Ochsner Achieves Systemwide Drug Shortage Management Efficiency and Consistency Improvements with OrbitalRX

Ochsner Health, Louisiana’s largest nonprofit academic health system, includes the Ochsner Cancer Institute, Ochsner Multi-Organ Transplant Center and Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute. The medical center is among six global training sites for robotic surgery, and the hospital’s physicians performed the Gulf South’s first in-utero surgery in 2013. Additionally, Ochsner Health is a founding partner of the Passport Liberty Initiative which will offer two-year employment to nurses from Ukraine.

THE Challenges

Ochsner was growing and needed to integrate drug supply data from across all its sites.


To manage its drugs supply, Ochsner relied upon spreadsheets. This manually created and updated list of all medication shortages the system was tracking included details like current inventory, expected arrival times for new medications and notes from clinical team members. Considering the volume of drug shortages the organization needed to manage, staff would typically need to begin prepping for weekly meetings one or two days in advance. Manual drug shortage management was proving time-consuming and often frustrating for staff.


Recognizing its spreadsheet approach to drug shortage management would significantly prohibit improvements, Ochsner set out to automate as much of its drug supply management as possible to achieve increased efficiency. That meant reducing the amount of time spent manually pulling, entering and updating data to track their shortages.


Ochsner was expanding quickly. Like so many other health systems, they had a desire to start leveraging network effect across their different sites. One of the benefits of being a large health system is the ability to leverage and build efficiencies, economies of scale, and coordinate sharing of resources across a broader network of sites. As a health system with 39 hospitals, managing drug shortages independently, they knew there had to be a better way to share information and coordinate efforts across those different sites.


Growing health systems need technology that can grow with them.

Ochsner is a health system that’s expanding its number of sites. But with every new site came another location independently and manually managing drug shortages. With its growing number of hospitals, and data, and commitment to providing exceptional patient care, Ochsner recognized it needed a solution that would support systemwide drug shortage tracking and management so it could strengthen coordination of purchasing and distribution of drugs.

“What I appreciate most about OrbitalRX is that we now have consolidated and transparent inventory management,” said Oliver Jackson IV, pharmacy supply chain coordinator at Ochsner. “We can see the real-time, perpetual inventory amounts, alongside updates from our wholesalers, and alternatives. Rather than having to go into different systems to find that data, I can now see it all in one central location.”

When asked about OrbitalRX’s capabilities, Jackson acknowledged not only the flexibility of the platform but also the team at OrbitalRX. “What stood out about OrbitalRX was that they grew with us and our needs. Even if the capability wasn’t something they offered initially, they were willing to make adjustments to the platform to accommodate our needs. OrbitalRX helped us bridge the gap in communicating drug shortages to our team,” he said.



Users and stakeholders have real-time inventory visibility.


“Ensuring that all sites had what they needed, when they needed it, throughout the pandemic was so important to us. OrbitalRX helped me stay ahead with up-to-date wholesaler information, what our inventory levels looked like throughout the system, and where we needed to shift medication within the system so that we did not enter a critical situation,” stated Jackson.


“When it came to executing our work, we knew we needed consistency and efficiency. OrbitalRX provided us with that,” Jackson said. “We were able to see valuable data for our clinical team, pharmacy staff and even staff throughout the hospital. The system was pulling our current inventory with what was currently available from our wholesalers in real time so that data was available to us immediately, and we could make those decisions faster.”


“I would recommend doing some research on what technologies are out there to help make a positive impact on your everyday work,” Jackson advised. “For pharmacy teams, staying ahead of shortages is essential. Any technologies that can help assist with tracking drug shortages is beneficial. We are fortunate to have OrbitalRX and have definitely benefitted from our use of the system.”


Greater visibility into its data improved consistency and efficiency.

Pharmacy departments across the country are working towards improving efficiency in their inventory systems by implementing just-in-time inventory to keep costs down and reduce waste on an ongoing basis. Ochsner was no different.

By centralizing drug shortage data in the OrbitalRX platform, Ochsner has achieved the following:

  • Streamlined buying strategies
  • Proactive management of drug shortages
  • Better communication with personnel and stakeholders
  • Greater visibility into what is happening at each of their sites


In their own words…

“I’ve been working with OrbitalRX for the last four years, and they’ve been great partners. They listen to our needs and make adjustments wherever possible. My peers and I can send messages to their support team for any ideas we have about their software or any issues we may run across, and they get back to us quickly. I have nothing but positive things to say about that team. Over the years, we have seen the benefits of having this close relationship with OrbitalRX, especially when it comes to them making customizations to fit our system.”

Oliver Jackson IV

Pharmacy Supply Chain Coordinator

Ochsner Health