy POS systems — significantly reduces the likelihood of inaccurate inventory counts and other critical errors. Chris Jerry also campaigns and travels the U.S., advising pharmacies to install software that “provides real-time visibility into pharmacy inventory, so essential drugs and solutions can be monitored continuously,” according to Healthcare IT News.
Emily Jerry’s death was — as her father said — decidedly preventable. Pharmacies can avoid tragedies by carefully monitoring counts and software — and using the most up-to-date pharmacy POS systems.