University of Maryland Medical Center Pharmacy Tackles Incorrect Medication Package Sales

University of Maryland Medical Center needed help to reduce the chances of busy pharmacy staff giving incorrect medication to patients. In this case study, ambulatory pharmacy manager Maria Hondroulis explains the challenges staff faced and reflects on the tremendous difference scripClip has made at the hospital system’s five outpatient pharmacies.


Recognizing the Opportunity

University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) started exploring will-call automation solutions at its outpatient pharmacies, prior to the COVID pandemic. “Even having one incorrect package being sold is too many,” said Maria Hondroulis, PharmD, Ambulatory Pharmacy Manager.

“The big thing is names,” she explained. “A lot of people have the similar names, and if somebody’s trying to move quickly – which happens often in a fast-paced, outpatient setting where we’re doing traditional pharmacy in addition to servicing clinics and bedside delivery – they may not take the time to [doublecheck the first and last name and birthdate]. It’s tough to keep up with the workflow.”

Any error is reported internally and accompanied by a staff member re-education, but our patient safety and privacy is too important to risk. Hondroulis has seen the challenges first-hand, as she manages four of UMMC’s six outpatient pharmacies: Midtown, Redwood, Capital Region and Baltimore Washington. She started as a supervisor in 2019 and took on a manager position in 2020.

The 24-hour Weinberg pharmacy is inside the University of Maryland Medical Center. It is a 789-bed hospital and the outpatient pharmacy services discharge patients, the general public and employees. Finding a reliable way to cut back on patient-name mix-up errors at the point of sale and to increase efficiency in finding prescriptions in the health system’s four other existing and new pharmacies was important to maintaining excellent patient care. This led the team to find scripClip.

Seeing the Impact

scripClip was first rolled out at the UMMC Weinberg Pharmacy in August 2020.

“It really cut down on the issues and made a huge difference in workflow,” Hondroulis said. “After we had it there a few months, we decided to put [scripClip] in at Redwood and Midtown… and then the new locations as they opened up.”

Before scripClip, the UMMC pharmacy teams used alphabetical drawers and rods in the will call area to organize packages.

“There were times people were spending 10 minutes just digging through bags,” Hondroulis recalled.

“It’s definitely decreased the retrieval time and helped prevent frustrations by patients and the staff. Instead of digging through the Ts, for example, they’re looking for the flashing light and listening for the sound,” she continued. “They’re moving the patient line a lot faster; you can see it.

“The automated system just makes it super easy, where you can’t really make a mistake unless you don’t [scrip]Clip the prescription.”

Staff is much happier since implementation and there is no need to do the constant re-education and staff reminders.

Maximizing the Value

“scripClip has been great. It really prevents incorrect prescription sales,” Hondroulis recapped.

UMMC manages an agile team by sharing staff and scripClip hanging bags among their several pharmacy locations. Hondroulis and her colleagues also count on their scripClip and RX30 pharmacy management system (PMS) to provide insight into pharmacy operations and opportunities for improvement in staff workflow and inventory management.

Whenever she is training new supervisors, she is sure to show them scripClip’s “Clip Details” feature, which provides a prescription’s full chain of custody and shows whether the medication was picked up by the patient, was returned to stock, etc.

“I’m very grateful for it at our pharmacies,” Hondroulis said.