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How Many Transactions Are Enough?

Controlled Substances, Medication Safety

When it comes to detecting patterns of drug diversion in a patient care setting, timing is everything. A crucial component of this task is determining the right time duration to include when sifting through medication transactions. Should we only focus on recent activities, or should we look over a longer period?

The answer, as with many things in healthcare, is that it depends on the situation. In some cases, diversion may be apparent from a single incident, such as a new employee who immediately starts diverting medications.

However, in most cases, it takes longer to recognize patterns of diversion. Through personal experience and collaboration with fellow experts in the field, we’ve discovered that a longer time range is typically more efficient in identifying true cases of drug diversion versus misread data.

If you’re only looking at a small window of time, say a week or two, it’s easy to come across false positives. For example, a nurse may be assigned to a high-needs patient and have to administer pain medications multiple times in a row over the course of a few shifts. Read more >

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