As a result of new state and federal safety regulations focused on sterile and hazardous drug compounding, the Lawrence General Pharmacy will be moving to a new and improved space in March 2019. Construction of the new location, across from the current Pharmacy in the Hamblet sub-basement, is expected to begin this June.
When completed, the new and expanded Pharmacy will feature 500-square-feet of additional space, state-of-the-art safety technology, and expanded workspace for staff. Other features include a new barcoding inventory system; electronic tracking boards for STAT medication orders; a chemotherapy/hazardous drug storage room; a centralized workstation for pharmacists; and automated Omnicell cabinets for controlled substances.
Approximately half of the current Pharmacy space will be remodeled for administrative, educational, and bulk storage needs.
“Due to these new government safety regulations, many hospitals in Massachusetts are in the process of undergoing some form of expansion or renovation,” says Tim Keaney, director of Pharmacy. The new regulations, he explains, were implemented in the wake of the fungal meningitis outbreak at the New England Compounding Center in 2012 that led to 750 infections and 64 deaths across the country.
“The Lawrence General Pharmacy underwent a minor remodeling back in 2006, but historically it hasn’t changed much over the years and has been in the same location for as long as anyone can remember,” says Tim. “This project is a big deal because we are moving the entire operation into a new space.”
The good news for Lawrence General is that the space directly across the hall from the current Pharmacy location was vacated last year when the Central Sterile Processing Department moved to the Santagati Center. The vacant area was then fully cleared out and prepared over the winter and is now ready for construction to begin.
“This project is a big win for the entire hospital,” says Tim. “We have always met or exceeded all sterile preparation regulations and requirements, but the new Pharmacy will take us to an even higher level of safety, while also improving overall efficiency and workflow.”