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Medication Inventory Management 2019
Medication Inventory Management 2018
Inventory Management in Pharmacy Automation

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Medication Inventory Management 2022
Insights from Advanced Users Reveal What Is Possible Today

author - Jackson Tate
Jackson Tate
author - Paul Warburton
Paul Warburton
author - Doug VanWagenen
Doug VanWagenen
February 24, 2022 | Read Time: 6  minutes

Medication inventory represents tremendous hospital spend. Managing it well is crucial for patient safety and cost management, yet many healthcare organizations report they struggle to get the right tools and workflows in place, leading to high-touch, manual processes. To understand what is possible with medication inventory management today, KLAS spoke to organizations that have broadly adopted capabilities from BD, Epic, Omnicell, and Swisslog Healthcare. Based on the feedback from these advanced users, this report examines the breadth of capabilities in use today, how well the solutions integrate with various hardware components, and how well the vendors support their customers to drive key outcomes. Performance data from vendors’ general customer bases is also included for additional context.

Note: The insights from advanced users are designed to help readers understand what is possible at the cutting edge of a given technology. This data comes from a small sample of vendors’ most advanced users and should therefore not be interpreted as a comprehensive view of customer satisfaction or adoption.

Epic Advanced Users Validate More Out-of-the-Box Functionality Than Customers of Pharmacy-Focused Vendors

As healthcare organizations work to deploy a full suite of capabilities, some areas have seen less development and adoption than others. Though Epic is not a specialized pharmacy vendor, their interviewed advanced users report the widest variety of out-of-the-box functionality, including clean-room inventory management and point-of-care drug recommendations. Respondents feel the drug recommendations are a natural extension of the Epic clinical workflow that their end users are already familiar with. Importantly, customers often have in-house teams of Epic analysts who can configure functionality that is not offered out of the box. BD also offers a wide variety of out-of-the-box capabilities. Additionally, a few advanced users have gone through the extra work to manually build or customize clean-room inventory management functionality and point-of-care drug recommendations. Workflow challenges and a lack of guidance have slowed adoption of some Omnicell modules. While a few customers use the vendor’s IV workflow solution, which plays a significant role in managing inventory in the clean room, none of the four advanced users interviewed for this report have deployed it. Swisslog Healthcare customers appreciate the functionality their platform offers but feel it lacks some of the capabilities of a core inventory management solution, including automated dispensing cabinets and an IV workflow solution.

adoption of medication inventory management capabilities chart

Integration Progress Has Been Made; No One Is Yet at Ideal End State

The integration advanced users have achieved between their medication inventory management systems and various pharmacy and medication hardware reveals the progress that has been made toward the possibility of a complete inventory platform. Advanced BD users validate integration with the vendor’s Alaris pumps as well as with third-party robotics solutions (both IV and dispensing). Customers would like the CIISafe narcotics vault to be integrated into the Pyxis database. Epic advanced users report third-party integration across all types of hardware measured. Customers see the need for further integration with IV compounding compliance software and DSCSA capabilities. Omnicell’s advanced users validate integration between the vendor’s XR2 hardware and Omnicell’s go-forward medication inventory management platform. IV and clean-room data still resides in a separate database. Customers want more EMR integration with the anesthesia cabinets and controlled substance manager. Swisslog Healthcare advanced users have achieved integration with their third-party automated dispensing cabinets. None validate integration with the vendor’s AutoPharm carousels or with third-party IV/clean-room robotics. Customers cite the latter as well as DSCSA capabilities as top needs going forward.

