March 11, 2014

New regulations seek to keep drugs out of water supply

This week, staff from Vanderbilt hospital units and clinics are learning about new federal environmental regulations aimed at keeping specific drugs out of the water supply.

The regulations pertain to disposal of certain partially used oral medications, ointments and crèmes, as well as used vials and intravenous therapy bags and tubing.

Drugs dispensed by the Clinical Pharmacy for individual patients will carry codes, where applicable, identifying the appropriate container for disposal, and electronic medicine cabinets will flash reminders as drugs are dispensed. (A list of the drugs for regulated disposal is available on edocs.)

• Representative “super users” from each unit and clinic are receiving 30-minute training.

• Vendor representatives are circulating to clinical areas to provide a brief overview of the regulations for staff.

• A short Learning Exchange module (back-up instruction, not mandatory) captures key points.

• Fliers will also cover key points of the disposal program.

• Vendor representatives will be on hand to answer questions at the upcoming Hands On Clinical Safety training event, March 13 and 14 in the Medical Center North Learning Center Ballroom.

Disposal containers will be distributed March 18-21. For additional information visit the Vanderbilt Environmental Health and Safety website.