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New Pharmacy Opens with High Marks

After some two years of planning and construction, our state-of-the-art Pharmacy opened on a snowy December 3. The pharmacy is not only one of the first in the state to meet new state and federal regulations focused on hazardous drug compounding, it’s a major example of how Lawrence General is investing in improved patient care. The Joint Commission surveyors mentioned it several times during their four days at Lawrence General this fall.

“The Pharmacy team is high performing, and the new pharmacy is a best practice design that we can use as a benchmark for other hospitals,” commented Dr. Craig Slater, surveyor with The Joint Commission.

New pharmacy features include:

  • 500 square-feet of additional space
  • State-of-the art safety technology
  • Expanded space for workplace staff
  • Standardized drug storage
  • Electronic tracking boards for STAT medication
  • Centralized workstations for pharmacists

Lawrence General Trustees and administration approved the pharmacy’s new location and redesign in 2017 after a successful bond initiative. The previous pharmacy had been dispensing since 1964 and posed a unique set of logistical, HVAC, and regulatory challenges. Following the New England Compounding Center (NECC) disaster in 2012–2013, the FDA enacted new drug quality and security regulations. Additionally, Massachusetts enacted new sterile compounding regulations including facility requirements which were more stringent than federal regulations. Thankfully, the open sterile processing space located across the hall from the previous pharmacy proved to be the right space needed to meet the requirements for a new and improved pharmacy.

Soon after the project was approved in 2017, multidisciplinary building and planning began. Earlier this year, an interdisciplinary group was established and met in the weeks leading up to the move to ensure that the physical move was done quickly and safely while ensuring that there was no break in service.

“It was a team effort for sure,” says Tim Keaney, Pharmacy director at Lawrence General. “When moving day finally arrived on December 3, we had several departments helping us with the move including dedicated resources from IS, Facilities, and Security.”

While the distance from the previous pharmacy to the new pharmacy was only across the hall, moving medication and equipment required limited access to the Hamblet sub-basement on moving day to ensure equipment and drugs remained secure throughout the move. Despite snow, ice, and a power outage on moving day, the team was able to complete most of the move in a matter of hours.

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