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Reducing risk in the pharmacy: A key step to improving patient safety

Although healthcare has always been fast-paced and complex, the pandemic has amplified these challenges and introduced dynamics that can put patient safety and quality care at risk. Mounting staff shortages due to unprecedented levels of burnout are forcing hospitals and health systems to care for high-acuity patients with fewer staff. And, while the massive spikes in seriously ill COVID-19 patients appear to be waning, patient acuity may increase in the future. Some experts hypothesize that the disruption of routine screenings and preventive care due to the ongoing public health emergency will increase the severity of cancers and other life-threatening illnesses. Providers have been detecting these diseases later than usual, which can lead to more aggressive and invasive therapies that require a hospital stay. A larger patient volume, coupled with staffing shortages, could bring on a crisis in advanced disease care across the board. Add to this persistent supply chain issues, manufacturing labor shortages, and shipping disruptions, and you have a perfect storm that could mean greater risks to patient care.

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