integration between hardware & core inventory management solution chart

Swisslog Customers Struggle to Achieve Desired Outcomes

Due to the aforementioned technology struggles, Swisslog Healthcare’s advanced users are the least likely to have achieved their desired outcomes. Some still believe success is possible if Swisslog addresses their technology gaps, and one respondent noted that they have achieved improved safety through more accurate drug tracking. Advanced users of Epic, BD, and Omnicell are more likely to have achieved desired outcomes. Epic customers specifically highlight outcomes such as enterprise visibility, ordering assistance and automation, and shortage management. BD customers commonly report benefits from analytics capabilities that assist with inventory reporting, waste/shortage management, and ordering assistance and automation. Omnicell customers note improvements to shortage/ waste management and ordering assistance and automation.

outcomes achieved with medication inventory management solution chart

Epic Provides Upfront Partnering as Well as Ongoing Alignment

Epic’s general customer base describes a collaborative vendor relationship that includes proactive support and updates. Omnicell customers say the vendor partners well during the sales and planning phases but sometimes struggles to adequately support customers during the implementation and beyond. In contrast, BD excels during the implementation phase; customers would like more help with ongoing optimization and guidance. Swisslog Healthcare customers are the least satisfied with their vendor’s partnership. They note that the product difficulties noted above are exacerbated by poor communication and low executive involvement from Swisslog. Customers aren’t sure who to contact when they have questions and find it difficult to get ahold of personnel that are knowledgeable enough to help them.

partnership vs alignment chart

About This Report

The data in this report comes from two sources: (1) interviews with vendor’s advanced users, and (2) interviews with vendors’ general customer bases.

Advanced User Interviews

To understand what is possible with medication inventory management today, KLAS spoke to organizations that have broadly adopted capabilities from their inventory management vendor. These advanced users provided feedback regarding which capabilities they have adopted from their vendor, the level of integration they have achieved with their medication and pharmacy hardware, and what outcomes they have achieved by using their vendor’s technology. The insights from advanced users are designed to help readers understand what is possible at the cutting edge of their chosen technology. This data comes from a small sample of vendors’ most advanced users and should therefore not be interpreted as a comprehensive view of customer satisfaction or adoption.

Interviews with General Customer Bases

To add additional context to the insights from advanced users, this report also includes customer experience data collected from organizations within each vendor’s broader base of users (including advanced users). These interviews were conducted over the last 12 months using KLAS’ standard quantitative evaluation for healthcare software, which is composed of 16 numeric ratings questions and 4 yes/no questions, all weighted equally. Combined, the ratings for these questions make up the overall performance score, which is measured on a 100-point scale. The questions are organized into six customer experience pillars—culture, loyalty, operations, product, relationship, and value.

customer experience pillars

Sample Sizes

Unless otherwise noted, sample sizes displayed throughout this report (e.g., n=16) represent the total number of unique customer organizations interviewed for a given vendor or solution. However, it should be noted that to allow for the representation of differing perspectives within any one customer organization, samples may include surveys from different individuals at the same organization. The table below shows the total number of unique organizations interviewed for each vendor or solution as well as the total number of individual respondents. Some respondents choose not to answer particular questions, meaning the sample size for any given vendor or solution can change from question to question. When the number of unique organization responses for a particular ratings question is less than 15, the score for that question is marked with an asterisk (*) or otherwise designated as “limited data.” If the sample size is less than 6, no score is shown. Note that when a vendor has a low number of reporting sites, the possibility exists for KLAS scores to change significantly as new surveys are collected.

about this report-advanced user interviews chart
about this report-broader customer base interviews and estimated customer base for measured solutions chart
author - Elizabeth Pew
Elizabeth Pew
author - Jessica Bonnett
Jessica Bonnett
author - Robert Ellis
Project Manager
Robert Ellis
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This material is copyrighted. Any organization gaining unauthorized access to this report will be liable to compensate KLAS for the full retail price. Please see the KLAS DATA USE POLICY for information regarding use of this report. © 2024 KLAS Research, LLC. All Rights Reserved. NOTE: Performance scores may change significantly when including newly interviewed provider organizations, especially when added to a smaller sample size like in emerging markets with a small number of live clients. The findings presented are not meant to be conclusive data for an entire client base.