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Gary Starr

Health Care

Vireo Health Uses Trackwise Software to Track Product Quality, Process Performance

How the nation’s leading multistate cannabis company ensures quality and safety standards

Published: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 - 12:00

(Vireo Health: Minneapolis) -- As America’s leading physician-led cannabis company, Vireo Health has long been dedicated to providing high-quality cannabis products and unrivaled patient care. Kyle Kingsley,a board-certified emergency medicine physician, founded Vireo Health after serving on the front lines of the nation’s opioid epidemic. His viewpoint of cannabis as medicine quickly evolved after seeing, first-hand, the positive impact of medical cannabis on patients with chronic pain conditions.

Today, Vireo Health has grown from its modest beginnings in Minnesota to one of only a handful of multistate medical cannabis companies that are licensed in more than 10 states, for both the state-legalized medical and adult-use cannabis markets.

Vireo’s team of more than 400 employees consists of physicians, scientists, and other healthcare professionals who are guided by research and dedicated to their patients’ success. Vireo’s extensive experience in cannabis research and innovation is reflected in a skilled team of chemists and pharmacists that hold its products to the highest standard. Vireo exercises robust internal product quality checks and process monitoring. All products undergo stringent third-party testing in each state. These product quality checks are based on standard practices found in other regulated industries such as pharmaceutical, food product, and nutraceutical manufacturing, and are guided by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards for the industry (Committee D37—Cannabis).

To support its patients’ understanding of how medical cannabis works for their medical conditions, Vireo requires that all new patients sit down with one of its licensed pharmacists to discuss their individual medical history and which Vireo products will best suit their needs. Furthermore, in the interest of patients who are trying a new cannabis product for the first time, Vireo promotes the “start low, go slow” philosophy, encouraging patients to begin at a low dose and wait to feel any effect before titrating the medication dosage.

Vireo has taken care to learn lessons from previous successful pharmaceutical industry strategies in tracking product quality. This has allowed it to create its own system of checks and balances to catch potential quality or production errors, and maintain the high quality of its cannabis products.

As with any manufacturing process, sometimes the company uncovers potential process problems that require remediation. All corrective and preventive actions require hard data. In order to gather and manage this data, Vireo Health utilizes Sparta Systems’ TrackWise Digital quality management platform. The software allows Vireo’s employees to track product quality, process performance, and all quality events investigations. TrackWise Digital also assists the Vireo team in maintaining records, by documenting corrective action processes and inquiry management systems through the integrated electronic document management and quality management systems. If a product does not meet Vireo’s high standard, then the team can take the necessary action to remedy the product or the process that created it. This ensures that all patients receive safe, effective medication to treat their medical condition and that Vireo continues to raise the quality bar even higher every day.

This level of conscious quality improvement is especially important for Vireo, a company with operations in multiple states, treating thousands of patients. Each state has different regulations related to products and allows for different product types, quality parameters, and manufacturing processes. While Vireo sets its quality standard higher than the minimum bar required in the states in which it operates, the customization of quality assurance software allows Vireo’s teams in each state to track quality effectively and efficiently. Without a system like this in place, the company would be left to build its own tracking system, which would undoubtedly be cumbersome and difficult to manage. An integrated quality management system frees Vireo to do what it does best: treat its patients with best-in-class medical cannabis products and service.

Vireo’s dedication to patient success centers around regular face-to-face interactions with every patient. Dedicating the time to speak with each patient individually and document any complaints and successes ensures complete and systemic feedback between the experienced quality of their medicines and the manufacturing process. It is only by doing this that the Vireo team can guarantee positive outcomes for its patients and ensure that it continues to provide the high-quality products its patients rely on.

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About The Author

Gary Starr’s picture

Gary Starr

Gary Starr, M.D., is the senior vice president of Global Affairs and chief quality officer for Vireo Health. In his role at Vireo Health’s international office in Montreal, Canada, Starr brings a wealth of knowledge as a result of his many years of experience at the intersection of medicine, business, manufacturing quality, and politics. Starr currently serves in leadership roles in the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), the Society of Cannabis Clinicians (SCC), and the Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards (FOCUS). He has consulted for multiple U.S. and Canadian companies engaged in cannabis-related bio-pharmaceutical and consumer product development.